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The much-written-about HTC Touch has been the subject of many a heated debate among followers of the smartphone industry in recent weeks. Some love it, others (including our very own esteemed editor) are not so keen.
But one thing is clear: it is a departure for the firm that doesn't quite work, and it is one that certainly won't do what it was originally intended to do - which was run the Apple iPhone juggernaut off the road, or at least give it a bloody nose. And, on top of all that, overlaying a simple touch-driven interface on top of Windows Mobile isn't the revolution we were hoping for.
The new P6300 smartphone (around £400 SIM-free) represents a return to business-as-usual for HTC and anyone expecting iPhone-rivalling fancy pants features will be sorely disappointed. This is, pure and simple, a Windows Mobile-based PDA phone with no fancy extras, aimed at business or corporate users.
And that's exactly what it looks like when you pull it out of the box for the very first time. It's grey and unassuming, more accountant on an audit than advertising executive on a brainstorming session. It doesn't look particularly cool, but it goes about its business in an understated sort of way.
The front is dominated by a large 3.5in, 240 x 320 resolution screen surrounded with some sensibly arranged and simple buttons. Above it are shortcut keys for messaging and Internet applications. Below it are the usual smart phone controls for picking-up and hanging-up calls, while a pair of soft buttons and a Windows Start button flank a D-pad, used for navigating Windows Mobile's often complicated and cluttered screens.
The edges of the P6300 are, thankfully, just as uncluttered. On the right hand edge you'll find the stylus stowed away and a shutter button for the two megapixel camera. On the left is a rocker for the volume plus a key for accessing the device's voice control centre. This can be used to launch applications or phone speed dial contacts and it works really well - as long as you don't mind people staring at you in the street as though you've just escaped from Broadmoor.
On the top edge is the power switch and an SD memory card slot and at the bottom, a rather odd-looking hybrid mini-USB socket – used for syncing, charging and for connecting the proprietary hands-free headset supplied in the box. And though confusingly it looks different to a standard mini-USB socket, this 'ExtUSB' socket will in fact still take standard cables, so you can use your power cable in the car, or spare USB lead at your desk in the office to charge it. And, while I'm on the subject of box contents, the P6300 comes with a USB wall wart charger and a quality belt clip case as well.
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