HTC Tattoo gets official

After the days of speculation and leaked images, HTC has finally announced its first budget Android phone.

Announced Tuesday, the HTC Tattoo is the company’s fourth smartphone to use Google’s Android mobile operating system and the second Android handset to use HTC Sense, the company’s own user interface (UI). The UI is designed to let people create their own home pages with the most important data up front, whether a quick link to Facebook, contact lists or more, plus additional screens for different aspects of life such as work, play and family.

The keen eyed will have noticed the absence of Google branding,so it is not a Google Experience device but HTC Tattoo comes with integrated Google Services, including Google Maps, Google Mail and Android Market access.

The 3G (third generation mobile telecommunications) smartphone sports a 2.8-inch touchscreen, 3.2-megapixel camera, digital compass, FM radio, 3.5mm audio jack and MicroSD card slot to add more storage capacity to the 512MB on board. Aside from 3G mobile phone signals, the handset works with Wi-Fi 802.11b/g wireless and Bluetooth.

The smartphone will be available in Europe at the beginning of October and then roll out in other markets around the world in following months, HTC said in a statement.

The expansion into the low end is critical for Android, which so far has focused on mid-range and premium smartphones. The decision has left Android struggling to fight against lower-end smartphones, particularly the 8GB iPhone 3G. HTC’s venture should also lead to exposure on more carriers than the handful that have signed up so far, such as T-Mobile or Vodafone.

Price information was not immediately available.

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