The Australian smartphone market is in for a shakeup as phone manufacturers such as HTC launch exclusive new Google Android models for sale via mass retailers such as Harvey Norman and JB Hi Fi.
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It could also open the door for traditional notebook and netbook vendors such as Acer, Dell and Toshiba, to launch smartphones in Australia via their traditional retail partners.
Running Android and using HTC’s Sense UI, the Hero and the Tattoo “are focused on personalisation and accessibility.” Claims HTC.
The HTC Hero features a 3.2 inches capacitive touchscreen display with 320 x 480 pixels, HSDPA, Wi-Fi, GPS, 3.5m headset jack and a 5MP autofocus camera.
The HTC Tattoo has a smaller display (2.8 inches, resistive, with 240 x 320 pixels) and a 3.2MP camera, but it also features HSDPA, Wi-Fi and GPS.
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According to Anthony Petts, HTC’s ANZ Director of Sales and Marketing the move into retail will allow HTC to launch several new models that will not be carried by phone carriers. “There is a big market for people who simply want a new phone. These people will simply switch their sim card over, they are also prepared to buy a phone from their local retailer” he said.
He added “We have launched our Hero and Tattoo models via Harvey Norman who will have these models exclusive for two weeks. We then plan to launch additional models via other retailers. Next year we are looking for big growth in Australia and our expansion into mass retailers will help us achieve this”.
Among the new HTC models launched via Harvey Norman is the $799, HTC Hero and the $599 Tattoo.
“By selling via retailers, we are allowing the consumer to either choose a carrier of their own choice or simply buy an unlocked handset outright. We also anticipate discounting by the retailers to generate interest”.
One setback is that the Hero will only work on 2100MHz and 900MHz 3G HSDPA bands, this rules out Telstra’s Next G network which is promoted by Harvey Norman as a preferred carrier.
“These two new handsets are focused on personalisation and accessibility – hallmarks of the HTC Sense experience. We anticipate that our move into retail will be highly successful,” said Petts.