O2 and HTC today announced an exclusive partnership to sell the
HTC Smart, an affordable and easy to use smartphone in the UK,
Ireland and Germany.
The device is aimed at customers moving up from feature phones to
a smartphone, who want email, web browsing and social networking
and at people who are put off by the high cost and complexity of
many other smartphones.
Jon French, HTC's executive director for UK & Ireland, told
Mobile that the device will be available on both pre-pay and
post-pay tariffs from 1 April. The tariffs have not yet been
Launching the phone at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Matthew Key, chief executive officer of Telefonica, said: 'We
believe this is a key move in our ability to bring smartphones to
a far wider cross section of the population. The benefits of web
browsing on the move and ability to experience applications like
mobile social networking will now be brought to the mass market
and reinforces O2's position as the home of the smartphone.'
The Smart uses Qualcomm's Brew Mobile platform with HTC's Sense
UI sitting on top. The use of the Brew platform is the key factor
in keeping the cost of the phone down.
'If you use Android you have to have a certain level of
functionality and that is expensive,' said French. 'Using the
Brew platform allows us to reduce the cost, but we can still add
our Sense UI on top, so it can do everything the Legend and
Desire (new HTC Android-based devices announced yesterday) can
do, but at a cheaper price.'
The HTC Smart is one of a number of cheaper smartphones coming
onto the market aimed at capturing the youth market and cost
French said: 'It will give a good quality browsing experience to
young people. For O2 that will be sticky for their brand. The
reason with gone for an exclusive deal with an operator is that
it's a new segment of the market and we need help reaching