HTC Tattoo Steals Motorola's Android Thunder

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With just two days to go before Motorola is expected to pull the curtain off of its lineup of Google Android smartphones at an event in San Francisco, Android powerhouse HTC beat Motorola to the punch, unveiling a new, affordable Android smartphone for the average smartphone user.

Continuing its trend of Google Android domination, HTC said it plans to release the HTC Tattoo. Formerly known as the HTC Click, the HTC Tattoo is the Taiwanese smartphone-maker's affordable Android offering.

The HTC Tattoo will be released in Europe at the beginning of October and released in additional markets over the following months. Official pricing for the HTC Tattoo has not been released, but it is expected to be offered for free in Europe with a two-year carrier service contract.

The HTC Tattoo, like other recent HTC smartphone releases, focuses heavily on device personalization and customization. Similar to the HTC Hero, which is expected to hit Sprint's network next month, the HTC Tattoo features the customizable HTC Sense user interface that that lets users customize their smartphones via home-screen panels and widgets on the Tattoo's 2.8-inch touch-screen display.

"Everyone wants their own phone to feel like it was specifically made for them," said HTC CEO Peter Chou in a statement. "The Tattoo with HTC Sense represents an easy way to shape your own distinct mobile experience and really make it your own. The HTC Tattoo ensures that you can create the most engaging and appropriate mobile experience through simple yet powerful personalization."

The Tattoo is the second HTC smartphone to tie in HTC Sense, which is based on the principles of "Make It Mine," "Stay Close" and "Discover the Unexpected" in a bid to make using devices simpler and more natural. HTC sense lets users integrate communications and applications like voice calls, e-mails, texts, photos and status updates into one consolidated view.

Along with being able to customize the software, the HTC Tattoo also lets users customize their hardware, HTC said. HTC will allow users to design and buy unique covers or select pre-designed covers to change the outward appearance of their phones.

Like other Google Android-based HTC devices, the HTC Tattoo with HTC Sense also wraps in a host of Google mobile services like Maps, search, Gmail and the Android Market, which lets users buy and download applications and games.

Additional features include a 3.2-megapixel autofocus camera, a 3.5mm stereo headset jack and expandable microSD memory. Other specifications of the HTC Tattoo include support for Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth connectivity, an accelerometer and a digital compass. The dual-band 900/2100 MHz device will run on the 7.2 Mbps UMTS/HSDPA network alongside quad-band EDGE.

HTC unveiled the Tattoo on Tuesday, just two days before Motorola is expected to showcase its first two Google Android-based smartphones at a September 10 event in San Francisco. Motorola's first two Android smartphones, the Motorola Sholes and the Motorola Morrison, are expected to be available in time for the holiday shopping season, and Thursday's event is expected to be the first official look at what Motorola has planned for Google Android.

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