HTC follows Touch Diamond with Touch Pro

HTC launched a sister to the Touch Diamond on Wednesday, the Touch Pro smartphone with a slide-out type pad.

High Tech Computer on Wednesday announced the Touch Pro, a business handset a similar design to the iPhone rival, HTC Touch Diamond revealed last month to great fanfare.

Touch Pro shares the curved diamond backside of its sister handset, but it's thicker due to the Qwerty-keypad that slides out for easy thumb typing. The keypad also includes a fifth row, a top line with numbers, which HTC handset keypads have not had in the past.

Also like the Touch Diamond, the Touch Pro is a 3G (third generation mobile telecommunications) smartphone running Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional OS. The 2.8-inch screen on front is made for easy touch navigation using HTC's TouchFlo touchscreen software.

Touch Pro marks the second 3G touchscreen handset HTC has announced head of the 3G iPhone. Last year, the company launched its popular Touch smartphone a few weeks ahead of the iPhone and has sold 3 million since then.

Apple has not formally announced a launch date for its 3G iPhone, but some speculate it may be out this month.

Touch Pro is aimed at business users who need the keypad and message/e-mail functions. An HTC representative said the device will be out globally around August.

The smartphone works on WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) networks. For mobile Internet access, it offers data rates up to 7.2M bits per second using HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) on cellular networks, or via Wi-Fi 802.11b/g.

HTC Touch Pro also includes a video-out port so people hook the device up to a larger screen or television and project a bigger image, a boon for activities such as giving presentations.

Price information was not immediately available for the device. As a reference, Touch Diamond will cost around NT$26,000 (US$857) when it launches in Taiwan next month. An EDGE-based (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution) version of the Touch Diamond launched in India last month at a price of 27,500 Indian rupees (US$646).

The price reflects some of the expensive features on board the device, which are similar to the Touch Pro; including GPS (Global Positioning System) and a 3.2-megapixel camera.

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Dan Nystedt

IDG News Service

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