HTC have officially announced the HTC Desire - the handset previously known as the HTC Bravo - at Mobile World Congress 2010 this week. The smartphone is, in essence, HTC's own-brand version of the Google Nexus One, tailored to a European market. As with the Nexus One there's a 3.7-inch AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 5-megapixel camera with LED flash and Android 2.1; you also get the same, 1GHz Snapgragon processor. The key differences are the inclusion of the latest version of HTC Sense, the omission of active noise cancellation, and the use of an optical joystick rather than a physical trackball.
As on the HTC Legend, the company's newest Sense build does duty with improved social network integration and the new Friend Stream unified update app. HTC have also done some work on their browser, adding the intelligent text-reflow support missing from the regular Android app, as well as Flash Lite 4, pinch-zoom and the ability to long-press and select webpage text then instantly perform a Google search, Google Translate or look it up in the dictionary.
The Desire also gets the tight corporate support partially absent on the Nexus One, with Exchange email, calendar, contacts and task functionality, and HTC have added in new Mail tabs - to show unread or flagged messages, or those with an appointment request - together with tweaking their threaded message support. Meanwhile there's also a new Calendar widget which now offers list view as well as month view.
What you don't get is voice text entry, which is currently a Google-exclusive feature, nor support for US 3G bands. The Desire has quadband GSM/EDGE and dualband (900/2100) UMTS/HSPA, along with WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS/AGPS.
HTC reckon that, because they've left out active noise cancellation, they can sell the Desire at a cheaper price than the Nexus One. Pricing is yet to be confirmed, but the Desire should arrive in European and Asian markets "on just about every carrier" starting April 2010, as well as exclusively on Telstra in Australia. No word on any version suited to North American 3G bands - HTC say they have "no plans" for a straight US version, though they're not counting out specially tailored carrier variants - but we wouldn't be surprised to see Nexus One ROMs hacked to include HTC Sense proliferate around the time of the Desire's launch.
We're headed off for hands-on with the HTC Desire now, so check back soon for live photos and video.
HTC UNVEILS ENHANCED HTC SENSE EXPERIENCE ON NEW ANDROID SMARTPHONES
HTC Legend and HTC Desire take Android 2.1 to a new level with HTC Sense
BARCELONA, Mobile World Congress – February 16, 2010 – HTC Corporation, a global designer of smartphones, today introduced an enhanced HTC Sense experience that will be available on two new smartphones that take Android to the next level, the HTC Legend and HTC Desire.
“At its essence, the mobile phone is the most personal item you have in your possession. HTC Sense was created to magnify your ability to create and define your own unique mobile experience,” said Peter Chou, chief executive officer of HTC Corporation. “HTC Legend and HTC Desire take Android to another level in both substance with HTC Sense and style with HTC Legend’s revolutionary crafted aluminum uni-body design.”
HTC Sense is a user experience focused on putting people at the centre by making phones work in a more simple and natural way. This experience revolves around three fundamental principles that were developed by observing and listening to how people live and communicate. These core tenets of Make It Mine, Stay Close and Discover the Unexpected continue to be the key to the new HTC Sense experience.
The new HTC Sense experience continues to focus on improving your interactions with your most important people. This begins with a new HTC application and widget called HTC Friend Stream that seamlessly aggregates all of your social communication including Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr into one organised flow of updates. This simple aggregation makes it easier than ever to focus on what friends are doing as well as to view the images and links that they share. In addition to Friend Stream, people can be organised into specific social circles, such as groups of friends, colleagues or any other way that makes sense.
The new HTC Sense experience also introduces broad improvements to applications including the browser, email client and others. In addition, the new version of HTC Sense includes a new newsreader application and widget, as well as a new seven-screen ‘Leap’ thumbnail view for quick and easy access to specific screens.
Built around a newly enhanced HTC Sense, the HTC Legend boasts a unique design with a smooth, continuous surface, machined from a single aluminum block into a seamless compact frame. To complement its looks, the HTC Legend includes a stunning 3.2 inch, AMOLED HVGA display. The traditional trackball has also been replaced with an optical joystick, surrounded by a narrow button to improve usability without interrupting its unique design.
HTC Desire is the richest way to visually experience news, friends, photos, favourite places and whatever else is important on a mobile phone. With one of the most advanced displays available on a phone today, HTC Desire is designed with a large 3.7 inch AMOLED WVGA display to enhance and maximise content, whether it is pictures and videos, browsing the Web or checking on friends’ status updates. HTC Desire is powered by a one gigahertz Snapdragon processor and is Adobe Flash 10.1 ready. As with the HTC Legend, the HTC Desire also includes an optical joystick.
Patrick Chomet, Group Director of Terminals for Vodafone said, “HTC is a valued partner for Vodafone and has made a strong contribution to the growth of the mass market appeal of smartphones. Vodafone endeavours to offer our customers the widest and most compelling choice of smartphones and to that end the HTC Legend, the HTC Desire and the HTC HD Mini will be ranged in selected Vodafone markets across our footprint. I’m particularly pleased that through our collaboration with HTC, Vodafone customers will experience a differentiated experience on the HTC Legend which will come customised for them with pre-loaded Vodafone 360 Internet services.”
The new HTC Legend will be available in Europe through Vodafone and in the direct channel beginning in April. It will roll out to other parts of the world including Asia in early Q2. HTC Desire will be broadly available to customers across major European and Asian markets in early Q2. The HTC Desire will be exclusively available in Australia through Telstra. The enhanced HTC Sense experience will also be offered as a free upgrade on the HTC Hero in Europe and Asia.
HTC Corporation (HTC) is one of the fastest growing companies in the mobile phone industry. By putting people at the centre of everything it does, HTC creates innovative smartphones that better serve the lives and needs of individuals. The company is listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange under ticker 2498. For more information about HTC, please visit www.htc.com.