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HTC adds dual-core Sensation smartphone to its lineup

The smartphone maker also hopes to lure consumers with Watch, a new streaming video service

HTC's latest smartphone, the Sensation, has a dual-core 1.2GHz processor from Qualcomm that holds the promise of faster graphics and is due to ship in Europe in the second quarter, the company said at an event in London on Tuesday.

That HTC didn't have a dual-core processor at Mobile World Congress in February came as disappointment to some, and Qualcomm was to blame, according to Geoff Blaber , analyst at CCS Insight. HTC is closely aligned with the chip maker, and until the conference, Qualcomm was a little behind Nvidia and its Tegra 2 processor, he said.

But with the launch of the Sensation and the recent EVO 3D smartphone, both HTC and Qualcomm show that they are back on track. The smartphones join dual-core models such as the already shipping LG Optimus 2X as well as the upcoming Motorola Droid Bionic and Samsung Galaxy S II.

Dual-core processors have now become a must in high-end smartphones, and result in, for example, better graphics, according to Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. The processor also makes Web browsing fast, according to a data sheet on Vodafone UK's website.

However, HTC for the moment does not appear to be involved in the race to make smartphones as thin as possible. The Sensation is 11.3 millimeters thick, compared to the Samsung Galaxy S II, which is 8.5 millimeters thick.

HTC has also decided to stick with HSDPA (High-Speed Download Packet Access) 14.4M bps (bits per second) technology, rather than 21.1M bps HSDPA, which is available on some high-end smartphones.

Just like its other Android-based smartphone, the Sensation uses the Sense to differentiate the user interface from the competition. The version on the Sensation will, for example, allow users to launch applications from the unlock screen, reminiscent of Nokia's Bubbles application.

To entice consumers, phone makers are putting more effort into content services. The Sensation will ship with Watch, a service that will allow users to rent or buy movies or TV series on their smartphone.

In addition to a dual-core processor, the Android 2.3-based Sensation has a 4.3-inch touchscreen with a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels. The back camera has an 8-megapixel resolution and LED flash and there is a VGA camera on the front for video calling and conferencing. The camera can also be used to record videos at 1080p at 30 frames per second.

The phone will cost about 4,700 Swedish kronor (US$750) before taxes and subsidies, according to an HTC spokeswoman.

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