U.S. mobile operator Sprint is hoping to combat the popularity of the Apple iPhone (available exclusively on rival AT&T) with the HTC Touch, a smartphone with a 2.8-inch touch screen, Windows Mobile 6 email and application features, and access to Sprint’s high-speed data network. The phone is set to go on sale November 4 for $249.99, after a $100 mail-in rebate, with a two-year service agreement.
“Our customers appreciate the ability to have one device that seamlessly balances both personal needs and business demands,” said Sprint product development VP Danny Bowman, in a statement. “Touch by HTC is unlike any other wireless device because it brings together the power of Windows Mobile with easy access to our entertainment applications.”
The HTC Touch features the unique TouchFlo interface which enables users to navigate menus with a single finger sweep, while TouchFlo cube offers rapid switches to entertainment, communications, and a top-9 “dial by picture” photo caller ID screen. Being based on Windows Mobile 6 means the HTC Touch offers mobile versions of Microsoft’s Office application suite, as well as Outlook Mobile, Windows Live for Mobile, Internet Explorer, and Windows Media Player 10. (Users enter and edit information using an onscreen QWERTY keyboard.) The phone also supports a 2 megapixel camera, stereo Bluetooth wireless connectivity, and microSD storage—the phone will include a 512 MB card, although the phone supports cards with up the 8 GB capacity. And, of course, the phone also taps into Sprint’s menagerie of mobile content and data service offerings, including on-demand news, sports, weather, and entertainment; the Sprint Music Store; Sprint TV; and more than a dozen streaming radio stations.
The HTC Touch’s pricing puts it about $150 below the cost of the iPhone, and the device gets to tap into Sprint’s high-speed data network, rather than poke along on AT&T’s EDGE network for data services. However, unlike the iPhone, the HTC Touch does not come with WiFi capability, and where the iPhone comes with 8 GB of memory, users currently supply most of their own storage to use the Touch as a music player, or to store images or videos. Nonetheless, the Touch’s capability to tap into Exchange-based enterprise email systems may make it popular with corporate and enterprise customers. Interested customers can sign up now to be among the first to get their hands on the HTC Touch.