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HTC Launching New Handsets in US and UK

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UK and USA– Unfazed by Apple’s recent launch of  iPhone 3G S, HTC launched yet another Android-based smartphone in UK and another Windows Mobile 6.1-based smartphone in US.

Unveiled at the HTC’s “Come See Us” event in London, UK yesterday, the Hero is all set to be the first Android handset to feature HTC’s all-new Sense interface, a spin-off of HTC’s Touch Flo 3D which has been the forte of HTC’s Windows Mobile-based smartphones until now.

While the Hero has a candybar form factor with no physical keyboard (QWERTY and alphanumeric), the Ozone features a full QWERTY keyboard in a candybar form factor.

HTC Ozone

Leaked images of Verizon HTC Ozone (Source: Boy Genius Report)

Leaked images of the Verizon HTC Ozone (Source: Boy Genius Report)

While the HTC Hero has been in news for quiet sometime now, the Ozone hasn’t been much publicized. HTC seem to be cashing in on the sucess of Nokia’s highly successful full QWERTY-yielding candy bar phone Nokia E71, and the recently announced E72, with their very own full QWERTY candy bar model – HTC Ozone.

HTC Ozone has been released under Verizon branding, and the phone’s specifications include quadband GSM (850/900/1800/1900MHz) connectivity, dualband CDMA (800/1900MHz) support with EV-DO Rev, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and microUSB connectivity. The device also has a 2 megapixel camera with autofocus and video recording, a  2.4″ QVGA display with 64k colours, 128MB of RAM, 256 MB of ROM, and a microSD memory card slot (expandable upto 16 GB).

The Ozone will be pre-loaded with Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard, Microsoft Office Mobile, Adobe Reader LE PFT viewer, Internet Explorer Mobile, Windows Media Player Mobile, IM support for AOL, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo!; Wireless Sync(v4.5) and Windows Mobile Device Center, Mobile Broadband Connect, Verizon’s VZ Navigator, and Visual Voicemail.

At the dimensions of 4.5×2.5×0.5mm, the phone weighs 3.7 oz (~105 g) and comes with a mammoth-sized battery with a rating of 1500 mAh, which offers a talktime of 290 hours, and 324 hours of standby time.

The HTC Ozone will be available for US$49.99 (after $70 mail-in rebat ) on a 2-year Verizon contract. Value-added features such as  VZ Navigator are available for $9.99 monthly access, and Visual Voice Mail is available for $2.99 monthly access; the device will be available to customers on Verizon’s online store starting this June 29th.

HTC Hero

Live photo of HTC Hero (Source:Engadget)

Live photo of HTC Hero showing the all new customisable homescreen (Source:Engadget)

HTC’s Hero may be as close as we can get to a device that can take the coveted crown of  “iPhone-killer” today. Announced yesterday in the much hyped media event, “Come See Us”, held in London, HTC did live up to its expectation with the launch of Hero, featuring the all-new HTC Sense interface often referred to as the “Rosie” interface in our previous article.

The piece dé resistance of HTC Hero’s new interface is its customisable homescreen which has as many as seven customisable screens, offering a perfect blend of functionality and aesthetics on a smartphone device. Being the first Android device with a third-party user interface and multitouch, the Hero is well endowed even in the hardware department.

The device is powered by a Qualcomm MSM7200A 528 MHz processor with 288MB of RAM and 512MB of ROM along with microSD memory card slot for memory expansion. The Hero features a 5 megapixel camera with autofocus, and 3.2″ TFT display with a resolution of 320×480.

With the connectivity options including quadband GSM (850/900/1800/1900MHz), dualband HSDPA/WCDMA (900/2100MHz), Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, microUSB, and 3.5 mm audio jack, the Hero has all the specifications of a mid to high-end smartphone.

While the pricing has not been disclosed to the media yet, Orange is all set to be the first operator to offer HTC Hero on a 2-year contract priced at £39.15 per month, starting this July. The  subscription package  is inclusive of 1200 any-network call minutes, unlimited texts, and anytime internet browsing.

HTC Lancaster

Leaked image of HTC Lancastar under At&T branding (Source:Engadget)

Leaked image of HTC Lancaster under At&T branding (Source: Engadget)

Not much is known of this HTC Android-based device other than this leaked slide image made available by Engadget. The specifications as seen from the image name the components as a full QWERTY slider-keyboard, A-GPS, HSDPA, HSUPA, 3 megapixel camera with autofocus and digital zoom,  Multi IM client, POP3/SMTP email client, and an unique HTC Social Messaging interface. Availibility and pricing continues to elude blogosphere as of now.

The iPhone 3G S may have renewed Apple’s consumers trust in the brand, but the competition is not stepping back, by offering a plethora of handsets with competing features to drive customers away from the iPhone. Armed with a highly customizable home screen among other better features, the HTC Hero has a clear edge over iPhone in the camera and customization departments. What remains to be seen is the response of customers to HTC’s latest attempt in capturing the iPhone customerbase.

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By , Chief International Correspondent on Jun 25th, 2009 GMT +2

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