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HTC Makes First Multitouch Windows Mobile Smartphone

Gordon Kelly


Capacitive or resistive screen? Multi-touch or no multi-touch? They have (quite rightly) become two of the first questions on many readers lips whenever we discuss touchscreen mobile phones. Well here is an exciting breakthrough for you...

Video has emerged of the HTC Leo sporting both of these features. Why is this a big deal? Because the Leo is a Windows Mobile 6.5/Windows Phone handset and no Windows Mobile based smartphone has ever supported capacitive screens, let alone multi-touch (multi-touch doesn't work on commercial resistive screens). Microsoft has never enabled support!

So how has HTC done it? (I'm asking a lot of questions today). Talk is this is yet another example of the innovative Taiwanese giant customising Microsoft code. Consequently the Leo will feature multi-touch within the browser, Google Maps, photo viewer and even the video player. Now throw in the Leo's cutting edge specs:

  • 4.3in 480 x 800 capacitive touchscreen

  • 5MP camera, dual LED flash

  • aGPS

  • WiFi

  • Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR

  • Snapdragon 1GHz chipset

  • microSD expansion slot (32GB compatible)

  • 3.5mm headphone jack (hurrah!)

  • 121 x 67 x 11mm dimensions

  • 1,250 mAh battery
Combine it with HTC's usual UI spit and polish and you have a Windows Mobile smartphone set to cause genuine excitement. Q4 is the planned arrival timeframe for the Leo and, should this pan out, let's just say Microsoft owes HTC big time.

In related news The HTC Hero is about to get a much needed speed boost courtesy of the new '2.73.405.5' ROM update. Touch to focus functionality (just like the iPhone 3GS) is also in there and early feedback is extremely positive. Hero owners download it now!


via PocketPT.net


September 17, 2009, 5:44 pm

I think you mean non Orange and T-mobile Hero owners download it now :-(

Tarik Bos

September 17, 2009, 6:35 pm

wow that looks like a windows phone i'd maybe even liked to use


September 17, 2009, 7:27 pm

More importantly, has any Windows Mobile ever shipped without a stylus? Will this be the first completely finger-driven Windows phone or will they include a capacitive compatible stylus?

Also, if HTC have dropped the stylus, what have they done with all of Windows Mobile's more involved menus, which were designed to be poked with a stylus? Does 6.5 provide finger-friendly versions of those menus?

I think these issues, rather than the hardware, are what has held back capacitive screens on Windows Mobile. I really hope HTC have cracked it though.


September 17, 2009, 7:44 pm

@ravmania nah, I flash the base HTC ROM then apply the updates. Life is a happier place that way!


September 17, 2009, 8:22 pm


I think the SE Xperia 2 is finger friendly.


September 17, 2009, 8:28 pm

has anyone checked out the dimensions on this - its massive. Even bigger than my Touch HD, which I think is borderline for pocketability.


September 17, 2009, 9:18 pm

The "capacitive" bit is still just rumour/speculation. There are zoomed-in pics of this phone showing the "white dots", a distinctive feature of resistive screens.

And the thousands of WinMo apps aren't going to be finger-friendly all of a sudden. So I hope they do include a stylus. In fact, I remember a news item a few months ago saying HTC has patented a new kind of stylus to work with capactive screens?


September 17, 2009, 10:31 pm

well even if you are using the standard interface have a look at this 6.5.x which i guess this will launch with in jan/feb next yr. Its reported to and seen to have a re skinned contacts app meaning that finger friendliness is coming soon! http://img4.imageshack.us/img4... (hope the link stays)

Oliver Levett

September 17, 2009, 10:49 pm

Firstly, you know that wonderful touch zoom thing? You know how the Touch HD had it before the iPhone?

Also, this is almost certainly not true multitouch as WM6.5 only supports one mouse event at a time. It's either a low level hook on the touch screen driver which allows for registering multiple touches, or it's interpolated multitouch which would still be a fairly low level thing.


September 17, 2009, 11:22 pm

@WyWyWyWy: "..the thousands of WinMo apps aren't going to be finger-friendly all of a sudden"

Good point, so I suppose a stylus is a must. I've seen styluses (styli?) that work on capacitive screens before (just Google 'iPhone stylus'), so that could be possible.

@Max Power: The X2 is finger friendly, but apparently you can drill down to the stylus-only Windows elements pretty easily. It certainly couldn't manage without a stylus.


September 18, 2009, 12:42 am

While you may still need a stylus for a few apps the vast majority will work fine with fingers because of the huge 4.3" screen. Every item will be big, even the tiny x in corner of WM.

Tony Young

September 18, 2009, 11:36 am

@AlmostDone - you're absolutely right. I lost my Touch HD stylus months ago and have been fingering it ever since - no problem! I'm looking forward to seeing this baby.


September 18, 2009, 12:29 pm

> Also, this is almost certainly not true multitouch as WM6.5 only supports one mouse event at a time. It's either a low level hook on the touch screen driver which allows for registering multiple touches, or it's interpolated multitouch which would still be a fairly low level thing.

Anyone understand what the hell he's talking about? More importantly, does it matter? If the multi touch functionality works, who cares how its done?!


September 18, 2009, 4:04 pm

Well its now turns out it IS a capacitive screen. Can we really call a device this size a phone though? looks more like a netbook. As good as I expect this "phone" to be I just cant see me buying one due to its massive size


September 18, 2009, 4:45 pm

@Bluepork: It matters because, without native OS support, multi-touch will only work on software that's had the effort put into coding its own multi-touch implementation. That's a lot of work for the software devs, so less software will be multi-touch compatible than would otherwise be the case.


September 18, 2009, 4:45 pm

Size-wise it's like the Toshiba TG01 if anyone's held that. Better build and interface than that phone though...

To reconfirm Runadumb's statement: it definitely is a capacitive screen, not just a rumour.


September 18, 2009, 4:48 pm

@Runadumb: Personally, I completely agree. I would never want something that large in my pocket. However, as someone here correctly pointed out once, this thing isn't as large as you'd think because the screen stretches right to the phone's extremities. It's a bit larger than an iPhone, but way smaller than the Toshiba TG01.


September 18, 2009, 8:32 pm

@Chris going by these Leo dimensions (which I can't confirm are correct) 121 x 67 x 11 it would appear it is smaller than the TG01's 130 x 70 x 9.9 mm.

Hmmm when I hold it in my hands I will know how I feel about its size and then decide. Phone looks great otherwise


September 19, 2009, 2:28 am

More info is leaking out by the minute.

Nice pic and video here:


And here is a size comparison TG01 vs Leo vs Touch HD/iPhone (same size as HD)


September 19, 2009, 2:32 am

Would help if I added the link. :)



September 21, 2009, 6:17 am

Orange Hero ROM is now available!!!


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