HTC launches Shift ultra mobile PC in UK

The HTC Shift will run Windows Vista and will have a 7in widescreen display.

Handset maker HTC (Hi-Tech Computer) Monday unveiled its hotly-anticipated Shift UMPC (ultra-mobile PC), along with details of when it will be launched in the UK. The HTC Shift will run Windows Vista and will have a 7in widescreen display. The screen will be touch-sensitive and will tilt and slide, providing access to the keyboard hidden underneath. The HTC Shift will be a 3G internet access device with HSDPA (high-speed data packet access) and will weigh just 800g.

HTC says the Shift is the first device to launch with SnapVUE. A technology HTC has developed itself, SnapVUE provides access to email, calendar, messaging and contacts without the Shift first needing to be fully powered up. This will preserve battery power as well as being convenient.

The Shift launched in Asia earlier this year to much acclaim and has been eagerly anticipated by gadget fans who got their first look at it earlier this year when it was unveiled alongside the yet smaller HTC Advantage -- an oversized personal digital assistant with a detachable magnetic keyboard that runs the Windows Mobile operating system and that can be stashed away in a pocket if the user prefers to enter information directly in to the 5in touch-sensitive screen.

The HTC Shift is set to be the flagship device among the rash of new products HTC announced Monday.

Other notable announcements included a 3.5G version of the HTC Touch -- the handset cited by many as the strongest contender to Apple's iPhone due to its user-friendly icon-based navigation and TouchFLO mode of flicking between screens using gestures.

Today, HTC announced the HTC Touch Dual. The 3.5G handset not only gains faster wireless connectivity, but also gains a slide-out keypad. HTC claims users will be able to zoom in to and rotate photos on the Touch Dual one-handed -- a feature also supported by Apple's iPhone. Users will also be able to view photo slideshows.

"The HTC Touch Dual expands the HTC Touch product family and integrates 3.5G connectivity and a sliding keyboard into a slim and stylish design. This combination provides customers with the most uncompromising and intuitive touch experience available on a phone," said Peter Chou, chief executive officer of HTC.

HTC also announced a 3G/HSDPA replacement to the popular S710, the HTC S730. HTC has a 400MHz processor and a small slide-out keyboard -- this time hidden by a standard-size mobile phone handset. HTC says the S730 is aimed at "consumers and business professionals who want high speed connectivity." It will run Windows Mobile 6 and come in gun-metal grey.

All the products announced today are due for launch in Q4.

HTC usually sells its handsets on a SIM-free basis via outlets such as expansys.com, but first made its name as an OEM (original equipment manufacturer), designing and making handsets for all the big mobile phone and gadget companies from Orange and O2 to T-Mobile and others.

The HTC Touch Dual, however, will launch on the Orange network later this month in the UK, France, Poland and Romania as part of its Signature Series. It will also launch in Switzerland on Orange.

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Rosemary Haworth

PC Advisor (UK)

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