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HTC details first Google Android smartphone

'Dream' handset to feature touchscreen

High Tech Computer's (HTC's) new mobile phone based on Google's Android smartphone platform will be called 'Dream', have a large touchscreen and full QWERTY keypad, a person close to the situation said today.

HTC may become the first handset maker in the world to put out a mobile phone developed around Google Android, but it faces stiff competition from Samsung, a separate source said. Samsung has stepped up its effort to put out a Google phone, the person said.

HTC's Google handset is just over 5in long and 3in wide, with a keypad underneath the screen that either slides out or swivels out. The aim of the keypad is for easy email, note-taking and writing web addresses. Internet navigational controls are situated below the screen on the handset.

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The handset will likely hit the market near the end of this year, the person said, but HTC has so far refused to confirm the details.

"We cannot comment on this product," said Maggie Cheng, an HTC representative.

Last November, HTC became the first company to admit to developing a mobile phone based on Android, although Samsung, Motorola and other handset developers are part of the group dedicated to furthering the software, the Open Handset Alliance.

Android, an open-source software platform that includes an OS, is designed to take advantage of internet services for mobility. The software could become a potent new rival to Windows Mobile and other handset operating systems. At the launch ceremony, Google announced that over 30 companies had joined the Open Handset Alliance.

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