On Friday AT&T showed off the HTC Aria, and today they’ve gone official with an announcement, alongside a cheap texter from Pantech called the Ease.The HTC Aria runs Android 2.1, comes with a 5 megapixel camera, 3.2″ HVGA display, Wi-Fi, GPS, and HSPA 3G, but the most impressive thing about this phone has got to be the size. The first time we saw it was side-by-side with a business card, putting it in a class on par with the Sony Ericsson X10 Mini or Acer e110.
The Pantech Ease is a little more straightforward: 3.2″ touchscreen, 3G, GPS, 2 megapixel camera, and a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The key feature here is that you can switch the Pantech Ease from a simplified to an advanced interface, depending on your level of expertise. The press release targets the elderly pretty specifically, but there’s a whole generation of technically-illeterate moms out there who would appreciate this just as much. Easy mode sounds like a good way to sell the same device to a broader audience, but a system like this might be better served with a proper smartphone, which has significantly more functions that could overwhelm a casual user.
The HTC Aria will be going for $129.99 on contract, and the Pantech Ease for $69.99 after rebates, both available on June 20.
Press releases after the jump!
AT&T* and HTC Corporation (“HTC”) today announced that HTC Aria™, a rich and powerful addition to AT&T’s Android smartphone portfolio, will be available exclusively at AT&T beginning June 20. Pocket-sized and packing the power of the Android 2.1 platform, a five megapixel camera and a bright 3.2 inch HVGA display, HTC Aria offers AT&T customers Android smartphone functionality in an amazingly easy-to-carry design. The combination of 3G speed, a responsive capacitive touch screen and an optical joystick makes HTC Aria an ideal smartphone for mobile broadband.
HTC Aria is Wi-Fi capable and qualifying customers will receive access to AT&T Wi-Fi, with more than 20,000 hotspots across the U.S. In addition, HTC Aria is compatible with AT&T’s High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 7.2 Mbps technology. This technology provides a considerable boost to 3G speeds when combined with expanded backhaul. The combination of faster wireless networks, smartphones like HTC Aria, and tens of thousands of available innovative mobile apps allows AT&T customers to mobilize virtually everything, from video and music, to social networking, to business applications.
“HTC Aria is the first of several smartphones in our Android portfolio to run the 2.1 platform,” said Jeff Bradley, senior vice president, Devices, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “When you combine the nation’s fastest 3G network, and access to the nation’s largest Wi-Fi network, HTC Aria will be one of the best Android smartphones available.”
HTC Aria features the acclaimed HTC Sense experience, which automatically delivers the most-wanted information by bringing it to the forefront of the mobile experience. Featuring the latest version of HTC Sense, HTC Aria offers even more ways to stay connected, including Friend Stream, which delivers Facebook, Twitter and Flickr updates in a single, consolidated view.
“Its unique combination of compact size and beautiful design instantly separates HTC Aria from the pack of ‘me-too’ smartphones,” said Jason Mackenzie, vice president of HTC America. “But what really differentiates HTC Aria from other smartphones is the acclaimed HTC Sense experience, which we are pleased to be bringing to AT&T customers. By putting people at the center of everything it does, HTC Aria organizes all of your communications in the most human way possible – by person.”
A full selection of the newest and most popular Google services can be accessed with HTC Aria. This includes Google search, Google Maps, Google Navigation, Gmail, YouTube and more. With Android Market, customers can also choose from more than 50,000 applications to further personalize the mobile experience.
Along with being ultra-small at just over 4 inches long and weighing a mere 4.05 ounces, HTC Aria’s seamless wrap-around soft-touch back cover eliminates sharp edges, making HTC Aria exceptionally convenient to carry and comfortable to hold as well.
Featuring the best selection of smartphones and OS, AT&T is ranked #1 in customer satisfaction among smartphone owners. AT&T plans to expand its Android portfolio to include other Android smartphones during the second half of 2010.
Pricing and Availability
HTC Aria will be available on June 20 at AT&T retail locations nationwide or at http://www.att.com/wireless for $129.99 after $100 mail-in rebate (pay $229.99 and after mail-in rebate receive $100 AT&T Promotion Card. Two-year agreement required and smartphone data plan required).
For the complete array of AT&T offerings, visit www.att.com
For experienced mobile phone users, the ins and outs of wireless devices are second nature, but for some, ease-of-use is paramount. AT&T* today announced the Pantech Ease, the first quick messaging phone from AT&T with menus and features designed for users who seek simplicity in their wireless device. With a large and comfortable touchscreen, Ease will be available for new and existing AT&T customers online at www.wireless.att.com and in AT&T stores nationwide June 20.
Ease is the latest offering in AT&T’s focused initiative to deliver a streamlined mobile experience. The handset is also the first simplicity-centric phone to feature a full keypad and touchscreen to keep customers better connected with family and friends. With the original Pantech Breeze having launched in 2008, the Pantech Breeze II in May 2010 and now Ease, AT&T is committed to customers who want the latest technology in a convenient form.
“Ease emphasizes our commitment to meeting the needs of all AT&T customers,” said Jeff Bradley, senior vice president, Devices, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “The first quick messaging phone targeted for simplicity seekers, it fulfills our goal to create a highly functional device for everyone – from children to great-grandparents.”
Ease’s uncluttered design contributes to its straightforward user experience. Ease offers a bright 3.2” full touch screen display, a full keyboard, intuitive menus – all at an affordable price. And, while it is easy to use, Ease is not just a basic phone. The handset can also be switched from Easy mode to Advanced mode for a more traditional quick messaging user experience with a quick settings change. Customers of all types may enjoy the Easy mode, especially seniors.
“The seniors market remains a significant opportunity for the operators to expand their businesses. But as iGR’s research has found, the challenge is to provide a solution that meets the specific needs of the seniors with sufficient functions and capabilities yet is easy to use and intuitive, ” said Iain Gillott, president of iGR, a market research consultancy focused on the wireless and mobile industry. “Our research has shown that seniors primarily want to make calls, to send and receive photos in text messages, to get driving directions and to read their email. And they want an attractive design that would make their family members envious – the Pantech Ease, with an easy-to-use interface developed collaboratively by AT&T and Pantech and attractive yet senior-friendly form factor, seems to address those needs squarely. ”
Ease will be compatible with AT&T’s High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 7.2 Mbps technology. This technology provides a considerable boost to the nation’s fastest 3G network when combined with expanded backhaul.
”AT&T customers have come to rely on Pantech’s ability to create phones that meet their unique lifestyle needs,” said Jim Berridge, vice president of sales and marketing, Pantech Wireless. “Ease is a phone that incorporates the latest customer requests – a touch screen – yet does so in a manner which is easy to use. We have a winner with Ease and we’re confident that customers will be impressed with both the design and functionality of this handset.”
Ease takes into account user experience design principles to ensure an easy-to-use experience.
* Streamlined, Targeted Menu – Navigating the phone’s features is straightforward with the Easy Mode, which minimizes scrolling and highlights the features customers want to access most.
* Large Font – Ease uses a highly visible large font. Additionally, users can increase or minimize the font of received messages with either touch or physical zoom in or out keys.
* Easy-to-Use Buttons – Well spaced, backlit buttons on the device respond with a tactile click when pressed, and remain illuminated while in use. Specialized buttons such as the Quick Contact key provide easy access to top 3 contacts and voicemail and the “Say A Command” key allows a user to make a call, start a text or open an application with their voice.
* Camera – Activated from the home screen menu or with the dedicated camera key on the side of the phone, the 2-megapixel camera with 7x zoom can quickly switch between picture taking and video recording, allowing users to capture life’s moments as they happen and share them easily with family and friends.
* Specialized Tools – The Ease comes with a number of specialized apps to make the users’ life easier. Users can track their steps and see up to a seven-day history with Pedometer. Readout mode audibly announces callers, text message senders and reads out text message text and Voice Mode allows users to dictate a message instead of typing it.
In Easy Mode, the Ease also boasts quick access to:
* AT&T Mobile Browser – combines full HTML browsing with unique customization features so customers can easily surf the Internet; view location-aware local news and weather; and read the latest headlines from popular news, sports and entertainment sites.
* AT&T Navigator – offers turn-by-turn voice and onscreen driving directions, automatic rerouting, real-time traffic monitoring and more. AT&T Navigator is available for $9.99 per month, and new subscribers receive their first 30 days of their subscription for free.
* AT&T Address Book – syncs contacts to an online address book so customers can access and manage their mobile contacts from their handset — or their PC. There is no additional charge to use AT&T Address Book.
Ease will be available at AT&T retail stores nationwide and online at www.wireless.att.com on June 20 for $69.99 (Pay $119.99 and after mail-in rebate receive $50 AT&T Promotion Card. Two year service agreement and a minimum $20 messaging or combination of messaging and data plans required.)
For the complete array of AT&T offerings, visit www.att.com.