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Windows-Based iPhone Rival for Business Users 245

Posted by Zonk
from the anything-you-can-do-i-can-do-too dept.
MsManhattan writes "High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) has unveiled a touch-screen mobile device that offers many of the same features as the iPhone but with an emphasis on business applications vs. entertainment value. The HTC Touch is based on Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6 Professional OS and features a 2.8-inch touch screen offering access to emails, contacts and appointments. But unlike the iPhone, which will feature large internal flash memory capacity for music and movie storage, the HTC Touch offers a microSD drive, and a 1G-byte microSD card comes with the handset."
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Windows-Based iPhone Rival for Business Users

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  • Pictures! (Score:4, Funny)

    by jonnythan (79727) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:11PM (#19398153) Homepage
    No pictures or videos?

    Anyone else want to bet that the iPhone from Apple blows away this device from High Tech in the asthetics and user interface categories?

    I bet they name it something like "S360-X Pearl 1GB."
    • by Pojut (1027544)
      soooo.....what you are saying is they will name it something long and unoriginal, as opposed to something tired and old? Gotcha.
    • Re:Pictures! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by timeOday (582209) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:17PM (#19398301)
      What is the logic of positioning this new device as an iPhone competitor, anyways? Everybody and their dog makes a smartphone, and it's not as if Apple is an established leader in the market.
    • Re:Pictures! (Score:5, Informative)

      by ajanp (1083247) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:20PM (#19398369)
      Random Pics: HTC Touch [geek.com] iPHONE [gearlog.com]
      • Re:Pictures! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by p0tat03 (985078) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:31PM (#19398573)

        They STILL don't get it, do they?

        Look at that HTC Touch pic. See those two buttons on the bottom? This is proof conclusive, to me anyway, that these guys just don't get it. You have a touch screen for God's sake, why in the world are you still dealing with the "binary choice" UI of old phones? That is absolutely one thing I despise the most about current cell phone UI - they have all adopted the two-button interface. For every menu you are in, there are only ever two choices (unless you want to risk bringing up yet another menu). Sure, this is a limitation due to hardware, so why are we keeping it now that we have the freedom to allow the user to interact in ANY way with the device?

        • They are still constrained by requirements to run Windows Mobile...
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jimstapleton (999106)
          Many things require a "yes/no" answer, and more options, while nice, are silly. Sometimes it's nice to have a quick option that you can do by reflex.

          Example:

          "Save this phone number?"
          [yes][no]

          vs.

          "Save this phone number?"
          [yes][no][go to the apple website][go to the microsoft website][eat a burrito]
          • by p0tat03 (985078)

            Ah, but these binary-choice interfaces are very rarely "yes/no". More often than not they represent two most popular choices out of a much larger menu, except that this doesn't work nearly as well as it sounds when you've got menus were all items are equally used.

            Personally I have never seen a "yes/no" presented to me on a cell phone like that.

            Besides, if you have a touch screen, there's really no need for other buttons - that yes/no question you need answered can just be two big buttons on the screen.

        • Re:Pictures! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by zhenya00 (972438) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @01:20PM (#19399585)
          Well, for anyone who has actually ever tried to use a touch screen in cold weather, with wet or dirty hands, or while driving, there are a TON of reasons why physical buttons (or at least the option of a stylus) are better than a touch screen. This is one aspect of the iphone that I'm really interested to see shake out in the real world.
          • by swb (14022)
            I hate touch-sensative surfaces. While they're nice in theory and in some limited situations, they are nearly impossible to use without looking at them, there's no tactile feedback and they often promote mistouching.

            Its the one thing (besides the built-in obsolescence) that would totally keep me away from an iPhone. I want my buttons.
             
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by toleraen (831634)
          So what's your solution? How would you design the interface? The 'binary choice' UI is designed that way to conserve precious screen space. After you've added 7 (large) touch screen buttons, where are you going to put the content? Or would the 7 touch screen buttons show up when you activate them? How would you activate them, via a soft key? Many apps make use of the "tap and hold" context menu if you are using the touch screen, so you're not always forced to the two button UI.

          The 'common option' | '
    • by jamesl (106902)
      Initially there will be no direct competition -- the HTC will be sold only outside the US while the iPhone will be sold only within the US.
  • by virgil_disgr4ce (909068) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:14PM (#19398223) Homepage
    I'm going to reiterate what I said yesterday about the iPhone:

    It's not features that will make or break a smartphone device as the iPhone comes out, it's the ingenuity of the interface. Just because this has a touch-screen doesn't mean it's going to be a fraction as intuitive or usable for the average person. Windows Mobile is not a platform based on new ideas. --Ted
    • I must completely disagree here. The platform is mostly irrelevant

      I humbly point out my own blog entry [fishdan.com] on why, as a former Palm software engineer, I switched to the Cingular 8525 (the most modern HTC phone that's currently out), and definitely did NOT want the IPhone.

      Call me a hater, but it's all about functionality. Every interface is cumbersome when you are first exposed to it. Do the apple guys do it better than the windows guys? Sure. But honestly, I've been able to figure out how to do everything
      • by Reaperducer (871695) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @05:31PM (#19403741)

        Call me a hater
        OK, you're a hater. Or more accurately, as someone entrenched in a dying platform ("Palm software engineer") you don't understand that the world is moving on without you.

        you'd be crazy to buy a phone now that doesn't have 3G.
        Why? Most phones in people's hands right now aren't 3G. Most of the United States, where the iPhone will be released later this month doesn't have 3G service. Jobs has already said in front of hundreds of people that the 3G version will be next. It makes sense that it will coincide with the release of the European iPhone which (IIRC) is set for this fall. If 3G is such a necessity for you, wait six months and import one. Problem solved.

        if I want to make an mp3 into my ringtones, the 8525 says "go right ahead!" On the Iphone, you have to buy ringtones from ITMS.
        You must have gone from Palm engineer to Microsoft engineer, because this is pure FUD. Please provide documentation that shows that iPhone ringtones must be purchased from iTunes. The phone's not out, so you have no idea what it requires. Since the iPhone syncs with iTunes and iTunes handles non-ITMS music just fine, it's only logical to assume that I can use my already-ripped-from-CD-into-iTunes music as a ringtone. You have provided no convincing evidence to the contrary. You're just so used to a culture of vendor lock-in that you don't understand the Mac biosphere. Yes, there is a certain amount of lock-in with the hardware, but Apple is all about pioneering and implementation of standards. It's Verizon and the other legacy telcos that lock people out of the features of their phones (like Bluetooth) in order to extract money from them, not Apple.

        Find someone who has a 3G phone, and try using google maps for mobile with a super highspeed connection.
        Like the built-in WiFi that the iPhone has? We've all seen Jobs and others demoing Google Maps on the iPhone and it's slick. And the Google integration is specialized for the iPhone. Remember the location thingy? If you haven't watched the demo video, you should.

        SSH over 3G is pretty damn good.
        I SSH over GPRS every day. It's pretty damn good, too. You don't need broadband for text applications.

        I wanted to sync my address book and calendar from my device with my gmail account. Both WM5 and Google are open APIs! So I'm writing it (which means it will suck, but still). Apple does not to seem to want you to be able to do that.
        Again, the phone's not out. How do you know it can't? More accurately, how do you know that a month from now someone won't write an iSync plug-in that enables what you want? There are entire companies that specialize in this (The Missing Sync comes to mind). I'm not sure how you "seem" to know what Apple wants. Referencing my above point, Google appears to be interested in the iPhone. Maybe that interest expands beyond maps. I don't know. And neither do you.

        Windows Mobile Platform is MUCH more open than the IPhone.
        According to the New York Times, Apple is working on a way to allow developers to port their applications to the iPhone. I don't see how Windows is MUCH more open, other than the fact that it's had a five year head start.

        When I worked at Palm we worked HARD to court independent developers, who cranked out great apps for the Palm platform.
        Good for you. Do you want a cookie? Palm is worse than dead. It's a zombie that doesn't even know it's dead. I loved my original US Robotics Palm 1000. I loved my IIIe. I bought my wife an M100. But Palm stagnated. It's over. Get over it.

        when I think of the IPhone I think NO CARRIER.
        90% of the world doesn't know what "NO CARRIER" means anymore. We've all gone broadband. Most were born after the modem market shriveled up. You're just demonstrating that you're another Microsoft dinosaur that doesn't get it.
  • Picture (Score:5, Informative)

    by pubjames (468013) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:14PM (#19398247)
    Here you go [geek.com]
    • I wonder how many people in Paris are actually using Fahrenheit these days, anyways... aside from American tourists with fake iPhones, that is. ;)
      • I wonder how many people in Paris are actually using Fahrenheit these days, anyways... aside from American tourists with fake iPhones, that is. ;)

        A better question is if it will work at all in Paris ... or anywhere. The image is an obvious fake for all the reasons you mention and the incompatibility of US / EU phone systems. How about a picture of a real phone?

        • A better question is if it will work at all in Paris ... or anywhere. The image is an obvious fake for all the reasons you mention and the incompatibility of US / EU phone systems. How about a picture of a real phone?

          It's a GSM [wikipedia.org] phone. You know, GSM, the so-called Global System for Mobile communications... the main system in Europe, and on a number of US providers. As long as there is service on one of the GSM bands supported by the phone, it will work. My boss uses his Cingular (GSM) Treo 650 all over th
      • by AJWM (19027)
        I wonder how many people in Paris are actually using Fahrenheit these days

        The display doesn't mention the temperature scale at all, why do you think it's Fahrenheit? It could just be a severe example of global warming...
    • Ah yes, Microsoft innovates some more ideas from Apple.

      • by Vegeta99 (219501)
        Actually, HTC built the device, not Microsoft, and Apple's product is still vaporware at this point. Sorry to steal your thunder.
        • by egomaniac (105476)
          I don't think you get to call something "vaporware" when it's finished and being released to the public in three weeks. That's just silly.
    • I like how they put appointments on the default screen. How cool would it be to whip this thing out and show off your next doctor's appointment? Probably as cool as putting your contacts and calendar on a device owned by a company that admits to data mining and selling information about their customers - the telco and M$. Privacy is impossible without free software.

  • Actual product link: (Score:5, Informative)

    by EnglishTim (9662) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:18PM (#19398329)
    http://www.htctouch.com/ [htctouch.com]

    To be honest, you might as well say all Windows Mobile based phones are iPhone rivals. I would prefer to say it's just a competitor in the smartphone space, as iPhone will be when it arrives.

    I own an earlier HTC WM5 smartphone model, and I'm guessing that despite having a new swish frontend, it'll still be not quite as nice to use as the iPhone will be. However, the big draw is that being Windows Mobile based, you'll be able to run any software you want on it without having to go through Apple, unlike the iPhone.

    • To be honest, you might as well say all Windows Mobile based phones are iPhone rivals ...

      Yes, but this one is an obvious knock off designed to harm the sales of a competitor in another space - desktops. As usual, the M$ PR drones are claiming the HTC is all things iPhone, but it's not [slashdot.org].

    • by jsebrech (525647)
      To be honest, you might as well say all Windows Mobile based phones are iPhone rivals. I would prefer to say it's just a competitor in the smartphone space, as iPhone will be when it arrives.

      Exactly, this htc touch is no different from previous windows mobile phones with touch screens. You still don't have multi-touch. The only novelty is a front-end app which lets you more easily navigate to specific applications. In itself this is also not new because interfaces like these have been available for pocket p
    • See, that's just the thing. It's the software that will make the iPhone interesting. So the flip side of your argument is that you won't be able to run OS X software on the Windows Mobile based smart phones. That's a pretty serious detraction. I don't want some MP3 player patched onto my phone with duct-tape, I want the iPod version of iTunes, integrated seemlessly. I don't want some rinky-dink pretend-to-edit-a-spreadsheet-on-your-phone crap. Nobody really does that on a 2 inch screen with 100 dpi re
    • by Isao (153092)
      I also own HTC's WM5 device.

      However, the big draw is that being Windows Mobile based, you'll be able to run any software you want on it without having to go through Apple, unlike the iPhone.

      Who would have thought that Microsoft was enabling the open platform.

  • The summary implies that the iPhone won't have a memory slot for expansion, which would be a huge mistake. In the 1.5 years since I bought my digital camera, 1GB cards have gone from high-end to almost disposable (which is fantastic!), and I now have a cheap 4GB card for my PocketPC which wasn't even available when the PocketPC was manufactured.

    Is the iPhone memory not expandable?

  • C'mon (Score:4, Insightful)

    by u-bend (1095729) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:22PM (#19398411) Homepage Journal
    You know, it's pretty easy to get tired of the direction that some here always try pushing a conversation that has anything to do with Apple. Yes, I like Apple machines. But that's because the accomplish for me what I want them to do, with ease. If they looked (and here's where the style-over-substance folks get it wrong) like a pile of dump, I'd still use them. If the reverse were true (they look as they do, but don't deliver the goods that I need), I'd never have bought my last one just to have a brushed-metal two grand doorstop. And yes, I do use non-mac stuff too. In fact I have a highly useful Linux box at home, that looks, from the outside, well, like a pile of beige dump.

    I guess what I'm saying, is that it's not too useful to immediately start making fun of the iPhone with the substance argument, in a discussion that's about a different product. We've seen the picture now, thanks to a previous poster. Let's talk about that--looks pretty nice, wouldn't buy it for personal use, wouldn't buy an iPhone either. /rant
    • by catbutt (469582)
      I'm not sure why liking the looks of something, and factoring that into your decision, should be something to be ashamed of. The key point is that it is factored in, not that it is everything.

      I mean, I'm not going to date a girl that's dumb as a box of rocks and can't hold a conversation, but I'm not going to date her if she is ugly either. It doesn't have to be one or the other, aesthetics factors in and so do other things. Same for a phone, vehicle, operating system, clothing, furniture, etc.
      • by u-bend (1095729)
        Valid point. For my mom, the iMac's design and scarcity of wires are more important than the horsepower. But for me, the cool design of my G5 tower is only a bonus, not a necessity. I'm gratified by its design, but not wowed. I was merely juxtaposing the two extreme points. Unlike the girl argument though (I appreciate your honesty, by the way, and reluctantly agree), I would consider buying a butt-ugly computer that did exactly everything mine did.

        Another thing that I thought about though while reading y
  • by Aqua_boy17 (962670) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:27PM (#19398489)
    Is it available in brown?
  • by Basilius (184226) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:33PM (#19398591)
    ...this plays straight into the whole "Hi, I'm a Mac. And I'm a PC" ads. In fact, it fits so well it smells like a joke.

    "iPhone is to much fun to get work done. We must have a windows-based 'business' equivalent."

    Please. Enough already.
    • by Tom (822)
      Especially because it's not even really true.

      I am a business user. I've never even owned a private mobile phone.

      Calendar and Addressbook are the primary business needs I have on a mobile phone. Maybe a good tool to write down some short notes, would stop me from sending SMS or Mail to myself.

      All those other "business applications" on a friggin' phone can kiss my behind. I don't have the time to waste on a tiny screen fiddling around with a miniature keyboard in some futile attempt to produce a spreadsheet o
    • by SEMW (967629)

      "iPhone is to much fun to get work done. We must have a windows-based 'business' equivalent."
      Ummm, MS have had Windows CE since 1996 -- with touch screens -- and smartphones since, I believe, 2002. They're hardly imitating Apple here...
  • Rival? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Scrameustache (459504) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:39PM (#19398689) Homepage Journal
    You misspelled "iPhone Killer"...

    And since it isn't even out yet, I guess that would be an iPhone Aborter.
  • HTC have tremendous hardware. Those guys are brilliant, really.

    But, there is a really huge problem with HTC. Those guys have crappy software : bad piggy translation, NDA Legacy APIs, little Java support (almost no JSR supported !), little upgrade program.

    Translation is not acceptable, I know it is not blocking stuff. But when you pay high price for some high end phone you expect it to be "high quality" as well and this include your ability to use it in your native language. One example : In french, th

  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:43PM (#19398761)
    Can you assemble a grid of them into a coffee table?
  • QVGA! (Score:4, Informative)

    by ricklow (124377) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:43PM (#19398771)
    The screen resolution of the HTC device is only QVGA: 320 x 240. The iPhone is 320 x 480 (half VGA). This is a major difference in usability.

    After trying to switch from a Palm TX (320 x 480) to a Windows Mobile QVGA PDA, one thing that stopped me was the beautiful screen on the Palm vs. the QVGA on the WM5 device.

    • HTC Universal (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Animaether (411575)
      so why didn't you go to the HTC Universal? Full VGA (640x480)

      seriously, there's so many non-arguments about the iPhone vs everything else based on individual aspects. the iPhone will kick ass because of the overall package. It will still have its shortcomings (i.e. resolution, no buttons (it's a feature!), etc.) but overall it will be a better package than most everything out there. There'll always be people who need something that the iPhone can't offer, and they will go with something else... or deal
  • by carpe_noctem (457178) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:44PM (#19398789) Homepage Journal
    From TFA:

    "..device designed with one-touch screen.."

    Not exactly the same as the iPhone. At least I can finally give microsoft "the finger", literally.
  • by arsheive (609065) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @12:51PM (#19398983)
    So how is it going to rival the iPhone? From htc.com: "Building on its rich ten year history of mobile phone innovations, the HTC Touch(TM) represents extensive research and development and the conviction that fingertip control will enable more efficient, natural and intuitive touch screen navigation. The groundbreaking HTC Touch(TM) offers a new and unique way of controlling touch screen-based devices by recognising and responding to the sweep of a finger across the screen. It is even intelligent enough to distinguish between finger and stylus input and then respond accordingly." So it has some nice features allowing the user to use single-touch more effectively. This does not come close to the wow factor and the _crazy_ levels of input freedom provided by a multi-touch interface.
  • Nonetheless, it remains a huge flaming advertisement / troll.
  • Touch or Multitouch? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Myopic (18616) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @01:20PM (#19399587)
    Is it touch or multitouch? Because those are not nearly the same thing. Multitouch is a much much more complicated (to implement) yet intuitive (to use) interface, and really is the whole reason for the iPhone brouhaha.
  • One look (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @01:40PM (#19399947) Homepage Journal
    One look at a picture is enough to convince me that this is no competitor because they (MS, and the MS Mobile devision) simply still don't get it.

    Why? There's the "Start" bar right up on the screen. Aside from the 12-year-old nonsense of the start menu itself, the bar takes up precious screen estate all the time. On a desktop screen, that's a nuissance. On a mobile screen where every pixel counts, it plain out sucks.

    More importantly: It's a brilliant indicator for the mindset. MS insists on cluttering the screen with its logo and a couple status icons. Apple builds as if they wanted to actually use the thing.
    • Re:One look (Score:4, Funny)

      by SEMW (967629) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @02:44PM (#19401109)
      Absolutely. I can't think why someone could possibly want to have battery level, connectivity level, and a clock all available at-a-glance in a consistent place, together with window management tools and a button to bring down a menu of commonly used applications; along with a programming interface that allows applications to hide it and take the full screen if they really need it. Incredibly stupid idea, isn't it. Quite ridiculous.
  • by Tom (822)
    Actually, what exactly is the business use of being able to edit spreadsheets on your mobile phone? I'm sure you'll be able to get real quality work done on the plane, on a tiny screen with an even smaller keyboard.

    Appointments, sure. Calender, addressbook, a bit of websurfing to get directions or a map - all that I can understand. But "business applications" on a mobile phone, to me that yells that your business isn't important or profitable enough for a notebook or that you're too disorganized to finish t
    • Actually, what exactly is the business use of being able to edit spreadsheets on your mobile phone?

      Actually, dude, this is a damn good question. Personally I use a Nokia 9300 Symbian smartphone for a couple years now. This thing can apparently deal with Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents. I love the sophisticated calendar and address book functionality. I have yet to connect to the internet and read email on this thing. But I sure as hell can't figure out for what I should ever use the "office compatib

  • Why the hell did they include a camera? What the hell is the huge business advantage of that?
    • by netik (141046)
      If it's sufficiently high enough resolution, I can see a number of business uses for a camera phone:

      - Insurance adjusters
      - Forensics work
      - Real estate
  • I ditched my htc sprint ppc 6700 because:

    -too much latency overall
    -poor phone quality, comfort, aesthetic
    -heavy
    -wanted to be able to search contacts and make calls without flipping keyboard out or using two hands.
    -didn't like rebooting everyday to get the email flowing again.
    -I looked like an ass while I was using it.

    I bought a blackberry 8700 and I love it; it eliminated all of those issues. It's a bit bigger than a regular phone but the other benefits (email, calendar, big screen) are worth it.

    For my nee
  • by wikinerd (809585) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @02:45PM (#19401121) Journal
    HTC makes perfect hardware, but the software it runs sucks big time. Yes, I talk about Windows Mobile. I am an owner of an HTC Universal [wikipedia.org], also known as Qtek 9000, which looks like a small laptop. The first problem I had with the device was that although the TFT screen is capable of displaying 640x480 resolution, Windows Mobile limit the output to 320x240, making the device unsuitable for the original reason I bought it (Slashdot, eh..., Internet surfing over 3G cellular networks, later also Python [awaretek.com] hacking and SSHing [pocketputty.net] while on the road). Thanks to a little Russian hack, OzVga [sciox.org], I have an easy interface to switch between 640x480 and 320x240 anytime I want (ie never, as I only use 640x480). I really can't understand why MS stupidly sets 320x240 as th default resolution, without offering any interface to change it except through the registry. Windows Mobile crash very frequently, are very slow (even on Universal's 520MHz ARM CPU), have the most user-unfriendly and stupid interface I have ever seen since Spectrum's keyboard, and makes my life as a user very difficult. There is a project to port Linux on Universal but it is still in its infancy. I would really describe HTC's Universal as a device combining the perfect hardware with the most unusable software you could ever imagine. HTC really destroys its reputation by cooperating with MS. I am sure HTC could exponentially increase its sales by loading a non-MS OS, preferably open-source like Linux, on all its new PDAs. The best thing HTC can do is to open its hardware platform documentation and let Linux hackers create a Linux port on Universal or future similar device, then sponsor the effort and make Linux the default OS.

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