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HTC confirms HSDPA 3G handsets will ship H2 2006

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Exclusive Smart-phone specialist HTC will ship devices that support the High Speed Data Packet Access (HSDPA) 3G data-speed booster in H2 2006, the company confirmed today.

Speaking to The Register at the formal opening of the company's European operation, HTC President Peter Chou confirmed speculation that HSDPA support is indeed on the manufacturer's device roadmap.

When pushed for a timeframe, Chou told us: "The second half of next year."

He also revealed that integrated GPS location-sensing technology is on the company's roadmap.

When asked about the possibility of supporting other operating systems in addition to Windows Mobile, Chou was more cautious, saying only that HTC was "very happy" with its close relationship with Microsoft, and that it was seeing increasing interest in MS' mobile OS.

HSDPA is currently being tested by Europe's major carriers, and is expected to take download speeds to 1.4Mbps and beyond. O2, for example, has already said its UK-wide commercial HSDPA service will go live Q3 2006. HTC is believed to be working on at least two HSDPA-equipped devices, Breeze and Muse.

HTC today launched its Europe division, intended to facilitate closer ties with the company's European mobile phone network customers, which include T-Mobile, Orange, O2 and Vodafone. The operation will be run by newly appointed VP of HTC Europe, Florian Seiche, who comes to the company after a stint at Orange as Director of Devices.

Based in the UK, HTC Europe will primarily focus on sales, marketing, business development and customer support. However, it will evolve to help drive European design values and functionality needs back into HTC's Taiwanese R&D operation, Seiche said.

HTC chose the tail end of 2005 to launch its Western office because it is "time to bring a much larger portfolio of devices to Europe", Seiche said. ®

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