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Telus and HTC Canada hope for holiday hit with Hero smartphone

HTC's Google Android-based Hero smartphone is available in Canada exclusively through Telus (with VIDEO)

Smartphone manufacturer HTC Canada has launched a new marketing and branding campaign to coincide with the Canadian launch of the HTC Hero, it new Google Android OS-based smartphone now available exclusively through Telus Corp.

Targeted at the consumer market and timed to capitalize on the holiday shopping season, the Hero is a 3G smartphone that the vendor boasts is the world’s first Android-based phone based on HTC’s Sense technology, a new design framework based on personalization and creating an interface that gives people the information they want. While new to Canada, the Hero has already launched in other markets.

Francois Gravel, general manager, HTC Canada, said HTC is now the number three smartphone manufacturer in Canada, and is hoping to continue its growth with the Hero.

“In Canada in 2009 we’ve had a break-out year,” said Gravel. “We’ve been able to launch and be first to market with the (Google) Android platform and we’re now following-up with our flagship product, the Hero.”

Personalization is a key philosophy behind the Hero, said Gravel. Users can create different home screens customized with the layout and widgets they want. They can also create what HTC calls scenes. A weekday workday scene might contain a user’s business applications and tools, while a weekend scene would have personal and entertainment widgets front and centre.

Other innovations include having everything linked to the contact. Clicking on a contact will bring up all the e-mails, text messages, Flickr and Facebook entries associated with that person, so one needn’t search across multiple applications. As well, the weather, clock and calendar information change automatically when travelling, based on network location.

The Hero is available in Canada exclusively through Telus, which is launching it for $99 on a three-year contract. It features a 3.2” touchscreen, a 5MP autofocus camera, and a MicroSD slot. It runs on an 528MHz Qualcomm processor with 512MB ROM and 288 MB RAM, measuring 112 x 56.2 x 14.35 mm and weighing 135 grams with battery.

“I think with the features and the enthusiasm Telus has for this device it’s going to be a real home-run for Christmas,” said Gravel.

Gravel added he sees the Hero primarily appealing to the consumer market, although he can’t rule-out enterprise appeal.

“I think that with its feature set it will be very popular on the consumer side, but there’s no stopping other devices down the road, and some of the manufacturers of these devices are also computer manufacturers,” said Gravel. “I’m sure they’ll look at the VAR infrastructure to see if there’s other fits. But today we just work through the channels the carriers provide us.”

Around the Hero launch, HTC has also launched an aggressive marketing and re-branding campaign, including television and display advertising using the themes of personalization and the tagline “quietly brilliant.”

Find out more about the HTC Hero in this video report from ITBusiness.ca’s Brian Jackson: