Orange, Carphone Warehouse To Get HTC Desire

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HTC is launching an assault on the UK smartphone market, with the Desire handset now available from Orange and Carphone Warehouse

Mobile phone maker HTC has teamed up with UK operator Orange and vendor Carphone Warehouse to broaden the distribution of its Desire handset – the unbranded sister phone of Google’s Nexus One – in the UK.

The HTC Desire, which is already out on T-Mobile, Virgin Media and Vodafone, will soon be available for free as part of a £30-per-month two-year contract from Carphone Warehouse, or for £399 on pay as you go. Orange customers will also be able to get their hands on the black version of the handset in the near future, although Orange has not given a precise date.

HTC Desire adds extra features

HTC launched the Desire at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February. Like the Nexus One, it has a 3.7-inch AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode) touchscreen, and runs Android version 2.1. It has a flash-equipped 5-megapixel camera and runs on 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon chips. However, it also updates the Nexus One with an improved joystick and new features including an FM radio.

When HTC first signed an exclusivity deal with Vodafone for UK distribution of the Desire, the operator announced it was adding its own Vodafone 360 social networking cloud services to the phone. Although Vodafone 360 had a superficial attraction that initially convinced some people (ourselves included), the service has been widely criticised for restricting users to an operator-run walled garden if they want to use the most powerful features of the service.

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Vodafone has now also got its hands on HTC’s Legend handset, which UK customers now pre-order from it exclusively.

Meanwhile, reports have been circulating that the UK launch of Google’s Nexus One phone will be delayed into the middle next month, amid fears of low sales. “Initial data points were disappointing, possibly due to limited marketing and customer service challenges,” said an analyst from Goldman Sachs, who slashed his sales prediction for 2010 from 3.5 million units to just one million.

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