Midway through last year O2 made the very silly move of falling out with HTC, but thankfully the two have now kissed and made up as its latest smartphone shows...
Called the 'XDA Argon' it is based on the little known HTC 'Panda' and it is a budget handset which will be exclusive to O2 until July – not that I imagine too many networks will be upset about that.
Along with its retro looks, the Argon/Panda is a perfectly average – if completely uninspiring device – with a 3.5in touch screen display, 2MP camera, WiFi connectivity and Bluetooth. More notorious by its absence however are 3G (there's only EDGE) and Windows Mobile 6, even though the OS has been out for a few months now.
Worst still, despite its technological modesty, the Argon is a brick with 129.7 x 69.8 x 18.8mm dimensions and a who-ate-all-the-pies 200g weight. Thankfully, the Argon does come free on most tariffs though there is a nasty £85.10 asking price on the most basic £25pm 'Best for Business' deal. Best for who?!
If you ask me, HTC is still clearly a little irked by O2's decision last year to dump it in order to try out other manufacturer's offerings (read: cut itself better deals). Unfortunately O2 then sourced garbage like the XDA Zinc which failed to pass its network testing and never saw the light of day - leading to the HTC rethink.
Consequently it seems HTC has let O2 back in on the condition it helps shift its deadwood before being allowed back on the good stuff...