HTC Launches the Diamond—Small and Very iPhone-esqueS

So, this is the Touch Diamond. It's small, slim, "a holistic experience," according to Horace Luke, HTC's Chief Innovations Officer, and "just like your life." Out in Europe and Asia next month, we should get our hands on it later on this year, and it's the closest thing so far to an iPhone that hasn't come out of Cupertino. Not surprising, since Luke and his team wanted the design to be worthy of MoMA. I'm just not sure about the diamond design on the back. Here is a gallery, the specs and some of the choice quotes from the presentation:

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• Windows Mobile 6.1

• VGA Screen

• Quad-band HSDPA 7.2

• One-touch navigation, single-finger dialing

• The accelerometer rotates pictures as you rotate the phone

• One-touch music playback

• An animated weather forecast app

• Full web browser—Opera—with zoom-in

• Microsoft promises IE 6 coming soon

• Youtube app

• Available June in Europe on Orange and the rest of the world TBD

• Orange mobile TV

• No price yet

According to HTC boss Peter Chou, the Touch Diamond is "simplified user experience with fun usability." The word innovation has been bandied around by just about everyone who's got up on stage at the launch.

"In 2008, Vista will make mobile internet fun."

Chou said that HTC is the first company in the world to do a 3-D animated touchscreen interface, and reiterated his desire to make browser and web-based applications as easy as a phone call. "Just a touch. Just one hand. We don't need too many fingers, just one touch." Speak for yourself, mate.

Horace Luke says his team studied the fashion industry as well as the design industry when coming up with the Diamond Touch. He reckons the design is iconic enough to be recognized by people from across the street, and cited the "meticulous craftsmanship like a Swiss watch." The phone's UI is so like the iPhone it's uncanny. You can flick through your contacts rather like a Rolodex, calling is one-click, and your messages are "like beautiful words dancing in the air."

Andy Lees, one of the Senior VPs at Microsoft was playing with his Diamond Touch yesterday. "It makes me smile, but it enables me to get things done that need to be done. With one finger." [HTC]