HTC HD2 with huge 4.3-inch screen shipping to Europe, Asia

The smartphone will arrive in the U.S. in early 2010

High Tech Computer (HTC) on Wednesday launched the HD2 smartphone, a thin, light handset with a big 4.3-inch touchscreen.

The device, which is only 11-millimeters thick, is already shipping to Europe and Asia and will be available to consumers around the middle of November.

In Taiwan, the new smartphone will be sold by carrier Taiwan Mobile for around NT$25,900 (US$795), without a contract. HTC said prices will vary by region.

The next step for the smartphone will be to the U.S. in the first quarter of 2010, said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC, during a news conference in Taipei.

The HD2 boasts one of the biggest screens available on a smartphone and is 120.5mm long by 67mm wide. One smartphone with a similarly large screen is Toshiba's TG101 with a 4.1-inch screen, but most smartphone screens are smaller, more like the 3.5-inch screen on the iPhone 3GS. The HD2 will come with the Windows Mobile 6.5 OS. It also carries HTC Sense, the user interface developed by HTC.

Inside the HD2 rests a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset, 448MB of RAM, a 5-megapixel camera, GPS (global positioning system) and a battery rated for up to 8 hours of video playback or 390 hours of WCDMA standby. It includes a microSD memory card slot.

The touchscreen is made for multi-touch. Pinch an image or text document and it will enlarge or shrink.

The smartphone can be used with a variety of mobile phone networks and includes Wi-Fi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 2.1 among its wireless technologies. It has connection points for a 3.5mm audio jack and micro-USB.

(Additional reporting by John Cox of Network World.)

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