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The 'Touch' from HTC

High Speed Internet on Your Phone

Adrian Biffen, senior partnerMy Bell Touch is a 3G (3rd generation) phone running Windows Mobile 6, although calling it a 'phone' is somewhat of a misnomer as it is a full blown computing platform in its own right. It has over a Gig of solid state memory (I installed a 1 GB storage card), a 320x240 QVGA touch Bell EVDO Touch phone by HTCscreen (64,000 colors), a 2 Megapixel camera/camcorder, GPS and a host of other features.

This phone is capable of communicating with an internet based database - see our online database demo.

Designed to compete with the 2G (2nd generation) Apple iPhone, it features several different types of 'soft' keyboards, handwriting recognition, voice control, as well as a familiar joystick button control for navigating around screens (which I hardly ever use because the touch screen works very well).

It is compact, light weight, and has a special rubbery coating that stops it from sliding out of your hand. It is the first unit I have ever seen that has a screen bright enough to be clearly viewed on a bright, sunny day.

It has a touch screen with gesture based software technology called TouchFLO 3D™. Gesture based technology is great: just drag your finger tip over the screen in certain directions to perform various functions like flipping through pictures or opening and rotating a menu cube.

Draw a clockwise circle on a picture and the TouchFLO system will detect your gesture and zoom in on the photo (counter clockwise to zoom out). This unit is clearly designed as a product that could compete with the 2G (second generation) iPhone from Apple®.

As a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant), you can use it to do anything you might do on a regular PC or laptop: word processing, spreadsheet, accounting, programming, graphics processing, etc. Keep in mind, though, that Windows Mobile is not the same as regular Windows® - you need to use apps written for that platform, often referred to as WM 6 (Windows Mobile 6) or PPC (Pocket PC).

Although the EVDO data section on my unit is operating with the original, slower Rev 0 (GPS disabled), it is very speedy and I don't find it that much different from using my cable modem (which runs download speeds at around 5 Mbps).

SPB Backup for Windows Mobile PPCI expect to have Rev A soon enough as these phones are flash upgradable, which means you can download a new version of the operating system and upgrade your phone with your laptop or PC via a USB cable. I'm waiting for the official upgrade so that I don't 'brick' my phone (see glossary for bricking), but there are hacked versions out there if you want Rev A (and GPS enabled) right now.

Note: If you decide to upgrade your Flash or just want to do a hard reset, be sure to use a backup program first, or you will lose all your settings, documents, contacts, etc. SPB Backup is a very good choice.

The Touch is also a reasonably good digital camera/camcorder (2 Megapixels) and I really enjoy being able to instantly send pictures via email to friends and family. It was too costly to do that from past phones, but the unlimited bandwidth plan I enjoy today makes it totally feasible.

HTC Touch sample photograph

Here's a sunset picture taken that I instantly transmitted home via email (above, reduced to less than half original size).

NEXT: Connecting your phone to your laptop with Activesync (XP) or WMDC (Vista)

See the official list of HTC Touch specifications from the HTC website