Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

First 'Twitter Mobile' Could Be High-Street Hero to Beat iPhone

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

First 'Twitter Mobile' Could Be High-Street Hero to Beat iPhone

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Prigg Technology Correspondent

GOOGLE today unveiled its first "Twitterphone" in a bid to win the highstreet battle against the iPhone.

The new mobile shows contacts' Twitter and Facebook updates alongside their telephone number in an effort to outsell Apple and Nokia.

The Hero, made by Taiwanese firm HTC, goes on sale next month. It is one of the first phones to integrate social networking websites and photo-sharing site Flickr into its software.

Users navigate around the handset using a finger, "flicking" the touchscreen to switch between menu options, in a similar way to Apple's iPhone. The phone is based on a new version of Google's software, called Android.

"In other phones, if you want Facebook, you have to open a Facebook application, read what you want, then go back into the phone menu," said John Wang of HTC.

"We decided this wasn't right. Our software is based around people, which we think are the most important thing to a phone user. We are effectively taking away a lot of the clicks you need in other phones, and we think this makes life easier. You can even have Twitter updates on the home screen.

We think this is the right place, as you can simply glance at them - it's rather like having a picture on the wall, you just want to look at it. Asking people to click on an icon every time they want to look at it would be absurd."

Experts say the handset could see HTC, a company which used to make phones for operators without its own branding, challenge Apple. "It's a very impressive handset, and HTC has really taken to heart how much people rely on internet services like Facebook," said Tony Cripps of analyst firm Ovum.

"While I think Apple does still have the edge in terms of the applications you can download, and the overall feel of the phone, the HTC Hero is a really impressive handset, and shows that people really are beginning to catch up to Apple. …

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