Facebook-friendly HTC Wildfire debuts

Following the luke-warm response to the Tattoo, HTC is further looking to bolster its presence in the low to mid-end Android marketplace with the launch of the HTC Wildfire due for release in Europe, Q3 2010.

The phone gets a 3.2-inch, QVGA capacitive touchscreen, 5-megapixel camera with LED flash, optical joystick, a 3.5mm headphone jack on top and 1300mAh battery, so basically all the bells and whistles you'd expect from a modern HTC handset. In terms of processor you'll get a Qualcomm 528MHz, so the same as the Hero, and it's got connectivity and sensors aplenty including Wi-Fi and GPS.

Unlike the Hero (at least until June) the Wildfire will sport the Android 2.1 operating system cloaked in the HTC Sense user interface.

This phone has sharing at its core, as the Wildfire enables you to recommend an application to other Android users by email, text message or over social networks via a new app sharing widget.

HTC's Friend Stream application also gathers and displays content from social networks, and the Wildfire's address book allows for threading of recent calls and texts with people. This social integration is topped off nicely by way of the HTC caller ID displays your friends' Facebook profile photo and latest update when they call.

When asked about the similarities between the Wildfire and HTC's previous mass-market Android device, the HTC Tattoo, Eric Lin, HTC's global PR and online community manager said "It doesn't matter how affordable a phone is, if it isn't designed right it won't be popular", and in further reference to the Tattoo he continued "it was a learning experience for us".

At first glance then the Wildfire looks like it could go down a storm with its younger target market with an affordable price point being high on the agenda, a range of colours (HTC brown, black, white and red) and enough functionality to keep the youth happy.

And as for the name? It's been chosen through a method of crowdsourcing in which HTC invited visitors to its Facebook fan page to vote on what it should call the forthcoming handset. Other contenders were the HTC Zeal, HTC Festi and HTC Jovi.

When we have pricing and a firm release date we'll be sure to let you know, but for now check out our HTC Wildfire photo gallery.

UPDATE: Virgin Media and T-Mobile have confirmed they will be stocking the handset. T-Mobile says it will be in stores from the 14 June.