O2 HTC Smart hands-on [Video]

HTC's second launch event of MWC 2010 may have been a little more subdued than the Desire/Legend/HD mini announcement, but the phone it detailed may reach a whole lot more users than that trio.  Along with carrier O2, the company have announced availability of the  HTC Smart, an entry-level device running Qualcomm's Brew MP OS on a 300MHz processor.  Check out our hands-on video demo after the cut.

Other specs include a 2.8-inch QVGA touchscreen, 3-megapixel fixed-focus camera with LED flash, Bluetooth 2.0 and a microSD card slot.  There's also HTC Sense, meaning that the Smart UI looks and feels a whole lot like the company's Windows Mobile or Android devices.  Despite the relatively slow processor, the Smart is a speedy little performer and we were surprised by just how capable it feels.

Interestingly, while talking to Enrico Salvatori, VP of Qualcomm Europe, he explained that Brew MP isn't solely the entry-level, basic platform many have assumed to to be.  Actually, it supports all the features on Qualcomm's top-spec chipsets, as currently found in the Google Nexus One for instance; the company are basically offering it as an option to OEMs, rather than aggressively promoting it as their own entrant into the mobile platform segment.

The HTC Smart will be available on O2 in the UK, Germany and Ireland come April 2010, together with hitting Italy with Telecom Italia and Norway with Netcom.  There'll also be unlocked sales; no word on pricing as yet, though we'd imagine the Smart will be relatively cheap.

Press Release:


HTC Smart drives new category of broadly targeted smartphones

BARCELONA, Mobile World Congress – February 17, 2010 – HTC Corporation, a global designer of smartphones, and Telefónica are today announcing an exclusive partnership to sell the HTC Smart, an affordable and easy-to-use smartphone in Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom. The HTC Smart is a new type of smartphone that offers easy-to-use widgets, browsing and connectivity at an affordable price.

"More and more people are craving advanced mobile phone experiences with email, web browsing and social networking but the cost and complexity often represent a significant obstacle for many. The HTC Smart introduces this functionality in an intuitive phone that is affordable," said Peter Chou, chief executive officer, HTC Corporation. "With the HTC Smart, HTC and Telefónica share a similar vision for bringing easy-to-use, affordable smartphone experience to the masses."

HTC Sense

The HTC Smart embodies HTC Senseä, HTC's unique design philosophy that focuses the mobile experience on people. The HTC Smart's compact touch design integrates the pillars of HTC Sense – Make It Mine, Stay Close and Discover the Unexpected – to deliver a user-friendly user experience. People can customize their own, personal HTC Smart experience using a variety of widgets for quick access to contacts, photos, music, weather and more. People are able to follow their friend's status updates using HTC Friend Stream, an application that seamlessly aggregates all of your social communication including Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr into one organized flow of updates. This simple aggregation makes it easier than ever to focus on what friends are doing as well as the images and links that they share.

"We believe this is a key move in our ability to bring smartphones to a far wider cross section of the population," said Matthew Key, chief executive officer of Telefónica Europe. "The benefits of web browsing on the move and ability to experience applications like mobile social networking will now be brought to the mass market and reinforces O2's position as the home of the smartphone."

HTC Smart utilizes Qualcomm's Brew Mobile Platform™ (Brew MP), a powerful and popular mobile operating system that enables HTC to deliver the HTC Sense experience on more affordable smartphones. By pioneering a new era of mass-market smartphones, Brew MP also provides the HTC Smart with a mass-market opportunity for new applications and services from software developers worldwide.

"Qualcomm's collaborations with HTC have resulted in some of the most innovative smartphones the market has seen in recent years," says Paul Jacobs, chief executive officer of Qualcomm Incorporated. "The HTC Smart is a budget-friendly smartphone that delivers a really exciting user experience. We are pleased to be supporting HTC's move to bring this advanced mobile experience and HTC Sense to the widest possible audience."


In addition to being exclusively available through O2 in Germany, Ireland and the UK in April, the HTC Smart will also be available in Italy with Telecom Italia, Norway with Netcom and across Europe through the direct channel.