Hero's Tattoo: HTC releases two new Android phones

Access to Android Market also a feature

The HTC Tattoo allows custom interface designs for the Android operating system and a custom cover can be applied to the phone

The HTC Tattoo allows custom interface designs for the Android operating system and a custom cover can be applied to the phone

Mobile device maker HTC has announced two new touchscreen smartphones – the Tattoo and the Hero – both of which run the Linux-based Android operating system.

With similar specifications, including 3.5mm audio jacks, the Hero and Tattoo both sport HTC’s Sense user interface on top of Android, with Facebook and Twitter apps also included.

HTC Corporation sales and marketing director for Australia and New Zealand Anthony Petts said the new handsets are focused on “personalisation and accessibility” and add to its existing range of Android-powered devices. They are not intended to replace HTC’s Dream and Magic models.

The release comes as the Android-based smartphone market begins to gather space alongside Apple’s venerable iPhone.

In recent weeks Motorola, Sony Ericsson and Dell have announced new handsets that run Android.

The HTC Sense UI allows the phone to be customised to suit information preferences, and updates from popular social networking services like Facebook and Flickr are integrated into a single view.

The HTC Hero has a slightly larger screen at 3.2 inches and more hardware navigation options than the Tattoo, but both phones share much the same features. The Hero’s camera is 5 megapixels while the Tattoo’s camera is 3.2 megapixels.

Petts said both phones allow access to the Android Market for thousands of third-party applications and HTC has no plans to develop more applications for the phones in addition to the set they ship with.

The Tattoo is being launched with a third-party phone customisation service from Garskin.

For $AU29.95 you can get a custom cover for the Tattoo.

There is no word from HTC on which carriers will offer the new devices, but they will be first available through retailer Harvey Norman exclusively for at least a few weeks, according to Petts.

The HTC Hero will be available for $AU799 and the Tattoo is priced at $AU599. Both are expected to begin shipping within weeks.

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