HTC launches three new smartphones

It isn’t officially an update to Google’s Nexus One, but HTC’s new Desire handset looks awfully like it.

Like the Nexus One, it runs on Android 2.1, boasts a 3.7-inch AMOLED touchscreen, has a five-megapixel camera and is based on the 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset.

But it adds an optical joystick and FM radio, along with an updated version of HTC’s Sense user interface that improves social networking capabilities and contact management. it also allows the user to jump between screens by pinching the display.

Also new is the HTC Legend, which also comes with Android 2.1, optical joystick and 320 x 480-pixel AMOLED screen but, unusually, has a forged aluminum casing. Like the Desire, it includes FriendStream, which aggregates social network data and displays it intuitively.

And there’s a new Windows Mobile 6.5 phone, too, the HD Mini, which resembles the HD2 but, as its name implies, is pretty small, with a 3.2 passive touchscreen.

All three will be available in March in Europe and Asia, but there’s no word on US availability.

HTC also says it will release phones based on Windows Phone Series 7 later this year.

“Windows Phone 7 Series is a significant milestone for Microsoft, the industry and ultimately people looking to do more on their phones,” said Peter Chou, chief executive officer of HTC Corporation. “HTC is working closely with Microsoft to bring the unique HTC experience that customers love.”