HTC will be releasing a Chinese version of their Explorer budget phone in China, under the label HTC Daren. The new dedicated phone is geared towards feature integration with Renren.com's social network service, but will the new phone be able to attract China's increasingly social saavy population?
HTC has announced that it will release their rebranded version of the HTC Explorer, dubbed the HTC Daren, in China. The Daren is the second of seven phones which HTC will be bringing to the Chinese mobile market in hopes of achieving a share of China’s growing mobile demands. The Taiwanese handset maker had previously partnered with Sina's Weibo micro blogging service to create a dedicated phone. This second attempt will be a tie-in with Renren.com, China’s equivalent of Facebook.
This is done simply by swapping Facebook and Twitter integration for Renren, which will be powering HTC’s Friendfeed feature. Due to fact that the new social network phone is modeled from a budget mobile platform, its 480 by 300 pixel low-resolution 3.2 inch screen and 3-megapixel camera can hardly impress any power user. The Chinese mass market, however, may like the price tag of 2099RMB (US$330) without any telco contracts. The challenge, however, comes from another competitor, and it’s a tough one too.
Xiaomi Tech, a Chinese mobile startup, has been able to assemble and retail a premium level smartphone with cutting edge components including a dual-core 1.5Ghz processor, 8-megapixel camera, and Android OS preloaded with the popular ROM interface MIUI, all at a lower price of 1999RMB (US$315). This is all in addition to it being from a locally designed and manufactured phone, and therefore hold more clout with the country's population.
HTC still has five cards up its sleeve. It will be interesting to see how the match between Xiaomi Tech and HTC will proceed.