Telus Mobility will launch the HTC Desire, a new touch screen smartphone powered by Google Android, as part of its “back to school” campaign.
Canadian media pawed at the Android 2.1 device at Telus’ Toronto location on Wednesday. The Desire is already available in Europe and is often described as a reworked version of Google’s Nexus One smartphone. HTC manufacted that device for Google, and has now slapped its “SenseUI” interface over the operating system and its own branding.
SenseUI was also featured on Telus’ Hero smartphone, another Android device launched last year. Desire packs a bit more of a punch specs wise, with a 1 GHz processor, a larger 3.7” LCD screen with 800 x 480 resolution, a 5-megapixel camera and expandable storage up to 32 GB.
The phone is just one part of Telus’ bet on Android, says Hilen Wong, director of device product marketing at Telus.
“Google’s mission in life is to make sure the world’s information is made freely available to as many people as possible,” he says. “They wanted to ensure their services … would be appreciated in the mobile space.”
Desire features customizable widgets across seven home screens. One notable built-in application is Friend Stream, which aggregates a users’ social media accounts and displays the updates in one spot. It’s similar to Motorola’s Moto Blur feature, which also aggregates social networking information on Android smartphones.
Telus expects smartphones will continue to sell well among consumers attracted by their features, Wong says.
“We really believe the growth is just starting, and there will be exponential growth starting in the back to school season,” he says. “The hockey stick [a sharp rise on a line graph] will come in the Christmas season.”
That sentiment is in line with a recent survey from ChangeWave Research. It shows that planned smartphone buying among consumers is at an all-time high, with 16.4 per cent of respondents saying they plan to buy a device within 90 days.
Apple Inc. and HTC are the beneficiaries of this enthusiasm, while Motorola Corp. and Research in Motion are losing out, according to the survey. More than half of those planning to buy a smartphone say they will buy an iPhone, and about one in five say they will buy an HTC device. Only nine per cent plan to buy a Motorola device, and only six per cent plan to buy a BlackBerry.
Palm did even worse, not even registering one per cent response. The survey involved 4,028 consumers.