Report: Telstra eyes new HTC Android phone

At CES, the Australian carrier touts the virtues of an Android-based gadget in the works, while finding the Palm Pre lacking, says <i>Smarthouse</i>.

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HTC, the company that made the G1 phone for T-Mobile, reportedly is working on a new Android-based touch-screen phone for Australian carrier Telstra.

The gadget-focused Smarthouse writes Monday it heard that word from a senior Telstra executive at the just-ended Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas:

Open Handset Alliance
The Open Handset Alliance is Google's rallying point for Android work. Open Handset Alliance

The new touch phone has been developed using a combination of the Google Android operating system and Linux based software written by HTC. The screen is believed to be bigger than current offerings from HTC.

Meanwhile, our colleagues at ZDNet Australia report that Telstra--and other Australian phone companies--aren't showing much interest in what's likely to be the country's first Android phone, the Kogan Agora. The Agora is scheduled to ship to buyers on January 29.

Telstra seems inclined to hedge its bets on Android gadgets. In November, Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo--in the company of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer--was somewhat dismissive of Google's phone technology: "My view is, (Android is) interesting, not compelling," Trujillo said. He also wondered aloud whether Google could follow through. "First generation, you make the sale. The question is when you get into the second, third, and fourth generation(s)," he said at the time.

According to Smarthouse, Telstra executives at CES took a look at the new Palm Pre, one of the highlights of the show, and found it lacking:

We have seen both and we believe that the new HTC phone will be a real competitor to the iPhone and the Pre which at this stage looks nice but is still not delivered to market.

Palm says that the Pre will become available in the first half of 2009. The phone offers Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a 3.1-inch display, GPS, 8GB of storage, and a slide-out keyboard. It runs Palm's own WebOS operating system.