HTC launches Windows Mobile 6.1 Touch Diamond

Mobile handset maker HTC will be the first to market with a Windows Mobile 6.1 handset when it launches the HTC Touch Diamond in the UK next month.

The phone, which includes a touch-sensitive screen, 3D interface and both HSDPA and HSUPA mobile connections, will launch first on the Orange network in the UK. The phone will also ship with a customised web browser that HTC believes will significantly increase the handset's appeal to both consumers and business users, with additions such as the ability to scale the text automatically to the selected zoom level, and pages that change orientation from portrait to landscape, depending on how the phone is held.

Other enhancements include a 2.8 inch screen that offers near-print quality when displaying pictures and other images, and a customised YouTube application for viewing videos. The phone will also ship with Google Maps for location and traffic information. HTC has also improved the mobile email application included with the phone, for example by adding easy switching between mail accounts. The handset will work with business email accounts running on Microsoft's Exchange Server with Direct Push technology.

According to Peter Chou, chief executive of HTC, the Touch Diamond sets the standard that other phones released this year will have to meet. Whilst 2007 was the year of touch technology, 2008 will be the year when mobile web browsing will really mature as an application.

"This is the year that the mobile internet will become truly useful. We have tried to make the internet accessible with just a touch, and to recreate the sense of being on a desktop computer," said Chou. Businesses will benefit from being able to run a much wider range of web-based applications directly on handsets such as the Touch Diamond whilst users will be able to benefit from using most of the phone's functions with just one hand. The improved browser technology will be added to HTC business phones over the coming months, said Chou.

Orange is expected to launch the Touch Diamond for free on some contracts, whilst the unsubsidised, SIM-free handset will retail for around 500 (395).