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HTC Touch – iPhone spoiler arrives?


So I went to the HTC Touch mobile phone launch yesterday. Mmm… Question: what are the odds that two companies separated by thousands of miles come up with an incredibly similar navigation interface which works by stroking the screen with a finger? 10 to 1? 1000 to 1? More? Well you’re wrong. It’s a total coincidence, at least that’s what HTC CEO Peter Chou told me when I asked him directly. His version of events is that none of his team have ever seen the Apple iPhone, his company has been working on the new phone for 2 years and there’s no way that they could have copied the iPhone interface in less than 6 months anyway. So there you have it, straight from the mouth of The Man. And we believe him, don’t we chillen? Nice product overview here.

Anyway here’s some stuff about the phone you won’t read most places…

  • It’s very cool looking in the flesh. Super slim, minimalist interface, 3 buttons front side, 2 megapixel camera lens back side. Smooth black body (or dark green?) with nice large 2.8 inch screen.
  • Did we mention slim? It’s really really slim.
  • Forget about the touch screen, it’s the iPhone type slide-touch stuff that they want you to focus on (HTC call it TouchFlo). Slide your finger across the screen from one end to the other to get a new menu, press finger to select. In general this is a nice feature….except
  • One of the major uses of a phone, SMS texting, is made incredibly cumbersome because there’s no large sized number/text pad available for it on-screen (only for dialing). So you either have to risk clumsy thumb errors with a small on-screen keypad, or use a stylus to hunt and peck. Sloppy and stoopid.
  • Windows really does suck as a phone O/S. Really. This is Mobile 6.0 Pro and it’s as slow and clunky as ever (35 seconds to power up the phone – huh?). I’ve hung it once already, and it can take up to 3 seconds to move menus, plus the overall ease of use for most of the functionality is a sad joke. Luckily the main functions of making a call and taking a photo are easily accessible.
  • It is currently refusing to save any photos for me. Bug or feature?
  • Battery life is not awful. I can’t say it’s great either because I’ve only used it for a bit of Wi-Fi and a call or two, but it’s still on 54% after 19 hours. Is that good for a Windows phone?

Is it an iPhone killer? Nope. Unless of course the iPhone turns out to be completely pants, which I’m half expecting anyway. This is just a standard, slimline, 2.5G Windows Smartphone with a limited function touch screen interface slapped on top in a hurry. However since it’s priced aggressively at around £299.00 (i.e. probably £100 or less with call plan) it should find a reasonable market.


  • Regarding similar motions on a touchscreen.

    Pretty much anyone who programs touchscreens for a living, has come up with the same gestures… for at least the past 25 years, and probably longer.

    The difference is, Apple actually let the touchscreen programmers have their fun, instead of requiring the UI to also work with just hardware buttons as you might find on smaller touchless phones.

    So the way to make Window Mobile more like the iPhone, would be to simplify the requirements.

  • Ah, yes I see what you mean, Kevin. Makes sense. I suppose it’s things like the zooming of photos with the fingers etc, that really mark the difference between a limited touch UI (HTC) and a proper one (Apple)?

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