HTC is a pretty established player in the smartphone market – it has been around for 10 years and is widely considered to be the market leader when it comes to Windows Mobile handsets, with a wide variety of designs available.
One problem that HTC have had is that fundamentally, all their phones are very similar. Yes – you can add 3G, WiFi, keyboards, touchscreens and even GPS and then mix the ingredients around, but underneath they’re all constrained somewhat by the fact that they run Windows.
So, the HTC Touch (codenamed the HTC Elf and also known as the HTC P3450) represents a new departure. Instead of supply the Touch with a standard Windows Mobile implementation, they’ve chosen to do something a little different. Using a technology called TouchFLOÃ¢â€žÂ¢, HTC have made the Touch very much easier to control with a finger rather than a stylus. The Touch automatically distinguished between a stylus and a finger – the user simply sweeps their finger across the display and the Touch comes up with an elegant interface that is specially optimised for this type of use. HTC say that it is “an animated, three-dimensional interface… the interface can be spun by swiping a finger right or left across the display.. TouchFLO also enhances finger touch scrolling and browsing of Web pages, documents, messages and contact lists”.
Looks familiar? Well, yes the Apple iPhone has a similar interface.. as does the LG Prada. This is the first time that we’ve seen such an interface on a Windows phone though.. and one advantage that the HTC Touch has over the competition will be its ability to run Windows Mobile application.
Underneath the snazzy interface, the HTC Touch is a Windows Mobile 6.0 smartphone with all the usual productivity and multimedia applications. It’s a tri-band 900/1800/1900 MHz GSM device with GPRS, EDGE, 802.11 b/g WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. The 240×320 pixel display is 2.8″ in size and can display in up to 65,000 colours. Internal memory is 64MB of RAM, and there is a 1GB microSD card in the standard sales package. On the back of the HTC Touch is a 2 megapixel camera.
It’s pretty compact for a smartphone, weighing just 112 grams and measuring 100 x 58 x 14mm. Talktime is a reasonable 5 hours with up to 8 days standy time. The HTC Touch is available in two colours – “elegant soft black” and the somewhat disturbing “alluring wasabi gree” combinations.
As well as demonstrating a new user front end, the HTC Touch is the first truly global HTC product as it is being sold under the HTC name for the first time in Asia. Orange will be offering the HTC Touch initially in the UK, France, the Netherlands and Spain, and later T-Mobile will have a variant called the T-Mobile MDA Touch for European customers.
Before tax and subsidy, the HTC Touch will cost around Ã¢â€šÂ¬430 / Ã‚Â£270 / $500. When taken with a new contract, many customers will get the phone for free. This is much cheaper than the frankly overpriced iPhone which is slated at being $500-$600 with a contract.. although the iPhone certainly has the edge on looks.