HTC Desire Z Android Phone Adds E-Reader, PND Functions

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's Desire Z, a new Android 2.2-based smartphone, will come to North America later this year.

It will feature e-reader functions and new HTC services that will let users find a lost phone and remotely wipe data on a stolen phone.

A new HTC Locations map application lets users download and cache map information for specific areas before they head out to those areas so they can pinpoint their location without being connected to the Internet, a spokesman added. The feature helps users avoid expensive data-roaming, he said. Like Google Navigation, however, the app could also be used for turn-by-turn navigation if the customer turned on a persistent data connection.

The touchscreen handset also features slide-from-the-side keyboard and a new HTC Sense user interface said to improve the capture, creation, sharing and accessing of multimedia content.

 The phone operates in 3G HSPA networks, but the company declined to say whether it will be banded for the AT&T or T-Mobile networks in the U.S.

The device's integrated e-reading features include access to the Kobo e-book store and a mobile-optimized e-reader with ability to highlight, annotate and quickly search for definitions or translate unfamiliar terms, the company said. The online mapping feature, called HTC Locations, gives users instant, on-demand maps for navigation without download delays. Improvements in the HTC Sense user interface include the ability to edit captured HD video with a variety of camera effects.

 With the new service, people will be able to manage their phone from a personal computer. From a PC, users will be able to locate a missing phone by remotely causing the handset to ring loudly even if it is set to silent. Users will also be able to find the phone's location on a map. If the phone is lost or stolen, owners can use a PC to remotely lock the phone, forward calls and texts to another phone, send a message to the phone to arrange its return, and remotely wipe all personal data from it. Users would also be able to access archived mobile content such as contacts, text messages and call history from a PC browser.

 Other features include fully integrated social media and email channels, "pop hinge" that opens to reveal a QWERTY keyboard, keyboard shortcuts, and two customizable keys for providing instant access to common functions without the need to open menus. HTC Desire Z also features 3.7-inch capacitive touchscreen, 720p HD video recording, 5-megapixel camera with automatic flash, 800MHz Qualcomm 7230 processor for improved performance and battery life, HTC Fast Boot, and 802.11b/g/n WiFi.

 A similar HSPA device without slide-out keyboard, the HTC Desire HD with unibody aluminum frame, was also unveiled for sale in European and Asian markets in October. It comes with 1GHz processor, 4.3-inch capacitive display, 8-megapixel camera, Android 2.2, 802.11 b/g/n, and 720p video recording.


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