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PDA Market Bullies Newbie HTC

Upstream Australia came out this morning with news that HTC is launching a new smartphone, the Touch Dual 850, on Telstra’s new Next G network, in a bid to cater to the growing number of Telstra customers who are transferring from the soon-to-be defunct Telstra CDMA to Next G.

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HTC’s new Next G phone

HTC’s new offering will go up against already-successful phones in the market including the Motorola RAZR MAXX V6, Palm Treo 750, Nokia 6120 Classic and the Samsung A711.

The new Touch Dual 850 (RRP $929, or on a Telstra $80 plan) will run on the Windows Mobile operating system, teamed with HTC’s own ‘Touch FLO’ touch screen technology and slide-out keypad for emailing, text messaging and taking command of music and other applications.

While HTC is well-placed to take-on already-established giants in the Australian smartphone market, evidence suggests the company is struggling to make a name for itself since it opened its Sydney-based Australian subsidiary only last year.

At the same time, HTC appointed a new big boss to cover its Australia and New Zealand businesses, with hopes the new business would assist the company secure additional sales channels and therefore local business growth.

According to SmartHouse News reports after HTC’s press event in October last year, the company admitted it might struggle to compete against the likes of Samsung and Motorola, whose brands are backed with multi-million dollar advertising campaigns.

The company, which previously sold the Dopod in Australia, said it would invest in marketing both directly and via carriers and partners, however it has yet to be proven if HTC’s investment will be enough to get it into a market leadership position by the end of this year.

While HTC is the world’s largest Windows Mobile-based smartphone-maker, the company is clearly pulling out all stops to ensure it gains a top-five position in the Australia market, including recruiting a PR company that more clearly reflects HTC’s marketing ideas.

According to HTC marketing manager, Natasha Wright, Upstream is experienced in the IT&T sector, which is a market within which HTC plans to grow.

“Upstream has long-running experience in IT&T. We see HTC fitting in with this marketplace, and therefore Upstream fits in with us,” she said.

Upstream won the HTC clientele after a pitch to the company late last year, adding HTC to its brand portfolio which is streamlined toward the business market, and includes clients such as Linksys, SanDisk, Skype and online security company, Bluecoat.

SmartHouse News reported last year that it was surprised at the lack of organisation from Max PR at the HTC launch, with an absence of press kits and product images made available to journalists.

Wright says HTC hopes to gain Telstra Next G certification for more of its PDAs and smartphones in the future, while the company “absolutely has plans” to expand its marketing henceforth.