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CES 2010: HTC Unveils First Brew Based BlackBerry

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There is a wonderfully delicious irony about this handset...

HTC's so-called 'Smart' is actually the company's first dumbphone, it has revealed. The handset maker showed off the design at Qualcomm's press event yesterday (which also demoed such jewels as the Snapdragon powered Nexus One and Lenovo Skylight).

What actually makes it, shall we say, 'not smart'? The OS, with HTC making it their first Brew based handset (Brew runs across the INQ range). That said, this is a tweaked version of Brew designed by Qualcomm to focus on social networking, contacts integration and features a custom finger friendly UI.

As for the hardware specs, you'll find a 2.8in QVGA touchscreen, HSDPA, Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR, 256MB of RAM/ROM, a 3MP camera, microSD expansion slot and 3.5mm headphone. Battery life is good for up to 450 minutes of talk time while it is no pocket hog at 104 x 55 x 12.8mm and 108g.

Perhaps more surprising, however, is - given the incredible growth rate of the smartphone sector - that HTC would choose to manufacture lower down the food chain. When I quizzed HTC on this the company's reasoning was that Brew offered significant savings and that it felt it was missing out on the mass market. That is true, though of course margins also run much tighter in that segment meaning HTC will be looking to ship great numbers of the Smart.

Of course the likes of LG and Samsung have already had great success shipping dumb smartphone look-a-likes such as the Cookie and I'm guessing this also played a major part in HTC's move. Whether it turns out to be smart or dumb remains to be seen...

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