HTC reported massive profits for the first quarter and predicted more of the same for the second as the company's fortunes soar with the rise of smartphones, and Android in particular.

The Taiwan-based company reported a tripling in earnings over a year ago for the first quarter as consumers snapped up the five smartphones it launched during the period. Profit nearly doubled, to $510 million, with 9.7 million handsets sold.

The company also said it expected second quarter revenues to double on the previous year.

HTC's Android phones have been largely responsible for the growth. The Thunderbolt, the first handset to take advantage of Verizon's 4G LTE network, reportedly outsold the iPhone in many of the carrier's retail location.

The Inspire for AT&T is another brawny 4G phone with a large display that embodies the latest generation of high-end Android handset. The Evo Shift 4G also shipped in the first quarter, on Sprint.

The company's strong performance is a testament to the booming smartphone market in general and Android's meteoric growth in particular. Google's mobile platform is already the largest by market share in the U.S., with expectations that it will continue to grow.

The open source OS, running on capable hardware from companies like HTC, Samsung and Motorola, forms Google's beachhead in the battle for mobile search and advertising.

HTC's Windows Phone 7 handsets, released in the last quarter of 2010, were reportedly less eagerly greeted by the market. Early discounts suggest they may not have been a significant part of the company's bottom line.

The company has plans to expand beyond smartphones with its first tablet, the 7-inch Flyer, set to ship any day through Best Buy. HTC is reportedly so encouraged by pre-order numbers that it plans to roll out larger versions soon.

The Flyer will put the company into the ferociously competitive tablet market dominated by Apple and bursting with Android-powered aspirants, but HTC's polished phone experience may carry over into a compelling competitor.

The company also has plenty more phones in the pipeline. The dual-core 3D-capable Evo 3D is slated for Sprint. The Facebook-centric ChaCha is scheduled for T-Mobile in June, and the Facebook-button-equipped Salsa is bound for AT&T.

While some older phone makers, like Nokia, failed to recognize the importance of smartphones, HTC, which began as a laptop maker, jumped straight into the market with the world's first Microsoft-powered smartphone in 2002. The company also manufactured the first Android phone, the Dream, sold in the U.S. as the T-Mobile G1.

HTC shares spiked on Friday with the news, helping make the company's chairwoman, Cher Wang, Taiwan's richest person.