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HTC Unveils 'HD2' Multi-touch Windows Phone

Gordon Kelly

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HTC Unveils 'HD2' Multi-touch Windows Phone

Love it or hate it (our first impressions sadly place us closer to the latter camp): today is a Windows Phone day...

Still the highlight may not be Windows Phone at all, but the stupendous engineering feat HTC has managed to pull off in the shape of the ‘HD2' (formerly Leo). From a hardware perspective, the HD2 is a heart stopping piece of kit with a huge 4.3in touchscreen, 5MP autofocus camera with dual LED flash, HSUPA, WiFi, GPS and superfast 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset. What's more, HTC has broken new ground with the HD2 bringing a capacitive 480 x 800 (WVGA), multi-touch display to Windows Mobile 6.5.

"The HTC HD2 Windows phone breaks new ground with its responsive, touch screen," said Microsoft Business senior VP Andy Lees in a statement which is far more humorous than I suspect he intended.

Furthermore, HTC has become arguably the industry leader in convincingly re-skinning Microsoft's dodgy user interfaces and it's excellent Sense UI should undo most of the damage still present in 6.5. As for the rest of the hardware rundown, the footprint is understandably large at 120.5 x 57mm and hefty at 157g, but at least it remains slim line at an iPhone-ish 11mm thick.

Battery life isn't bad either at up to 320 minutes talk time or 490 hours on standby though music playback isn't great at just 12 hours. That said, you'll be able to listen through a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, there's AVI video support, an FM tuner and the array of accelerometers and proximity sensors you'd expect in a smartphone these days.

One fly in the ointment however is the 512MB of native memory aboard. Windows Marketplace apps can currently only install on native memory so it won't matter if you have a 32GB microSD card or not, you could well run out of space pretty quickly. Bad Microsoft, bad!

Still HTC is pulling out all the stops and the HD2 will hit UK networks before the end of the month. An earlier leak suggests the HD2 on O2 is a formality, though HTC doesn't reference any single exclusive deal which - given the telco's horrendous data network problems - is probably a godsend to many. Would it be mean if I were to say the HTC HD2 could be the perfect phone... if it had Android on it?!

Link:

HTC HD2 Product Page

ChaosDefinesOrder

October 6, 2009, 8:59 pm

For interested people, it's on pre-order at Expansys for £549.99 (!!!) SIM-free, with a projected release date of 11th November

Stelph

October 6, 2009, 9:06 pm

Nice, very promising looking phone! Awaiting a review with extreme interest...

lifethroughalens

October 6, 2009, 9:28 pm

But can it be re-flashed up to a RTM W7 Firmware next year, or will buyers be left with a Lemon? I love the hardware, but I just can't think about committing to WM6.5!

chris10230

October 6, 2009, 9:57 pm

You say if it had android apparently the HTC Dragon will be this with android.





I will say this is just RUMOURS!!!





Still ill be getting mine once they get in stock cannot wait :D

Oliver Levett

October 6, 2009, 10:05 pm

"120.5 x 57mm and hefty at 157g, but at least it remains slim line at an iPhone-ish 11mm thick."





So, it's thinner, slimmer and a little bit taller than the iPhone (115.5x62.1x12.3mm), yet it somehow packs a 1GHz processor, 5MP camera, two flashes, and a WVGA 4.3" screen? How is that large?!?





The internal flash memory is much faster than MicroSD, and not everyone will bother to install MicroSD, so installing to internal storage makes a lot more sense. Also, I currently run a few different 16GB MicroSD cards (films, music, backups etc). Installing programs on the MicroSD when I regularly swap them out is utterly useless as half of the time they won't work. 488MB of RAM is something you've not picked up on, which is massive compared to other devices.





320 minutes of talktime is also better than the iPhones 300 minutes, and 390 hours standby utterly destroys the 300 the iPhone can apparently do (that's on WCDMA/HSDPA for the Leo). Clearly multitasking OSes don't use that much power!

Max

October 6, 2009, 10:24 pm

Makes you wonder why HTC don't offer it with Android. Would be an awesome smartphone if they did. All they have done by having WM on it is limit their target market.

Zero

October 6, 2009, 10:41 pm

This is a monster! i would like to have this on Three Network. I think this is the the mobile phone to really put Iphone to shame so much that the company should make toys....

Ataripower

October 6, 2009, 11:08 pm

@Gordon, Oh dear oh dear have you actually bothered to use Win 6.5?? Its a fantastic OS and improves significantly over 6.1. Once again you take what appears to be a fantastic product running on a very good OS (in my experience) and put a downer on it my suggesting it would be better running on something else. I'm convinced you say this just to wind people up sometimes. I know I've got a great idea....lets get the iphone and put Android on it, or better still why don't we just install apple os on the new HTC, maybe that'll work........

Runadumb

October 6, 2009, 11:15 pm

If its not coming to orange I will dander down to my nearest O2 store and check out the size of this sucker. If its pocket friendly(ish) i might just buy sim free.


Ive been using different builds of the Leo rom for a while now on my Touch HD and its fantastic. You dont need to go near most of 6.5's uglyness most of the time.





Only problem is the rom is clearly designed for that processor as its slow at times and the HTC message app is still buggy as hell. Still kinda hopeful for an Android version of the HD, aka the Dragon

Runadumb

October 6, 2009, 11:21 pm

Oh and also...whats up with that awful music batterylife!? I assume thats with the screen off

bobsta

October 7, 2009, 12:58 am

Is it my imagination or are these phones actually getting bigger? If that's the case, then I fear that mobile phones will become netbook sized and eventually return to the good old days of large suitcase sized enclosures (one case for the battery and another to haul around the phone).

DrDark

October 7, 2009, 3:35 am

@Zero:


They do make toys; have you seen the average iPhone user lately?


(No offence to the majority of TR staff :P).

Frankf9d

October 7, 2009, 3:59 am

Don't T.Mobile have the best chance of this ? they have had some of the best HTC so far and a potentially larger network because of the merger/takeover malarky.





I don't care about the size of the beast, at least you know you're 'carrying' and get the benefit of a readable screen.

Gordon394

October 7, 2009, 5:06 am

@Ataripower - rather amazing statement there. Since we were running press only handsets you cannot have tried Windows Mobile 6.5, yet you proclaim to know it better than me from why? Brochures? Previews? YouTube videos?





Sorry, I'd like to see the smartphone OS market as competitive as the next man, but Windows Mobile 6.5 just isn't it. It's a Service Pack for 6.1. I sincerely hope things will improve with Windows Mobile 7, but 6.5 is very, very poor. Thankfully HTC has ripped the guts out of it for the HD2 and it looks to be all the better for it.

Manni

October 7, 2009, 12:50 pm

@Gordon: windows mobile 6.5 has been available at XDA-developpers for many phones since the summer. I have personally used it on my Touch Pro 2 since the beginning of September, so yes, you're quite behind on that one if you wait for the press kit.


I'm still amazed at the fact that professional journalists can be so biased about Windows Mobile. Yes, its interface is less flashy than the iPhone, and it's less easy to do the 10% of functions that many end-users do most on a phone, but Windows Mobile is still a better OS, especially for business users: it can multitask, it allows you to work on Office documents without converting them... You are not trying to inform, you are trying to influence based on your own (obviously limited) use of a mobile phone. I personally won't pay more than £300 just for a pretty phone. I need it to be a performant tool to justify the investment. In the iPhone vs WinMo, although Apple leaped ahead with the original iPhone fron an interface point of view and WinMo is playing catch up ever since (getting very close with HTCs excellent efforts), Apple has been trying to catch up from a functionality point of view ever since, and the 3GS/OS3 is the first model which brings what most WinMo phones have been able to do for years (although at a huge cost): use of stereo bluetooth headsets, MS exchange compatibility, copy and paste, turn by turn GPS... However the iPhone OS is still isn't multitasking and this, for SOME users, is still a HUGE drawback. I'm not talking about the lack of keyboard which is a personal preference I guess (I stil don't like the iPhone keyboard and couldn't type anything but short text messages on it).


I have personally considered buying an iPhone for the first time when the 3GS was released, but it was (at the time) locked to a network I didn't want, was more expensive than a Touch Pro 2, and was still unable to multitask (what about doing nothing else when listening to Spotify?) or open office documents without converting them.


I think the lack of objectivity (or competence) is the worst flaw a journalist can display (and I used to be one). It's only your arrogance (and ignorance) when replying to Ataripower that prompted this message. Nothing personal, but it would be great if you could realise that 1) you don't know everything and 2) you can be wrong, as that would make you a better journalist.


I'm not counting on it though:).

lifethroughalens

October 7, 2009, 3:15 pm

...grabs popcorn, gets settled in. This is gonna be a good'n!





(and again, does *anyone* know if this handset will be 're-flashable' to W7 next year, or will we all need another new handset?)

Oliver Levett

October 7, 2009, 4:12 pm

@Gordon: the whole of the internet has been running 6.5 since last year, it started of unusable yes, but it's now far faster and more stable than anything else.





@lifethroughalens: the Leo should be WM7 capable (and there's a BSP for Snapdragon/WM7) though I doubt HTC will be supporting it, I'm sure XDA will! (and as soon as I get a Leo I'll be trying to port it... :))

lifethroughalens

October 7, 2009, 6:19 pm

Thanks Oliver - just what I wanted to hear.





iPhone going on ebay shortly :)

mesaboogie

October 7, 2009, 6:21 pm

Sorry Gordon, many have been using winmo 6.5 for months, including me (using it on my Xperia with Leo's touchflo version).


I do agree it's not a big step forward but still a good one since it feels faster and easier to use when going beyond HTC's shell (which is a rare thing to happen).

DrDark

October 7, 2009, 7:25 pm

@lifethroughalens: Hey! stop copying my popcorn lines from the PS3 threads!





@Gordon: Sorry, but the line about no one having tried WM6.5 if they weren't "press" sounded a bit naive. I realise the build versions may be different, but still...

Simon

October 7, 2009, 7:31 pm

I upgraded my Touch Dual to 6.1 the other day and was thinking about trying 6.5. Will my phone run it ok?

Gordon394

October 7, 2009, 8:03 pm

@drdark - sorry, it is a bit naive to say build revisions will give you the same experience as the finished product. Though sadly in this case little has been improved from the builds I saw way back in February.





It's just nowhere near good enough. I'm a Windows user, I love Windows 7 and I'm becoming quite the fan of Security Essentials, but we're going to have to wait until Windows Mobile 7 to see Microsoft offer a serious consumer friendly rival to Android, iPhone OS and webOS.

Nicholas Pires

October 7, 2009, 8:12 pm

It's funny reading the comments here in this posting mentioning WM6.5 fails to deliver at user experience compared to the iPhone which is "so great". It is harsh to dismiss 6.5 so quickly.





It is better than 6.1 (I know as I often flash my Diamond 2 regularly to try different ROMs on xda-developers) and can say yes it does need some tweaking but overall is an improvement over the older 6.1 build it still needs to be faster but with some ROMs it's pretty responsive already.





I don't mind the honeycomb effect but do like the grid layout of TF3D, personally it doesn't make a big difference to me it's a visual difference, user experience and doesn't detract from user experience as some of you are saying.





Personally from all the people I know that use the iphone and blackberry are very happy with it but after I show them some of the the things I can do on my winmo phone they feel like getting a winmo phone for its functionality as I did when I was first looking for a phone and I did compare it to the iphone and even symbian.





I went with winmo for the fact I could put anything I wanted on it and not have to worry about "jailbreaking" it and other warranty voiding procedures.





iphone having to "jailbreak it" before you can do anything great on it yeh awesome user experience there... people give winmo less credit than it's actually due as you can do pretty much anything you want out of the box.





Dare I say iphone for the magpies (flashy flashy icandy wanters) and winmo for the more practical minded :P





I'm happy with winmo and look forward to more improvements to come, just hope HTC continue to support it for longer as android is getting popular, but in closing yes the iphone is cool and has a nice user experience and the UI could be better in winmo but is far from the dismal experience that the reviewer and uninformed people posting here make it out to be, unlike most iphone users if we don't like it we can change it (we got more choice of OS shells than you do HA!) Do your research first before you start to bash the OS.





Winmo will only get better where as iphone is only filling in the blanks :P

Gordon394

October 7, 2009, 8:15 pm

@Nicholas Pires - thanks for the long and thoughtful piece. Appreciate feedback and differing opinions. It would be dull if we all agreed on everything.

lifethroughalens

October 8, 2009, 12:48 am

@ Gordon, wow a Hack with a degree of humility, whatever next?!





Well, it's been 8 years since i've even considered a WinMo phone, Symbian was my tipple for 7 years and now the dreaded iPhone. Ok, so I hacked it to bits, installed everything under the sun and after just 6 months i'm bored stupid with it.





A completely technophobic friend had the HTC HD and loved it, so I figure I'll give this HD2 a pop and see how it all goes for me. It's a scary thought going back to MS though!

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