updated 11:05 pm EST, Sun December 6, 2009
HTC plans majority Android in 2010
A leaked HTC roadmap posted this weekend has revealed that the majority of the company's smartphones for the first half of 2010 will run Android, not Windows Mobile. Of the eight phones slated for launch in the XDA slip, five run Google's platform and are aimed at more interesting categories such as Performance, Design/Lifestyle and Social. The Windows Mobile devices are all relegated to a Productivity category.
The Android phones are led by the Bravo, a Performance category device that would be the first Android phone capable of 720p DivX playback; it would run on a fast 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, a wide VGA AMOLED touchscreen, a 5-megapixel camera as well as the typical 3G, GPS and Wi-Fi. The Legend heads up the Design/Lifestyle category and appears to be a direct successor to the Hero that adds an AMOLED screen, a faster 600MHz processor and a flash for the 5-megapixel camera. It's joined in the category by the Salsa, an apparent refresh of the original QWERTY Android prototype that adds HTC's signature "kink" and a touchscreen; it would be less expensive with a 3.2-megapixel camera and a 528MHz processor.
The Social division would start with the Tide, a unique candybar design with a number pad, a touchscreen and the same internal specs as the Salsa. A touch-only Buzz model appears to replace the customizable Tattoo and would borrow design elements of the Touch2; it would be an upgrade compared to either thanks to a capacitive touchscreen, a 5-megapixel camera, 3G, GPS and Wi-Fi.
By comparison, the Windows Mobile 6.5-based Productivity phones are relatively conventional. The Photon would be a downscaled parallel to the HD2 with a 600MHz processor, a 3.2-inch resistive touchscreen and a 5-megapixel camera. The Trophy would be a typical fixed QWERTY smartphone with similar hardware, and the Tera would be a successor to the Touch Pro2 with the same tilting QWERTY slider but the faster processor and a 3.2-megapixel camera.
The Legend should lead off with a March release window but will be quickly followed up by the Bravo, Photon and Tide in April. HTC would ship the Buzz and Trophy in May, while the Salsa wouldn't ship until June. No release date is given for the Tera but may include June. All of them are referenced for T-Mobile and will likely ship to various divisions of the carrier around the world, though none of them appear to be immediately launching in North America.
While the release of Windows Mobile 7 in the second half of 2010 is likely to improve the operating system's position in HTC's lineup, the shift to Android in the first half is a symbolic defeat for Microsoft. HTC has regularly been Microsoft's single largest device customer but, if true, will have flipped from selling just one Android phone in late 2008 to a majority Android line about 1.5 years later. Other firms like Motorola, Palm and Sony Ericsson have also been shying away from Windows Mobile, though their smaller overall market share has had less of an impact.
Most critics of Windows Mobile have claimed this hesitation stems from the lack of a finger-friendly interface, native support for capacitve touchscreens and a historically slow, inaccurate web browser. [via BGR]
Windows Mobile 6.5 phones