HTC adds Aria smartphone to Android arsenal

HTC Aria exclusive to Optus for three months on $49 cap plan

HTC has partnered with Optus to launch its latest Android smartphone in Australia, the HTC Aria.

Available exclusively through Optus for three months, the HTC Aria is a mid-range Android smartphone that runs the 2.1 version of the operating system. Its features include a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus, a 3.2in capacitive touchscreen, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity and a 600MHz processor. It also features HTC's Sense UI, the same user interface seen on the HTC Desire.

The Aria is very similar in features to the Vodafone exclusive HTC Legend, but swaps the aluminium unibody design for a slightly more compact, plastic body and weighs just 115g.

HTC's sales and marketing director Anthony Petts said the HTC Aria's compact size separates it from other devices on the market. Optus head of digital products, Mark Mulder, described the HTC Aria as a perfect fit for the telco. Mulder revealed that over 50 per cent of Optus' post-paid customer base now has a smartphone. "About 10 to 15 per cent of smartphone users drive over 70 per cent of Optus' usage," he said.

The HTC Aria will compete with the HTC Wildfire, which is currently exclusively sold through Telstra.

The Aria will be available in mid-October and will sell for $0 upfront on Optus' $49 cap plan over 24 months. The plan includes $450 worth of calls, 1GB of data and unlimited access to a number of popular social-networking services including Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Foursquare.

HTC also revealed it is "hoping" to eventually upgrade the Aria's software to the latest version of Android 2.2 (Froyo), but provided no firm date. Froyo will add full Flash support, built-in wireless tethering, and the ability to store third-party apps on your SD card, as well as a range of other improvements.

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Ross Catanzariti

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