HTC might not be officially saying it, but the Taiwanese company has just announced the release of an Android phone that is clearly marketed at women, or more specifically, teenage girls. The HTC Rhyme is a compact, purple Android phone with a 3.7-inch touchscreen, mid-range specifications and an optional accessory that most will cringe at: a "charm" that glows when you receive a call or text message.
HTC has not directly stated that the Rhyme is intended for females, but it's hard to argue otherwise once you check all the facts. For starters, the HTC Rhyme is emblazoned in a deep purple colour called "plum". It's also available in white with silver accents, but HTC's marketing department is clearly betting on purple: the white coloured Rhyme doesn't appear as much as its purple counterpart in HTC's marketing material.
It's not just the colour of the Rhyme that makes it a feminine phone — that's been left to an optional accessory called the HTC Rhyme Charm. The charm attaches to the phone and is designed to dangle out of a handbag or purse, emitting a soft glow when you receive a call or text message. Try marketing that to a male audience.
To be fair HTC will sell a few optional accessories with the Rhyme that aren't gender specific. A docking station with built-in speakers attempts to turn the Rhyme into an alarm clock and there's also a wireless Bluetooth speaker for the car that clips to your sun visor, a Bluetooth headset in matching plum colour, and a workout armband for the gym. The included headphones also match the Rhyme's colour scheme and HTC says they're tangle-free, too. It's a solid list of accessories that not too many other Android phones can match.
Aside from its flashy coat of paint and unique accessories, the HTC Rhyme is a similar phone to the Desire S. It has the same 3.7-inch capacitive touchscreen, is powered by the same single-core 1GHz processor and has the same 768MB of RAM. However, the Rhyme boasts 4GB of internal memory compared to the Desire S's paltry 1.1GB.
The HTC Rhyme has a microSD card slot for extra storage and dual-cameras: a 5-megapixel camera on the rear and a front facing VGA camera for video calls. In an interesting design choice, HTC has followed Apple's lead by opting for a non removable battery.
The HTC Rhyme runs the latest Android 2.3 operating system, but its HTC's Sense UI overlay that's of more interest. The latest version is Sense 3.5 and once again HTC has added some minor features. These include an updated clock widget on the home screen, a preview window that lets you view your most recent emails, photos, messages and apps, and 12 new wallpapers. HTC has also added some enhancements to the camera app: you can now snap images with face recognition and burst mode, as well as upload photos to Facebook automatically — this was a feature first introduced in HTC's ChaCha and Salsa Facebook phones.
HTC hasn't announced an Australian release date or pricing for the Rhyme, but it should hit our shores before the end of the year if it is released.