High Tech Computer unveiled its first smartphone that uses Qualcomm's Brew MP operating system on Wednesday at the Mobile World Congress, marking a step in a new direction for the company, which specializes in Windows Mobile and Android-based smartphones.
HTC Smartis designed to be a lower cost smartphone and includes a number of lower-quality components, including a 300MHz processor, 3-megapixel camera and other features. The handset has a 2.8-inch touchscreen.
Brew MP, which includes an OS as well as specifications for Qualcomm chips, is one of a number of new smartphone initiatives aimed at putting the devices in the hands of more people in the developing world.
Microsoft and Google have turned to Taiwanese chipset vendor MediaTek to build low-cost hardware to match to their operating systems in their bid to drive smartphone sales in China and other emerging markets. A package of MediaTek chips and Windows Mobile software is already available and being sold to handset makers throughout China, while a package of MediaTek chips and Google's Android mobile OS will be out in the second half of this year.
"I think HTC Smart will be most successful in India and China," said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC, at a briefing in Taipei.
The device will be available in the U.K. and Germany in April, and will spread to other areas, including the U.S., soon after.
HTC declined to immediately put a price on the initial version of the handsets, which will be shown at the Mobile World Congress.