NOT CONTENT WITH its exclusive handset deals on the Iphone and the Palm Pre, mobile operator O2 has inked a deal with HTC to be the sole provider of the HTC Smart in the UK.
The Smart is built around HTC's updated Sense interface and, according to HTC CEO Peter Chou, is designed to be an "easier to use and more affordable smartphone for the masses."
The partnership between O2 and HTC go back around eight years when they jointly introduced the XDA, when HTC was an ODM and no-one had ever heard of the company. Since then HTC has come along in leaps and bounds, both on its own terms with the recently announced Desire and Legend and behind the scenes with Google's Nexus One. The HTC Hero also won the award for best mobile device at last night's GSMA awards ceremony.
According to Steve Alder from O2, the Smart is set to land in April, in Germany, the UK and Ireland.
It will be available in three colours - white, red and black - and O2 is aiming the Smart at 16 to 22 year old's who are currently using feature phones, probably on a pay-as-you-go deal.
Although Alder wouldn't Less than half the price of one of today's normal smartphones, which sets it somewhere around the £200 or less mark.
Qualcomm's Paul Jacobs was also on hand to give up a few details about the fact that it will run on the Brew platform and will come with several, unspecified apps pre-installed, but with a largely free app store as well.
Under the premise that the target audience isn't as interested in speeds and feeds, no further specifications were given up, but these will almost certainly come to light in the not too distant future.
During the Q&A, Alder added that O2 is set to add another 1,500 cell sites in order to cope with the growing data demands on its network, particularly with the addition of more smartphones.
The HTC Smart will also be available in Italy with Telecom Italia, Norway with Netcom and across Europe through the direct channel. µ
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