New HTC Desire handset codenamed Proto in the works

Exclusive: we've got all the specs for HTC's next mid-ranger and it's rocking both Ice Cream Sandwich and a tasty price

HTC promised not to make cheap smartphones anymore back in June – but we've just discovered details of a mid-range, mid-priced Desire handset that looks set to join the Desire C (formerly known as the HTC Golf and pictured above) in almost-as-good-as-the-One-V territory.

So while the small but perfectly formed (and five-star) HTC One V gives us excellent specs without breaking the bank, with the Desire range, HTC's aiming to keep prices below £30 a month without turning out budget phones.

According to our anonymous HTC source, the next Desire phone for 2012 – codenamed the HTC Proto – will run on a dual-core 1GHz processor with 768 MB of RAM also under the hood and 4GB of usable memory on board. The Proto's 4in LCD screen will better the Desire C's 3.5in display for size and also gets a resolution bump up to 480x800.

The Proto will run Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box, skinned unsurprisingly with Sense 4.0 – one of the better Android skins we've used, which looks gorgeous on the HTC One X and One S.

Weighing in at just 114g, the Proto should make other mid-range offerings including the likes of the Nokia Lumia 610 and LG's Optimus L7, feel heavy by comparison – and though the Proto won't be the thinnest out there, at 9.3mm thick it'll have nothing to be ashamed of.

Details on the Proto's design have yet to be revealed (that's a photo of the Desire C above) but HTC will need room for a respectable 1,650mAh battery, a microSIM card and a microSD slot all noted by our tipster. The Proto will also come with the obligatory Beats Audio and Bluetooth skills, plus a 5MP rear camera with LED flash and an f2.0 aperture lens. WVGA video recording and a lack of a forward facing camera are a little disappointing when compared to the 720p smarts of other mid-range handsets.

There's no specifics on a SIM free price just yet but it looks like the HTC Proto will be available for between £15 and £25 a month when it's released later this year.

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