By Patrick Avenell

SYNDEY, NSW: One thing that has stood out so far in 2011 is how many smartphone launches there have been. This category is clearly the most competitive in terms of fighting for reviews, news stories and PR, with much of the greater public’s consideration of which smartphone to buy influenced by how the release is reported.

Mobile phone stories are the most read on this website, with visitors hungry for whatever info they can receive. The most common question we receive about new smartphones is ‘what telcos will it be available on?’

A lot of new handsets are released on all three, such as the iPhone and the original Samsung Galaxy. Some of most desired models, however, receive exclusive distribution. For example, the HTC Desire was exclusive to Telstra, the Desire HD was only with Vodafone and the HTC Incredible S was an Optus exclusive.

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Next week, HTC will release the Desire S and the Wildfire S. This launch will be co-chaired by Telstra, which is a good indication that these devices will be exclusive to Telstra.

We asked HTC for an insight into how the telco decisions were made. We were also interested to know whether HTC had considered selling their handsets unlocked through retail channels.

“HTC considers each device on its own merits from a retail and distribution perspective,” said an HTC spokesperson. “We work very closely with the Australian carriers and their retail networks to deliver the best possible customer user experience through the deep integration of unique carrier services on our devices.

“That said, we wouldn’t rule out a direct retail sales strategy for a future device.”

On the topic of how HTC chooses which carrier to release their handsets, the spokesperson said that features of the handset play a part in this decision.

“Over the last few years, HTC has worked closely with both carriers and retailers to launch numerous devices into the Australian market.

“HTC always considers different market strategies dependent on each handset’s key features and the target segment.

“At the end of the day, we consider the retail strategy as an integral part of providing the best possible user experience.”

Next week, will be attending the launches of the Desire S and Wildfire S from HTC and the Samsung Galaxy S II. If you have any questions for these two suppliers about the handsets or their telco strategy, get in touch with the author of this article on Twitter.