HTC Tests Gingerbread Update For Desire

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The Taiwanese phone maker has confirmed it is testing Android Gingerbread for the Desire handset

Taiwanese mobile phone maker HTC has announced it is testing Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) for its popular Desire handset, suggesting that an update could be rolled out to customers in the coming weeks.

Gingerbread is not a major upgrade from Android 2.2 Froyo, but introduces some interface tweaks and irons out a few usability issues. The Android soft keyboard has been redesigned and optimised for faster text input and editing, and power management has been improved to extend battery life.

An updated set of standard applications also allow Internet calling, video calling and near-field communications (NFC) – although this will only work on handsets with appropriate hardware.

Rollout date not announced

In an update on its Facebook fan page, HTC said: “We’re excited to share that we are testing our build of Gingerbread for HTC Desire and will start doing quality assurance for it this week. When we have an update on availability we’ll post another announcement. Thanks for your support!”

The news follows some confusion over whether the HTC Desire would receive the Gingerbread update, amid concerns that the phone did not have enough memory to handle both the 2.3 update and HTC’s Sense user interface.

HTC originally declared on 15 June that it would not bring Gingerbread to the Desire, but the company reversed the decision just hours later, following some outraged customer feedback. It is likely that when Gingerbread finally launches on the HTC, it will be a highly stripped-down version.

HTC European expansion

Earlier this week, HTC opened a new European headquarters in Slough – in the building that once housed the UK headquarters of mobile operator O2. In a statement, HTC’s Florian Seiche said the company was committed to expanding its influence in the EMEA region.

The company also announced the forthcoming arrival of its Evo 3D smartphone in Europe, billed as a competitor to LG’s Optimus 3D handset.

The Evo 3D runs Android Gingerbread, together with the latest HTC Sense user interface. It runs on a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and has twin 5 Megapixel cameras, allowing users to switch between 2D and 3D mode, even in low lighting conditions.

HTC is fast becoming one of the most popular smartphone manufacturers in Europe, with smartphone sales across EMEA increasing by 67 percent in the first quarter of 2011, compared to a year earlier, according to statistics from Canalys.

The company sold 9.7 million smartphones globally in Q1 2011 – an increase of 192 percent year-on-year, and 6 percent on the previous quarter.

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