**As published in RCR Wireless News** BARCELONA – HTC showed no signs of slowing today as it announced a refresh to its HTC Sense user-interface overlay and a trio of new smartphones. Indeed, CEO Peter Chou said he expects the device maker to be among the top three smartphone suppliers by 2013. While noting the difficulties the mobile industry went through as a whole last year, Chou boasted it “was the most significant year in our history.” After raising the brand’s profile considerably during 2009, HTC is continuing to refine Sense and pursuing smartphone market share growth even more aggressively, he said during a morning press conference.
New features in Sense include “polite,” which automatically reduces the volume of the device’s ringer once a user picks it up when receiving a call. In an increasingly recurring theme at this year’s Mobile World Congress, HTC is also adding a feature that captures all social networking services in one place called Friend Stream. Another new addition to Sense, called Leap, lets users pinch anywhere on the homescreen and view thumbnails of each of their pages, making it easier to navigate the suite of applications throughout the device without the need to flick from page to page. The software update will be available on some existing devices like the HTC Hero along with all of its new products. Trio of new HTC smartphones First up was the HTC Legend, a 3.2-inch AMOLED HVGA touchscreen device that’s made out of a single block of aluminum with an optical trackpad. While introducing the device, CMO John Wang dropped it rather aggressively to give the audience a sense of its solid body. Next he introduced the HTC Desire, which the company is marketing as its most visually rich experience thus far. The 3.7-inch AMOLED WVGA touchscreen device is Flash Lite enabled to render the highest level of visual realism possible, Wang said. Finally, he introduced a refresh of the HD2 in a more compact form factor called HD mini. Just like its sister device, HD mini will also have the ability to share a wireless connection with other devices via Wi-Fi. All three devices will run on the Android 2.1 operating system and be launched across Europe and Asia in April with a record number of mobile operators already confirmed to carry the full line at launch, the company added. There was no word about availability in North America. As he wrapped up the event, Chou said HTC will continue to work with Microsoft and it has plans to release devices for Windows Phone 7 Series when Microsoft launches the operating system at the end of this year. But for the time being, and in line with the bulk of other OS news coming out of Mobile World Congress, HTC is aggressively betting on Android. It remains to be seen how much investment the company will put into Microsoft’s latest OS though, considering its seemingly increasing bet on Android. New HTC products at T-Mobile USA In other HTC-related news, T-Mobile USA today announced that it will soon carry two of the company’s previously announced products: the HTC HD2 and the T-Mobile webConnect Rocket USB Laptop Stick. The USB dongle will be available next month and the HD2 will be for sale through the carrier’s channels later in the spring.