The cat has long been out the bag, but today HTC confirmed what everyone already knew and formerly announced the launch of its flagship 'Diamond' smartphone.
No less impressive for the leaks, the Diamond packs an almighty punch and a consumer friendly form factor which may indeed make it the most credible challenger yet to the Apple iPhone.
It sports a 2.8in ultra high resolution VGA screen, 528MHz CPU (the fastest yet seen in a Windows Mobile handset), full 3D graphics acceleration, quad band 7.2Mbit HSDPA, eGPS, an accelerometer, WiFi, a 3.2MP camera, an FM tuner, 4GB of internal memory and a microSD slot allowing this to be bolstered (far) further. Topping off this hardware tour-de-force is the heavily redesigned Windows Mobile 6.1 and a thinness of just 10.7mm making it 0.9mm slimmer than the iPhone.
One downside, for such a multimedia centric handset, is the continued lack of a dedicated 3.5mm headphone jack which means the miniUSB slot has to be shared with charging.
As for specific UK news, Orange is the first network to announce its uptake of the handset (though all five major UK networks will be carrying it) and it will bundle 'Orange Photo' (snaps web upload facility), 'Orange Music' (access to network's over the air music store), 'Orange Downloads' (over the air portal for games, ringtones and wallpapers) and 'Orange TV' (access to its 61 live mobile TV channels).
Orange will launch the Diamond in the UK during July (by which time it could/should have some serious 3G iPhone competition with a full European rollout taking place over the course of 2008.
Game on Apple.
Update: T-Mobile has now outted its variant, rebranding the Diamond as the 'MDA Compact IV' (yes, it doesn't quite have the same ring to us either). Still all the goodies are in there along with a slightly tweaked GUI in the networks colours. Again, nab it in July when it will cost you not a penny on the Flext 50 tariff.