HTC's Touch Diamond, and its QWERTY'd doppelganger the Touch Pro, have formally passed into their second generation, with bigger screens, higher (WVGA) resolution, better battery life, and deeper interface changes.
These handsets have always represented something of a standard to which WinMo phones are measured, and the tastefully restyled new versions, boldly called the Diamond2 and Pro2, play on their predecessors' strengths.
The Diamond2 gets a screen upgrade, from 2.8in to 3.2in, with an accompanying resolution boost from VGA (480x640) to WVGA (480x800). The lauded TouchFlo 3D alternative interface now reaches a bit deeper into Windows Mobile 6.1, making a few more functions touch-friendly, but stopping short of a total overhaul. The most interesting new interface feature is the "Single Contact View", which consolidates your complete history of communication (texts, calls, emails) for a given contact into a single screen. A SD card expansion slot replaces the old model's fixed internal memory, which results in greater flexibility but severely diminished memory size on delivery (gone is the 4GB internal memory, replaced with the wimpy 512MB ROM) and a new 5-megapixel autofocus camera.
The Pro2 is treated to most of the same upgrades. Its screen stretches to a full 3.6 inches, which is just .2 inches smaller than the monstrous TouchHD. It gets a louder speakerphone system and less-pixely camera than the Diamond2, but retains the larger battery and slide-out QWERTY keyboard that originally distinguished its dad from the Diamond.
Battery life is apparently boosted by 50% on the Diamond2 and "improved" on the Pro2, a change which is more than welcome, as this is one of the areas where the original Diamond/Pro fell down. Other, less immediately interesting new features include "HTC Push Internet", which is essentially pre-loads parts of your favorite webpages, and the inauspiciously-named "Straight Talk", which allows for easy transitions between text or email communications and regular or group phone calls, letting you immediately initiate a conference call with, say, the recipients of an email thread.
A few things don't sit will here—mainly the lack of internal memory and lost touchwheel—but anyone who has used the TouchHD knows that the enhanced resolution is a welcome change. And not to repeat an all-too-obvious grievance, but HTC fans have long said that the Diamond and Pro should have been the company's Android handsets from the get-go, so it's hard to avoid being slightly disappointed by Windows Mobile 6.1, again.
HTC hasn't announced pricing yet, but should hit European and Asian markets by early Q2, with early H2 availability worldwide. Full press release below. [HTC]
BARCELONA - Feb 16, 2009 - HTC Corporation, a global designer of mobile phones, today unveiled two new flagship devices, the HTC Touch Diamond2ä and HTC Touch Pro2ä. Integrating innovative simplicity with unique style and an intuitive interface, the devices balance function, form and cutting-edge technology to personalize the communication and mobile Internet experience.
"The HTC Touch Pro2 and HTC Touch Diamond2 introduce a mobile communication experience that simplifies how we communicate with people in our lives whether through voice, text or email," said Peter Chou, president and CEO, HTC Corp. "HTC is delivering the latest, cutting-edge sophistication in a broad portfolio of mobile phones that improve how people live, work and communicate."
HTC TOUCHFLO 3D INTEGRATED WITH WINDOWS MOBILE
The HTC Touch Diamond2 and HTC Touch Pro2 utilize HTC's latest TouchFLO 3D interface. TouchFLO 3D has been more deeply integrated into a customized version of Windows Mobile 6.1 to deliver more consistency throughout Windows Mobile applications and menus. Focused on making navigation easier and more intuitive, TouchFLO 3D brings important information to the top-level user interface, including quick access to people, messaging, email, photos, music and weather. As part of this improved Windows Mobile integration the touch focus areas have been enlarged to be more finger-touch friendly.
BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER
With the HTC Touch Diamond2 and HTC Touch Pro2, HTC is introducing a new people-centric communication approach, providing a single contact view that displays the individual conversation history of contacts regardless of whether voice, text or email were used. This can be viewed from the contact card or the in-call screen during a phone conversation, ensuring the latest communication contact-by-contact is always at hand.
SIMPLIFYING HOW PEOPLE ACCESS THEIR INFORMATION
Continuing its commitment to making the mobile Internet easier and more enjoyable, the HTC Touch Diamond2 and HTC Touch Pro2 introduce HTC's Push Internet technology. HTC Push Internet alleviates slow downloading and rendering of Web pages on a mobile phone. Users can preselect their favorite Websites to get immediate access to them when needed.
HTC TOUCH DIAMOND2
The HTC Touch Diamond2 is the next step in the evolution of the successful HTC Touch Diamond. Crafted to fit perfectly into the hand, the Touch Diamond2 evolves the compact design and iconic style of the original HTC Touch Diamond. It incorporates a larger 3.2-inch high-resolution wide-screen VGA display for a greater viewing area in a design just 13.7mm thick. The phone also includes a new touch sensitive zoom bar for even faster zooming of Web pages, emails, text messages, photos or documents.
Leveraging HTC's TouchFLO 3D experience combined with a people-centric communication approach and HTC's new Push Internet technology The Touch Diamond2 offers an advanced touch experience that is optimized for one-hand use.
With fifty-percent better battery life, a five mega-pixel auto focus camera, expandable memory, gravity sensor and an ambient light sensor, the Touch Diamond2 brings the most sophisticated capabilities to a broad consumer audience looking for the professional benefits of a smartphone without sacrificing size, looks or functionality.
HTC TOUCH PRO2
Designed for business professionals, the HTC Touch Pro2 is architected with distinct style and strength while delivering the most powerful productivity experience available on a mobile phone. Leveraging HTC's TouchFLO 3D, people-centric communication and Push Internet technology, the Touch Pro2 features a high-resolution 3.6-inch widescreen VGA display for an expanded viewing area and large finger-friendly QWERTY keyboard. With improved battery life, expandable memory, a touch-sensitive zoom bar as well as gravity, proximity and ambient light sensors, the Touch Pro2 is optimized for touch as well as heavy email use.
INTRODUCING HTC STRAIGHT TALKÄ FOR HTC TOUCH PRO2
The new HTC Touch Pro2 leverages voice in a new way to create one of the most sophisticated communication experiences found on a mobile phone. HTC's new Straight Talk technology delivers an integrated email, voice and speakerphone experience. Users can transition seamlessly from email to single or multi-party conference calls and turn any location into a conference room.
In addition to the new simplified calling experience, Straight Talk includes an innovative mechanical and acoustic design that features a sophisticated speakerphone experience similar to those found in corporate boardrooms. Straight Talk delivers a high-fidelity voice and sound experience enhanced by asymmetric speakers and advanced noise suppression with full duplex acoustics. When the Touch Pro2 is flipped over it automatically turns into a conference room speakerphone system.
The HTC Touch Diamond2 will be available to customers across major European and Asian markets in early Q2 2009 with broader global availability coming later in the year. The Touch Pro2 will be available across major global markets beginning in early summer.
Founded in 1997, HTC Corporation (HTC) is a global leader in mobile phone innovation and design. Since its establishment, HTC has developed strong R&D capabilities, pioneered many new designs and product innovations and launched state-of-the-art mobile phones for mobile operators and distributors in Europe, the US, Asia and around the world. HTC is one of the fastest growing companies in the mobile device market. The company is listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange under ticker 2498. For more information about HTC, please visit www.htc.com.