HTC announces Droid DNA with full HD screen

Smartphone will be available in the U.S. through Verizon Wireless starting at $199

HTC and Verizon Wireless on Tuesday announced the Droid DNA smartphone, which comes with Android 4.1 and a 5-inch high-definition display that the company said is the most advanced in the market today.

The Droid DNA display can show images at a 1920 by 1080 pixel resolution, at 440 pixels by inch (PPI). That beats the iPhone 5, which has a 326 ppi display, and Samsung's Galaxy S III, which has 306 ppi. The display has a Gorilla Glass 2 outlay for extra ruggedness.

The LTE-compatible smartphone has specifications similar to the HTC's J Butterfly smartphone, which was announced in October for the Japanese market. The Droid DNA has a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 quad-core processor and weighs 140 grams.

The Droid DNA will be available through Verizon Wireless in the U.S on Nov. 21 starting at US$199 with a two-year contract.

Screen resolutions are getting denser with new generations of smartphones and tablets. Google and Samsung late last month announced the Nexus 10 tablet with a 10-inch screen that can display images at a 2560-by-1600 pixel resolution. Apple's recently announced fourth-generation iPad with a 9.7-inch screen with a screen resolution of 2048 by 1536 pixels.

The Droid DNA was called a "phablet," or a device that includes smartphones and tablet features, in a blog entry by Qualcomm. Some other devices in the phablet category include Samsung's Galaxy Note II, which has a 5.3-inch screen.

At 440 ppi, the Droid DNA gives 25 percent more pixels than the average smartphone with an HD display, wrote Qualcomm's Francisco Cheng, a technical marketing communications manager, in the entry.

"It's how HDTVs are gauged, by rocking that 1080p moniker, and the Droid DNA will do no less by delivering similar picture quality on a smartphone," Cheng wrote.

The Droid DNA is intended to be a multimedia powerhouse, HTC said in a statement. The smartphone has an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 2.1-inch front camera. Other features include wireless charging, Beats Audio speakers for better sound quality and NFC (near-field communications) for mobile payments and multimedia file sharing.

The smartphone also has 2GB of RAM, and storage information was not immediately available. The device offers long battery life with a 2,020 mAh (milliamp-hour) battery and power saving software features.

HTC has launched a range of new phones, including the Windows Phone 8X and 8S smartphones will have 4.3-inch screens and 4-inch screens respectively. The smartphones will support LTE and run Microsoft's latest Windows Phone 8 OS. The 8X and 8S will be available starting this month through 150 mobile operators in 50 countries, including AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile in the U.S.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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