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HTC Desire Z, with Qwerty keyboard and new HTC Sense, won't be on O2

The HTC Desire Z is announced, a Android 2.2 running smart phone that has come out of the blue, the first of a new generation of HTC smart phones with a Qwerty keyboard.

The rumours are true -- a version of the HTC Desire with a Qwerty keyboard is being launched, and it's got a Z in its name.

The phone that started the HTC Android revolution -- the G1 -- had a Qwerty keyboard, and it returns with the HTC Desire Z. A 'pop hinge' opens the phone up and reveals it. It has keyboard shortcuts and two customisable keys, so you can access functions without opening menus.

It's less powerful than the HTC Desire HD, offering a Qualcomm 7230 800MHz processor, and a 5-megapixel camera instead of 8. It will be capable of 720p video recording, but not with HD. A 3.7-inch Super LCD display is up front, and it will run out of the box with Android 2.2, not 2.1 as we had worried.

The HTC Desire HD and Z are expected in October for no more than £35 a month, but we're not sure about upfront costs. The Desire HD should be available on all networks excluding O2 (this is yet to be explained), while the HTC Desire Z will be available through Vodafone and other cross-network retailers.

There's also an updated version of HTC Sense, the user interface which overlays the Android OS of HTC smart phones. There's been work done on improving the camera experience, while there's a new mapping service called HTC Locations. It also has an integrated online reading experience with a new ebook store, and a new e-reader that allows you to annotate, highlight or quickly search for definitions.

And finally, a new service called has been introduced. This connects your smart phone to your PC, and allows you to manage things from both. For example, it allows you to locate a missing phone, get it to ring loudly even if it's on silent, lock it, forward calls and texts to a different phone, send a message to beg for its return and remotely wipe it.

Sounding very similar to the way MobileMe works with the iPhone, it also allows you to save contacts, texts and call history from a PC. You can also customise your phone with it.

So what do you think about a HTC Desire with a little keyboard action? Excited? Will you be getting it? We were at the launch earlier and we have a full hands-on preview right here.