HTC Golf Budget Android with Ice Cream Sandwich

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Leaked details for a new budget smartphone from HTC could show the manufacturer combining a cheaper device but with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The HTC Golf is thought to be a follow-up to the HTC Explorer and would be aimed at first-time smartphone buyers.

The HTC Explorer is currently the main entry-level device in the HTC range and it comes with a 3.2 inch screen. According to reports the Golf would replace that, running the latest version of Android Ice Cream Sandwich and would have a 3.5 inch screen. The HTC Golf is said to have a processor that is below 1GHz, probably around 800 MHz, 512 MB of RAM, 4 GB of internal storage, with the potential to expand that via a microSD card and a 3 megapixel camera. The device will also have the Sense 4.0 overlay over the top. Whether it will have the same BeatsAudio that’s been a feature of HTC’s new One range remains to be seen, although it seems quite likely considering the amount of money that HTC spent to acquire the brand. The launch date hasn’t been announced yet but it could be around the second quarter of the year, so late spring early summer.

It’s likely that by the time the device comes to the market it won’t be called the Golf. At the moment that’s just the codename so it could be linked with another HTC device, stand alone or could even be launched as part of the One range. HTC unveiled the One S, One X and the One V at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and offers a range of devices, starting at the quad-core flagship device and working down to something more affordable. It could be feasible that the Golf, or whatever it ends up being called, could launch as the budget device of the One family being priced at somewhere under £200, making it easy for someone who’s looking to buy their first device. HTC recently stated that it wanted to focus more on producing a smaller range of smartphones with a familiar look and brand, much like Apple does with its iPhones, and this could result in the Golf being quite similar in appearance to other HTC One phones and perhaps being released as the HTC One G.

What will be really good news for those looking for a new device is that the Golf is said to be launching with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich already running. This has been a feature of all the new devices HTC has launched so far in 2012 and it’s a good move. While impressive devices like the Sony Xperia S get a lot of headlines and are popular, the fact that users still have to wait for an operating system upgrade will cause some frustration considering it was launched such a short time before the recent spate of ICS phones.

The fact that, by the summer, UK shoppers will be able to pick up a smartphone on the high street or online that already runs Android 4.0 the minute you open the box is a good selling point. Although often patient to wait for an upgrade, many consumers will still be wondering why they still can’t access the latest version of Android’s operating system and with many manufacturers not even offering confirmation of when an upgrade might come in 2012 they might find their heads being turned. It’s a sensible move by HTC to offer the operating system as standard, particularly in its budget devices as it forces its competitors to play catch-up.

This post was written by Simon from Best Mobile Contracts, the UK’s leading mobile phone comparison website and the best place to compare contracts for the new HTC One smartphones.

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