Telstra rushes out the HTC Desire

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Telstra rushes out the HTC Desire

UPDATE: Telstra gets six months exclusivity.

Telstra has rushed out the HTC Desire handset one week early as a surge of buyers look to overseas retailers to buy the Android-based device.

The device, originally scheduled for release on April 27 under a deal that saw Telstra retain exclusive Australian rights to the handset for three months, was suddenly announced as being available today.

Telstra also announced that it had re-negotiated with HTC and would now have exclusive rights to the device for six months rather than three.

Featuring a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor and 3.7 inch WVGA touch screen display, the device has caught the eye of many gadget geeks. There are over 4,500 threads in a single post titled "Getting HTC Desire to Australia" on the Whirlpool broadband forum. The same site counts at least 50 Australian customers that have already ordered the device from UK retailers.

HTC has confirmed that Australian retailers will now have to wait six months before they can sell the device alongside Telstra.

A representative for HTC Australia had previously warned that Australian customers would not be unwise to import their own devices.

"HTC Australia does not provide local warranty for HTC phones purchased overseas, or for grey imports," a spokesman for HTC Australia told iTnews earlier this month.

"Any phone presented for service or repair at any HTC-authorised service centre in Australia will be checked to see which country they originate from.

HTC warned buyers should "only buy phones from authorised local distributors and partners."

The only authorised distributor for the next six months is Telstra.

A spokesperson for Telstra warned that some grey imported handsets will not work on Telstra's Next G network. He said that the grey imports had "zero" impact on Telstra's early release beyond being indicative of the device's popularity.

"Telstra is selling the Desire at a really competitive price point and we think most Telstra customers will want to buy locally,"  he said. "However, we understand that some international online retailers may offer the smartphone at a marginally lower price. Beyond saving a few dollars, there are some significant drawbacks to purchasing online and overseas.

"First, when you purchase a smartphone from a telco in Australia, it comes backed up with a local network of shops and dealers who can provide support if anything goes wrong. Also there may be warranty implications. Second, we do a lot of work preparing our mobiles to run smoothly with our Next G network. This includes enhancements to the network access component of the device to ensure the best possible data throughput speeds (think fast web browsing) and the best possible coverage performance (think more bars on your handset in more coverage areas)."

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