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HTC launches Ovi-ogling cloud service

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HTC has launched its own cloud service, Sense, backing up data and helping to locate lost handsets as it tries to transition from a manufacturer to a service provider.

The focus is on handset management. Recent HTC models registered with the service can be made to ring loudly (in case they're in one's other jacket) or post up a reward on the lock screen (in case they're in someone else's jacket), but users can also customise their handsets, back up their content and (of course) buy applications which will be pushed to their handsets.

Basically it's everything Nokia has been trying so hard to make Ovi into: security (including remote wipe) provides the hook with which network operators can't compete, so the user becomes a customer of HTC rather than Vodafone, O2 or similar.

Apple, of course, holds the crown in this area having not only hooked its customers with proprietary software without which its products are unusable, but managing to charge users for little more than HTC (and Nokia) gives away for free.

HTC Sense isn't a cloud-based calendar or storage of arbitrary files such as photographs or videos, but it will back up your text messages and synchronise your contacts with a cloud-based address book. It also offers a personal checking-in service for location-specific notes.

The service was announced last month, but is now live - though only for those who've managed to score early access to an HTC Desire HD or a Desire Z, and are happy to float in HTC's cloud for a while. ®

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