The HTC Explorer is an entry-level Android device for those looking to take their first tentative steps toward smartphone ownership.

Befitting its "my first smartphone" status, it offers up a 3.2-inch display with 480 x 320 pixels, 600MHz processor and 512MB of RAM.

But this phone isn't about raw hardware specs. Sitting lower down the scale than the Wildfire S, the HTC Explorer is designed to help first timers find their way with smartphones, hence the name, but there's no avoiding the truth of its codename - HTC Pico. For those interested in HTC history, it really replaces the HTC Smart.

The phone comes with a tactile finish around the back so it won't slide out of your hand when you whip it out of your pocket. Also on the back you'll find a 3-megapixel camera, which offers up some of HTC's fancy shooting modes, with video coming in at 720 x 480 pixels. 

This being an Android smartphone, running Android 2.3.5, it offers Flash video support, although the display isn't going to be the best for consuming video on the move.

The HTC Explorer also finds itself with a new version of HTC Sense, v3.5, and offers a lighter take on Sense, similar to what we saw on the HTC Rhyme. This includes a homescreen which is much less cluttered thanks to a new shortcut widget, but otherwise offers the connected social network experience of Android, including the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

In terms of software, the HTC Explorer will also get a data monitor app, so you can keep track of your PAYG data. There will be a range of HTC Explorer covers, including metallic blue, metallic orange, metallic white and metallic purple, so you can change the colour of your phone to your preference. 

We've already had our hands on the HTC Explorer, albeit very briefly and it appeared solid enough, with respectable build quality and seemed responsive to our quick exploratory pokes. Of course, we'll be bringing you a full run of HTC Explorer pictures and first impressions when we get the chance to see the phone again.

Pocket-lint has heard from both Vodafone and Three, who both state that they'll be stocking the HTC Explorer "soon".