updated 09:00 am EDT, Tue September 8, 2009
HTC Tattoo now official
HTC this morning claimed its stake as the first to produce a low-cost Android phone in the Tattoo. Previously known as the Click, the device consciously scales back and uses a 2.8-inch, 320x240 touchscreen (down from 3.2 inches and 480x320) as well as a directional pad instead of the usual trackball. At the same time, it's also a first for HTC as buyers can not only pick from a customizable back but, in sync with the Tattoo name, design the graphics themselves.
The handset still has a 3.2-megapixel camer 3G, GPS and Wi-Fi as well as the same 528MHz processor, 256MB of RAM and microSDHC storage as most of HTC's Android phones. As it's not a Google-branded phone, it has the apps but uses HTC's custom Sense UI for quicker top-level access to contacts, Twitter and other frequently accessed features.
HTC expects the Tattoo to ship in early October for European carriers and other regions afterwards. The initial version doesn't support any North American 3G, though it's anticipated that at least a CDMA version will reach a carrier like Sprint or Verizon.
The expansion into the low end is critical for Android, which so far has focused on mid-range and premium smartphones. The decision has left Android struggling to fight against lower-end smartphones, particularly the 8GB iPhone 3G. HTC's venture should also lead to exposure on more carriers than the handful that have signed up so far, such as T-Mobile or Vodafone.