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A surge of interest in the so-called Google phone has prompted its manufacturer HTC to double its shipments, it has been announced.

According to the head of HTC around one million Google G1 handsets will be sent out over the first year of its availability - compared with initial estimates of between 400,000 and 600,000.

Ben Stevens, Which? researcher, said the increase is indicative that the phone could yet prove a serious challenger to the all-conquering iPhone.

He said: 'These figures indicate that Apple's iPhone is outselling HTC's Google phone despite it being almost a year older.

“The gap may begin to close, however, as the benefits of the Google phone's open-source platform are realised.”

The rise in demand reflects the increasing market presence of HTC, which had hitherto been principally know for its business-user oriented mobile phones.

This was further borne out by HTC chief executive officer Peter Chou predicting that the company will have sold three million HTC Touch Diamond phones by the end of this year.

T-Mobile is the only UK network on which the Google G1 phone is available.

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