HTC sets its Hero free!

In an unexpected and possibly last-minute twist HTC has sidestepped all carriers and all networks and will offer its new Hero and Tattoo smartphones for outright sale unlocked through mass market retailer Harvey Norman.

Earlier information indicated that Optus or one of its network-sharing partners would have the exclusive on both Android-powered handsets but in what appears to have been a relatively last-minute change HTC has gone direct to the market.

“We just wanted to get these handsets out there” Anthony Petts HTC’s ANZ Director of Sales and Marketing told APC. Petts said that carrier deals are still under discussion.

“Further distribution channels will be announced in due course. We’re continuing to discuss (the Hero and Tattoo) with operators but there’s nothing that I can say the the moment.”

This is the first time that HTC has taken
the retail-only path with all of its previous smartphones offered
through at least one carrier.

Customers will be able to buy the Hero from Harvey Norman for $799 “by the end of November or early December” with the more consumer-oriented Tattoo available “a few weeks after that” for $599.

The handsets can then be used with the customer’s desired network – either for the best network coverage or the carrier which offers the best deal.

However given that the Hero covers only 2100MHz and 900MHz as 3G HSDPA bands this rules out Telstra’s Next G network.

Customers of 3 can use the Hero and Tattoo on 3’s primary but limited-coverage 2100MHz network while customers of Optus and Vodafone can tap into both carriers’ primary 2100MHz and regional 900MHz networks.