HTC unwraps new Android phones, Sense UI updates

BARCELONA, Spain--Manufacturer HTC today released a trio of Android phones the company said will help propel it toward its new goal: becoming one of the world's top three largest smartphone vendors.

HTC John Wang During a crowded press briefing here, HTC CEO Peter Chou said the company is currently one of the world's top five smartphone vendors, and said he expects the company to get into the top three by 2013. And that would make the company a powerful force indeed; Chou said that fully 50 percent of all phones sold by the year 2013 would be smartphones.

According to research firm Strategy Analytics, smartphone sales jumped 30 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2009 to 53 million units. The world's top three vendors were, in descending order, Nokia, Research In Motion and Apple.

HTC HD miniHTC's three new phones unveiled here all feature touchscreens, Google's Android operating system, slab designs and European and Asian spectrum bands. The phones are: the Legend (featuring a unibody aluminum frame); the Desire (a "superphone" featuring a 1 GHz processor and AMOLED WVGA display); and the HD mini (an HTC HD2 in a more compact design).

And in a trend that is becoming worryingly common among handset vendors, HTC executives used soaring, nonsensical and at times laughable marketing rhetoric to describe the new products:

"When you hold the phone in your hand, it's not even a phone, it's a work of art," said HTC's Chief Marketing Officer, John Wang.

The phones are "beauty with soul," said Chou.

"It's as beautiful inside as it is outside," Wang said.

In other, more down-to-earth news, HTC also released a new version of its Sense user interface. The updated software includes a "Friend Stream that seamlessly aggregates all of your social communication including Facebook, Twitter and Flickr into one organized flow of updates," as well as improvements to the navigation, email application and browser. The software will ship on the new phones, and will be made available to some existing HTC customers, including those with the company's Hero device.

For more:
- see these two releases
- see these pictures and specs

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