HTC Adds Tattoo to Android Lineup

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC on Tuesday announced the Tattoo, the latest in its line of Android-based handsets unveiled this year.

HTC Tattoo

HTC Tattoo
(click image to enlarge)

The Tattoo is also the second smartphone equipped with the HTC Sense user interface.

It integrates several Google mobile services, including Google Maps and Gmail, and it gives users access to the Android Market.

Europe will get the HTC Tattoo in October, and the device will be rolled out to other markets later.

Stats on the Tat

The Tattoo measures about 4.17 by 2.17 by .55 inches and weighs just under four ounces, with a battery. The battery is removable.

The Tattoo has a 2.8-inch thin film transistor (TFT) LCD touchscreen with a display resolution of 240 by 320 pixels. Special features include a g-sensor, GPS, a digital compass and an FM radio.

The HTC Tattoo runs Android and has 256 MB of RAM and 512 MB of ROM.

The Tattoo’s camera photographs at 3.2 megapixels, and its battery boasts 342 minutes of talk time on WCDMA and 390 minutes on GSM. Claimed standby times are 520 hours and 340 hours, respectively.

HTC’s Sense Interface

The so-called Sense interface is based on three principles, which HTC calls “Make It Mine,” “Stay Close” and “Discover the Unexpected.”

Make it Mine lets users personalize the smartphone by adding widgets that perform various functions. A profile feature called “Scenes” lets users further personalize their devices by creating different content profiles around specific functions or times in their lives.

Sense integrates e-mails, phone calls, text messages, Facebook status updates, Flickr photos and other communications into a single view, like the Palm Pre’s webOS. This is what HTC means by the term “Stay Close.”

Discover the Unexpected apparently consists of innovative functions such as letting users silence a ringing phone by turning it over and “Perspectives,” a new way of viewing content such as e-mail, photos, music and Twitter.

The first HTC smartphone equipped with the Sense interface is the Hero, which was announced in June. The Hero will be available at Sprint and Best Buy stores in October for US$180.

Ramping Up for the Hols

Coming as it does two days before an expected announcement from Motorola concerning two Android smartphones, HTC’s volley signals the beginning of the pre-holiday new products season cycle.

“We’re turning into Q4, and now is the time everyone will announce new smartphones and other devices,” said Ramon T. Llamas, a senior research analyst at IDC.

Llamas expressed surprise that HTC will launch the Tattoo in Europe first. “Android faces a green field here in the United States as well, and T-Mobile already has an Android phone here,” he told LinuxInsider. “There’s going to be a great market for Android phones here.

That potential demand will trigger Android product launches from more vendors, predicts Laura DiDio, principal at ITIC. “Vendors are going to be flocking to what they hope is going to be a green field opportunity with smartphones,” she told LinuxInsider. “But the iPhone and BlackBerry are still the real killers in the market right now.”

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