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Mass-market Android phone offers customizable UI

Sep 8, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

HTC Corp. announced an Android phone aimed at “the masses” that offers the same Sense UI as its more robust HTC Hero smartphone cousin. The HTC Tattoo provides a 2.8-inch touchscreen, HSPA, WCDMA, and Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE network support, plus WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and a 3.2-megapixel camera, says HTC.

The HTC Tattoo appears to be a slightly smaller, less capable version of the HTC Hero, which last week Sprint announced it would offer in the U.S. starting in October. Yet, the Tattoo, which is scheduled to debut in Europe on an unnamed carrier at the same time, does not lose much from the Hero's high-end smartphone features.

The key differences appear to be the Tattoo's smaller, lower-resolution 2.8-inch, 240 x 320 display, as well as its 3.2-megapixel autofocus camera, compared to the Hero's five megapixel model. The RAM allotment is also slightly smaller, at 256MB instead of 288MB.

HTC Tattoo
(Click to enlarge)

Otherwise, the feature list is pretty much the same, with essentially the same Qualcomm MSM7225 processor. (The Hero's chip is said to be a MSM7200A clocked similarly at 528MHz.). The 512MB of internal flash is the same, and the Tattoo offers a microSD slot for expansion.

Other identical features include the 802.11b/g WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0, GPS, digital compass, and 3.5mm audio output. The phone includes a G-sensor, but as with the Hero, none of HTC's photos show the phone flipped to landscape mode.

While there's less screen real estate to play around with, the Tattoo's design also results in a slightly smaller size, shrinking vertically from 4.4 inches to less than 4.2 inches. The Tattoo is also much lighter than the Hero, weighing in at 4.0 ounces compared to 4.8 ounces. Unfortunately, this does not appear to help out with talk time, which at a claimed 342 minutes (WCDMA) or 390 minutes (GSM), is less than that claimed for the original Hero (420/470).

The HTC Tattoo is slightly smaller and lighter than the HTC Hero.
(Click to enlarge)

As with the Hero, the phone's hardware capabilities are barely mentioned by HTC in its marketing, which focuses almost entirely on its new HTC Sense UI. Layered atop the Linux-based Android operating system, the Sense UI layer offers a home screen studded with customizable widgets. In addition, users can set up highly customized profiles and other user-specific functions, says HTC. Sense is also said to offer unified messaging features for managing and integrating phone calls, emails, text messages, photos and other data.

As with the Hero, the HTC Tattoo integrates Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube, as well as Google Maps, search, Google Mail, and Android market, says HTC. (For more on the Hero and the Sense UI, see our original coverage of the Hero, here.)

The Tattoo offers integrated support for social networking sites like Twitter.

(Click to enlarge)

As the Tattoo's name suggests, HTC has expanded the personalization theme to the exterior of the phone, as T-Mobile has done with its HTC-manufactured MyTouch 3G phone. Customers can "design and purchase their own unique covers or search and select from popular cover designs, altering the look of the phone to reflect their mood or individual tastes," says HTC.

Specifications listed for the HTC Tattoo include:

  • Processor — Qualcomm MSM7225 @ 528MHz
  • Memory — 256MB RAM
  • Flash — 512MB
  • Flash expansion — MicroSD memory card (SD 2.0 compatible)
  • Display — 2.8-inch, 240 x 320 TFT-LCD touchscreen
  • Cellular — HSPA/WCDMA 900/2100MHz (for Europe/Asia) with up to 7.2Mbps downlink; Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900MHz
  • WiFi — 802.11 b/g
  • Bluetooth — Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR and A2DP for wireless stereo headsets
  • USB — HTC ExtUSB (11-pin mini-USB 2.0)
  • Camera — 3.2-megapixel autofocus
  • Audio — 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Audio formats — MP3, AAC (AAC, AAC+, AAC-LC), AMR-NB, WAV, MIDI, and Windows Media Audio 9
  • Video formats — MPEG-4, H.263, H.264, and Windows Media Video 9
  • GPS — Internal GPS antenna
  • Other features:
    • 4-Way navigation control with Enter button
    • G-sensor
    • Digital compass
    • FM radio
  • Battery — Rechargeable Lithium-ion 1100 mAh; up to 342 minutes (WCDMA) or 390 minutes (GSM) talk time; up to 520 hours (WCDMA) or 340 hours (GSM) standby
  • Power — 100 ~ 240V AC, 50/60Hz AC adapter; 5V and 1A DC output
  • Dimensions — 4.2 x 2.2 x 0.5 inches (106 x 55.2 x 14mm)
  • Weight — 4.0 oz (113 g) with battery
  • Operating system - Android (Linux/Java)

The HTC Tattoo provides HTC's customizable Sense UI

HTC Hero launched in India

In other HTC news, the company announced the launch of the HTC Hero in India. A special offer exclusively for 100 million Airtel users in India provides free data downloads of 100MB per month for six months, says HTC. Airtel customers will also be able to use utility-based applications such as Portfolio Manager, Hello Tune Manager, Weather Channel, Mobshare, In-mobile search, and City Search on the HTC Hero, says the company.

Stated Peter Chou, CEO, HTC, "Everyone wants their own phone to feel like it was specifically made for them. The Tattoo, with HTC Sense, represents an easy way to shape your own distinct mobile experience and really make it your own."


The HTC Tattoo will be available in Europe at the beginning of October, says HTC, which did not mention supporting carriers or pricing. The phone will then "roll out in markets around the world in the following months," says the company. More information on the Tattoo may be found here.

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