HTC has been in the Android game since day one. They experienced the smartphone market in its infancy, and have been able to watch closely as it evolved. Looking at the line of Android phones that HTC has released, it’s pretty clear that the company has managed to evolve right alongside the smartphone. They entered the Android ecosystem led by Google, building devices based on their suggestions. When the competition began to rise, HTC quickly decided that it was important to brand their handset experience. As HTC evolved so did their brand, becoming a lifestyle choice, until we arrive in New York City today as HTC took the stage to unveil the Rezound.The HardwareVerizon Wireless customers who have long since enjoyed the HTC Incredible will be coming off contracts soon, to be greeted by the Incredible’s mature, sexier friend. As the Incredible was released as an obvious competitor to the Nexus One, so too it seems the Rezound is the answer to the Galaxy Nexus. Packing a 720p display just like the Galaxy Nexus, but at a smaller 4.3-inch form factor means a greater pixel density than any other phone out there. 1.5Ghz dual core processor and 1GB of RAM will give most Honeycomb tablets a run for their money, with LTE on board for that extra speed when surfing. The 8MP camera supports HDR photos as well as instant capture and panorama built in (where have we heard this before?). 16GB of onboard storage vs 16 GB of removable storage is pretty standard fare for most HTC devices right now, though the ability to drop a 32GB microSD card in there is still a feature many users still hold dear.This is mostly conjecture, but it was rumored that HTC, Samsung, and maybe one or two others sent devices to Google as their “bid” to be the next Nexus device. We know now that Samsung was the winner of that bid. The similarities when it comes to hardware are far too close together to be a coincidence, especially considering none of HTC or Samsung’s competitors have devices that even come close. I would not be surprised to discover that the HTC Rezound was, in a past life, a Nexus hopeful. The Rezound was announced to be “Ice Cream Sandwich ready”, meaning the update will come out early next year once the HTC engineers have shoehorned Sense overtop of it.The BrandWith the partnership of Beats by Dre, HTC phones became more than just phones. HTC possessed a complete package of software, hardware, and now the “X Factor” that only one other smartphone maker has. By distinguishing themselves as a lifestyle choice and not “just a phone”, HTC created the only Android handset that can actually compete with the iPhone’s personality. HTC isn’t selling phones anymore, they are selling personalized personal electronics. The end result for all of this is to turn the Rezound into a status symbol, much like the iPhone.During the press conference today, more time was spent talking about the brand than anything else. CEO Peter Chou noted that HTC had gone from being a niche device manufacturer to the inventor of personal devices. HTC is the first Taiwanese company ever to be named one of the top 100 global brands, and they are still an extremely young company compared to many of the other names on that list. Bringing Beats into the equation allowed them the opportunity to give the device a soul. Interscope Records CEO and Beats partner Jimmy Iovine took the stage and told this compelling story about how the only way to keep the music industry alive was to convince the technology companies that they needed each other.With Beats, they are able to wield their many years in the music industry as a resume behind the notion that $0.99 headphones included with your smartphone destroy music. The Rezound was described several times on stage today as having “Music at its heart and soul”, a notion I am sure will travel into commercials and advertisements when the phone comes out.Final ThoughtsThe Rezound is a great device in the hand. It’s lighter than HTC’s last LTE device by orders of magnitude. It’s got an undeniable sexiness from its curves all the way down to its unique red glowing soft keys. HTC assures us that the device is Ice Cream Sandwich ready, and to expect the phone to be updated early next year. In the mean time, the phone will hit shelves at $299.99 on November 14th, a couple of weeks before the Galaxy Nexus is rumored to be hitting the states. Without a doubt, the Rezound will be a contended for Verizon’s holiday lineup.