US wireless carrier Sprint Nextel and Taiwan's HTC Corp. announced plans Thursday to release a touch-screen mobile phone in October powered by Google's Android software.
The HTC Hero will be the second mobile phone to use the open-source operating system developed by the Internet giant, which has been trying to secure a foothold in the highly competitive smartphone market.
Google and US wireless carrier T-Mobile released the first so-called "Google Phone," the T-Mobile G1, which is also manufactured by HTC, in October of last year.
Sprint said the HTC Hero would be available in stores from October 11 and cost 180 dollars with a two-year service agreement.
Sprint already offers the much-hyped Palm Pre, released earlier this year, and the HTC Hero will be competing in a crowded US market against devices such as Apple's iPhone and the Blackberry from Canada's Research in Motion.
Microsoft this week also announced that its handset partners around the world will offer new smartphones in October featuring an upgraded version of its Windows Mobile operating system.
The HTC Hero includes built-in Google mobile services, including Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail, and YouTube and access to thousands of applications built on the Android platform.
The HTC Hero also features a 5.0-megapixel camera and camcorder, Wi-Fi capability and integrated GPS.
"Android provides to consumers the same Internet services they have become accustomed to on their desktop PC," said Andy Rubin, vice president, mobile platforms at Google.
"The arrival of HTC Hero and the Android platform to Sprint's network is an important milestone for our customers and the US wireless industry," said Kevin Packingham, senior vice president of product development for Sprint.
"With the dependability and coverage of Sprint's 3G network, HTC Hero users will appreciate a much better experience than is possible now with any other Android phone operating in the United States," he said.
The Mountain View, California-based Google is hoping that Android will be adopted as a platform by other mobile phone makers and several other carriers and handset manufacturers, including Motorola, have announced plans to unveil Android phones before the end of the year.
(c) 2009 AFP
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