updated 10:10 am EDT, Wed September 2, 2009
HTC Touch2 to launch with Windows Mobile 6.5
HTC used the start of IFA in Berlin to introduce a new range-topping smartphone. Previously codenamed the Mega, the Touch2 is the first phone set to ship with Windows Mobile 6.5 and gets the Microsoft platform's more touch-friendly interface as well as the more accurate Internet Explorer Mobile instead of Opera from earlier models. The latest version of HTC's own TouchFLO nonetheless sits on top and provides surface access to calendars, contacts, media and the web without having to navigate through the deeper interface.
Its actual hardware is a step back from the Touch Diamond2 and involves a smaller 2.8-inch, 320x240 touchscreen, albeit with the same zoom strip to make magnification easier. A 3.2-megapixel camera, GPS and Wi-Fi are stock. HTC has lived up to its promise of including a 3.5mm headphone jack, but the 7.2Mbps 3G access currently omits the 850MHz band and so won't work properly in North America.
HTC's coordination with Microsoft is self-evident as the Touch2 will ship at the same time as the formal launch of Windows Mobile 6.5. Asia and Europe will be the first to get the existing version; HTC often adapts its phones sometime after their introductions to bring them to the US but hasn't detailed any plans.
The rollout is a relatively low-key one for Microsoft, which is counting on Windows Mobile 6.5 to help protect its declining smartphone market share as it loses ground to Apple, RIM and even HTC's Android-based phones. All of these use capacitive, more finger-friendly touchscreens and until Windows Mobile 6.5 had the advantage of their own centralized app stores and more accurate web browsers.