Germany's three leading mobile operators will start selling the HTC Touch smartphone from end-June — earlier than Apple's (AAPL) iPhone, which the HTC Touch hopes to rival.

Taiwan's High Tech Computer Corp., which makes the HTC Touch, said on Friday its touchscreen phone would retail for a recommended 450 euros ($599) if sold without a contract.

Apple plans to start selling its much-hyped iPhone in the United States for $500 or $600, depending on the amount of memory it contains, from June 29.

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It eventually plans to sell the iPhone in Europe and Japan but has not announced specific dates or prices. AT&T (T) is the only operator with rights to sell the iPhone in the United States, and the phone will also be available in Apple stores.

HTC said T-Mobile (DT) would sell a version of the HTC Touch — which has an integrated media player and is based on Microsoft (MSFT) software — under the brand MDA Touch.

Vodafone (VOD) will bring out a co-branded version designed jointly with HTC, while O2 (TEF) Germany will sell another version branded Xda nova.

The HTC Touch will come with 1 gigabyte of memory for storing video, music and photos — enough for about 250 tunes — compared with the iPhone's 4 or 8 gigabytes.

HTC has begun selling the HTC Touch in Taiwan and Britain and will extend that to the United States later this month.

It has sold a better-than-expected 60,000 of the phones so far this month and JPMorgan expects it should be able to ship 2 million between July and December.