HTC Debuts U.S. Brand Push, 7.2Mbps HSDPA Phone

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HTC, a relative newcomer to the U.S. mobile-phone market, launched its first U.S. brand-awareness campaign and its first W-CDMA high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) phone with the 7.2Mbps version of the wireless-data technology.

The phone is also the company's first with high-speed uplink packet access (HSUPA) technology, which accelerates upload speeds beyond W-CDMA speeds, and an enhanced version of HTC's TouchFLO finger-touch navigation technology.

The phone, called the HTC Touch Diamond, is a thin 4-inch by 2-inch by 0.45-inch PDA phone based on the Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional OS. The 3.85-ounce device is black, features a diamond-like faceted back panel and is wrapped in black stainless-steel band. The Diamond is due in Europe in June and expected in North and Latin American-banded versions in the second half of 2008.

The multimillion-dollar brand campaign kicked off recently with cable TV ads, print ads, in-flight and movie-theater videos, outdoor ads in venues such as subway stations and airports, and online placements including YouTube videos. The effort focuses on New York, Chicago and Los Angeles and will run through the summer, although another ad buy will likely follow, a spokeswoman said.

The print advertising appears in American Way and United Hemispheres in-flight magazines, Time Out, People and Variety. The cable placements are running on MSNBC, CNN, ESPN and "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" on Comedy Central. They are also running on CNN Airport network and on United in-flight programming.

The campaign highlights a variety of HTC devices, including touchscreen devices, sliders with QWERTY keyboards and the like. "The overall premise is to create brand awareness and excitement for HTC rather than focus on just one device," a spokeswoman said. "The campaign shows the various phases of life and how one's life intersects with their HTC device."

The Touch Diamond will benefit from the increased brand exposure when it comes to North America in the second half as the brand's first HSDPA 7.2Mbps phone. The Touch Diamond is also the first device to feature HTC's TouchFLO 3-D motion user interface, an upgraded version of the TouchFLO interface launched last year on the original Touch. The previous version delivered 3-D touch access to applications, but the new version extends the 3-D capability to the use of individual applications. Music, for example, can be selected by sweeping a finger right or left across the display to "flip" through album art.

Like before, the user interface allows for finger-touch Web browsing and finger-touch scrolling of documents, messages and contact lists. The HTC touchscreens lack haptic feedback.

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