HTC releases new Android phones, updates Sense UI

As expected, HTC took the wraps off new Android smartphones at a press event in London, giving foreign audiences a taste of smartphones that have already graced U.S. shores.

HTC launched the Desire Z, left, and the Desire HD.The Taiwanese smartphone maker announced the Desire HD, similar in many respects to the Evo, which Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) carries. The slab device has a 4.3-inch screen, 1 GHz Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) Snapdragon processor, an HSPA+ radio, WiFi and an 8-megapixel camera. The company also announced the Desire Z, which in many ways resembles the G2, which T-Mobile USA will soon launch. The Desire Z has an 800 MHz Qualcomm processor, HSPA+ radio and a full, slide-out Qwerty keyboard. The phones are headed to European and Asian shoppers in the coming months.

Both devices come with an enhanced version of HTC's Sense user interface. The company said the new UI will include lots of bells and whistles including DLNA content sharing, faster rendering of maps and a focus on letting users interact more with data on their phones. At the core of the new UI is a website HTC will launch next month called HTCSense.com. The site will allow users to backup and view text messages and call logs, remotely wipe the phone, send map coordinates and easily locate a lost phone.

In other HTC news, the site Digitimes reported that HTC is planning to release a tablet in the first quarter of next year running on Android 3.0. An HTC spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

And where would a smartphone launch be without a little friendly competition? Nokia (NYSE:NOK), which is also in London hosting its Nokia World event, sent a few gate-crashers over to HTC's event with red balloons that read, "I know where I'm going with Nokia's Ovi Maps." Nokia also handed out "HTC press conference survival kits," which included a sandwich called the HTC--ham, tomato and cheese ("not the most exciting," Nokia said), as well as "ear plugs and an eye-mask in case you feel snoozy."

For more:
- see these four separate posts from Engadget
- see this Boy Genius Report post
- see this Slashgear post

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