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HTC Touch Diamond snaps at iPhone's heels

Posted: 09 May 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:HTC Touch Diamond? 3G? Apple iPhone?

HTC's Touch Diamond goes one better than the iPhone by supporting faster 3G networks.

HTC Corp. this week launched a more powerful version of its popular Touch smart phone, hoping to lure consumers from better-known rivals such as Apple Inc.'s iPhone.

The Touch Diamond, which supports carriers' 3G broadband-like networks, includes features that focus on Web browsing and checking e-mail. The device, which runs on Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional, includes a 2.8-inch VGA touchscreen that the company claims provides near-print-quality viewing.

The smart phone's Web browser can zoom and pan Websites. In addition, turning the device sideways automatically rotates the page view from portrait to landscape. HTC has also developed its own YouTube application to watch video from the popular site. The software also optimizes the use of Google's mobile mapping service for accessing street maps and getting traffic data. Google owns YouTube.

3G edge
The Apple iPhone already has similar features to the Touch Diamond, but the latter goes one better by supporting faster 3G networks. Apple, however, is expected to add that feature in the next version of its iPhone, which analysts say is likely to ship this year.

The Touch Diamond is attracting attention, because of HTC's success with the original Touch smart phone, which the company launched in early June 2007. The company has sold 3 million units, making it a challenger to rivals such as Apple, which sold 5.7 million iPhones from its release last summer to the end of Q1.

The Touch Diamond weighs less than 4 ounces and includes a 3.2Mpixel camera. The device comes with 4Gbytes of storage, and supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless technologies. Talk time is up to 4hrs on a fully charged battery, according to HTC. Its size is roughly 4in x 2in x 0.4in.

HTC plans to offer the Touch Diamond through all major European carriers in June, and later this quarter in Asia and the Middle East. The device is scheduled to ship in North America and Latin America in the second half of the year.

Brand of its own
As a contract manufacturer for others, HTC is one of the biggest makers of Windows Mobile smart phones. The company, however, is also having success in building its own brand name. The company's profits last year increased 15 percent to $949.4 million on $3.8 billion in revenue, which was 13 percent higher than the previous year.

Besides making a Windows smart phone, HTC is taking part in Google's initiative to launch an open platform called Android. HTC CEO Peter Chou told The Wall Street Journal in a telephone interview that the company expects to release an Android-based phone in the second half of this year.

- Antone Gonsalves

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