HTC is making many of the best smartphones on the market today, covering both the Android and Windows Mobile (s msft) platforms. Today they are announcing three new handsets that push the envelope on both platforms. I had the pleasure of sitting down with HTC before the Mobile World Congress, and they were kind enough to give me the scoop on the three new phones. The Legend and Desire are new Android (s goog) phones, while the HD mini is running Windows Mobile 6.5.3.
The Legend is the successor to the popular Hero phone, and HTC borrowed a page from Apple (s aapl) for its construction. The Legend is built using aluminum unibody construction, making the phone extremely durable yet light in the hand. There is no trackball on the phone, instead there is an optical “joystick” for moving around on the screen. The Legend comes with a 3.2-inch AMOLED screen and a beefier processor (600 MHz) than the Hero. It will also ship with an updated version of the HTC Sense interface which has improvements to make working with the interface simpler. There is also a new Friend Stream app from HTC that is part of the new Sense version which integrates Facebook, Twitter and Flickr into one display.
The Desire picks up where the Nexus One leaves off. The Nexus One is made for Google by HTC, and the Desire is basically HTC’s own version of the Nexus One. Think of it as a Nexus One with the Sense interface (the new version), and you’ll have the Desire. It uses the same fast Snapdragon processor and the same screen as the Nexus One, but HTC has updated the body casing slightly. The Desire also has an optical joystick, which sits just under the 3.7-inch AMOLED screen. The Desire will ship with Flash support in the browser, which should make a lot of folks happy. The new version of the Sense interface will also ship on the Desire, and in addition to the updates already mentioned there are new HTC apps for both phones. The Mail widget now has a list view, and there is an agenda view on the Calendar widget. The home screen weather widget now displays full screen, too.
While Microsoft may be cutting the legs out from under Windows Mobile 6.5.3 by announcing Windows Phone 7, HTC is not through with the older WinMo version yet. The HD mini takes much of the function of HTC’s larger HD2, and cuts everything down to size for those who like smaller phones. This phone is about the same size as the HTC Touch, and has a 3.2-inch screen. Everything on the larger HD2 is on the HD mini, but the processor is not as snappy (600 MHz).
All three of these phones should be available in the March/ April timeframe in Europe and Asia. HTC does not have an agreement with a carrier to bring them to the U.S. yet.
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