The Android-running HTC Wildfire will be available through a number of "regional" North American carriers during the fourth quarter, the smartphone maker announced Oct. 28.
The Wildfire runs versions 2.1 of the Google OS, offers 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1 and GPS connectivity, and features a 3.2-inch capacitive touch screen and a 5-megapixel camera with auto focus and flash. It also includes the latest version of HTC's Sense user interface, intuitively weaving together data from the user's social networks, mobile apps and Google services.
Also included are features called Leap, for quickly accessing any of the Wildfire's seven home screens; Friend Stream, for flowing multiple social networks into a single stream; and People, for organizing multiple groups of contacts.
HTC initially launched the Wildfire in European and Asian markets, suggesting it was a good fit for teens.
"HTC Wildfire makes the HTC Sense experience available to young mobile users for the first time," Florian Seiche, vice president of HTC EMEA, said in a May 17 statement. "It brings all your communications into one place, whether it's through Facebook, Twitter, text messages, images or email, ensuring that you are never far away from the conversation and always close to your friends."
For U.S. markets, however, HTC isn't limiting the phone's appeal.
"With the HTC Wildfire smartphone, we are bringing the people-focused HTC Sense experience to customers looking for a compact, easy-to-learn smartphone that is still powerful enough to meet the needs of even advanced smartphone users," Jason Mackenzie, president of HTC Americas, said in an Oct. 28 statement.
The Wildfire measures 4.2 by 2.4 by 0.5 inches and supports Gmail, Imap4, POP3 and SMTP-based email, SMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) and instant messaging. There's a Web browser, music player, 3.5mm audio jack, 512MB of RAM, 284MB of ROM and a MicroSD card slot for 32GB of memory.
Like other Android-running phones, it also offers easy access to Google's Android Market app store - which on Oct. 25 passed the 100,000 apps mark. (Competitor Apple, by contrast, has more than 300,000 in its app store.)
In May, HTC announced that the majority of the Android-running phones it launched this year would receive upgrades to Android 2.2, which Google introduced May 20.
"As we get closer to readiness, we'll reveal a full list, but for now have started with the most popular models like Desire [in the U.K.] and Droid Incredible [in the U.S.] as well as some of the hotly anticipated new phones," an HTC spokesperson said, according to the tech site Pocket Lint.
The Taiwan-based HTC cemented its status as a top-ranking brand in the U.S. with the Droid Incredible, which some analysts and testers found to live up to its name. It's since released the Android-running HTC Evo 4G - the first 4G-capable smartphone in the U.S. - on the Sprint network, and the T-Mobile G2.
HTC offered no additional details about which carriers would offer the phone, or at what price.