HTC Touch HD Has Me Dreaming of Better Things to Come

We’re possibly weeks away from the next step in the mobile revolution and fans are clamoring for more Android goodies by the day.  With HTC working on the hardware side of things, I’ve felt very confident all along that what we get to hold in our hands will be something powerful and yet at the same time, sexy.  As the videos and pictures started trickling online, we’re starting to get a sense for what is waiting around the corner.

Don’t get me wrong at all.  I couldn’t be more excited about Android.  I’ve been saying for as long as I can remember that Android will be known for what it does, not how it looks.  The problem is though that looks will play a factor in many people’s decisions whether to purchase or not.  I can’t help but get the feeling that I am not the only one who felt a slight bit of “really?” when I saw the still shots of a white version of the handset.

I know exactly why this is.  For almost a year now, we’ve done nothing but imagine what devices with Android will look like.  It couldn’t possibly live up to the hype, could it?

Take a look at this picture of the new HTC Touch HD.  It’s simply stunning to look at.  Sleek, sexy, and begging for attention, I am in love with it at first site.  It boasts 512MB ROM and 288MB RAM as well as a 5MP camera on the back.  Let’s see, there’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack, a front VGA camera and an 800 x 480 screen.  I’ve already heard people asking why the Dream doesn’t look as elegant as this and I have a few answers.

First and foremost, HTC has been working with Windows Mobile for quite a long time and knows what kind of hardware and software mix will work well.  They’ve even got their own user interface created to slap on top of the stale looking Microsoft OS.  HTC has been perfecting the Windows Mobile experience for us, not the guys in Redmond.  For years now, this was their bread and butter.

The second reason the phone we’ve seen in the videos is not as “purdy” as this is that at some point HTC, Google, and T-Mobile have had to take the hardware as it was and focus on the operating system.  To make sure that you think of Android is everything you’ve hoped for comes down to the software.  It’s not the look of the phone that will knock your socks off.  It won’t be the case with this first model, nor will it likely ever be.

HTC now knows what Android looks like and feels like.  They have what they need to go back to the labs and get started on the next incarnation.  I get even more excited to find out what’s next from them as each new device is announced, Android or not.

Like I said earlier, please don’t misconstrue my words.  If what I’m reading in today’s news is true, then we’re in for a real treat.  This doesn’t even take into consideration the fact that we might have been fed red herrings all along.  Maybe the stuff in the videos and pictures is still all just reference models.  Maybe we’ve been thrown onto a different trail as part of some elaborate ruse. Until someone stands on a stage and demonstrates an actual device, a fella can still dream a little bit.

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  1. **HTC has been working with Windows Mobile for quite a long time and knows what kind of hardware and software mix will work well.**

    That’s a good point there…. Though it helps in making of a good phone in the end, it is no excuse for Dream looking ugly… no one is complaining about the hardware specs of Dream…problem is how the phone looks on the outside….I’m sure that has nothing to do with what OS lies beneath or how well the manufacturer understands the OS.

  2. Well sure the outside shell looks VERY non-HTC (it’s confirmed now this is the final look…. at Google’s developer day), but on the inside, I’m not happy with the chosen screen resolution, and the lack of flash support for a phone geared for mobile internet.

  3. TareX….also strangely, it says to press the menu to unlock the device.. what happened to the ‘connect the dots’ system demoed at IO.
    I doubt if HTC are putting this android as it is on Dream… They are sure to modify it to suit their aesthetics… remember they have been working on android much before OHA was announced…. They cannot take on iPhone with this interface…. i’m comfortable with it but public has seen iPhone & they expect any phone to better it & it’s not their fault…. There are so many doubts, questions….. i hope everything will end on 23 on a positive note. :)

  4. Yeah I’m sure the software will look a lot more polished than the one demoed. But with the tape covering, the design is almost official. This is, unfortunately, the G1. Android’s first handset, and HTC’s worst design.

  5. I hope HTC produce this Htc Touch HD in two version, one with WM and one with Android.
    In negative answer, I attending a porting of Android for this fantastic smartphone!!!

    G1 in the rumors isn’t the Dream smartphone, for example the camera is low quality,
    the look isn’t very attractive, no radio, accelerometer???

    Two question:
    1) in Android OS is implemented a virtual keyboard?
    2) in G1 preview the display touchscreen is resistive o capacitive? in glass?

    Thaks very much

  6. “Yeah I’m sure the software will look a lot more polished than the one demoed.”

    You said it right there……. so can the hardware too… HTC’s reputation has already been damaged because of the leaked pics…. they cannot counter it by leaking the real Dream pics themselves… it’s against their plans…. What that developer was trying to do i think is to lessen the damage….. If he had shown the t-mo logo it would be allover the internet that ‘this is the real Dream & it is ugly’… Just wait for a week for the surprise…

  7. If anyone here thinks Microsoft will let HTC sell an Android powered phone here in the U.S. they are seriously delusional. Page one, paragraph one of any OEM licensing agreement with Microsoft says “You will NOT offer hardware with any other operating system other than Windows…”

    Been to Best Buy, Circuit City, etc lately? Seen any Linux machines for sale? No? Wonder why? Look to the law suits, threats and FUD Dell is facing for their “rebellion”. HP is being forced to write their own OS from scratch as not to be sued out of existence for breaking their Windows licensing agreement.

    You will probably be able to import a Touch HD running Android from the far east, sure, but no native US version – over Redmond’s dead body.

  8. @ GreenLeaf

    Carriers slap their skins on top of OSes in a blink, before handset releases. That’s how easy it is to change software.

    But as far as hardware goes, the demoed black Android phone with the tape covering the logos SCREAMS “This is the official end product”.

  9. I do not get this article… I mean android was built to power on several devices… The CTIA phone was FUGLY that was showing the demo, however Android looked great… Andy Ruben wants a release similiar to that of an iphone, so people arent saying bad things??? I think visual hardware are just as important as software stack, they go hand in hand… Just because a car has a great engine doesnt mean people are going to buy it if its ugly…. HTC shame on you!!!! GOOGLE shame on you to allow that ugly phone to run your first release…. This goes against the Android alliance… Android should be ready to go on the HD HTC…. That is what android is all about, a software stack powerful enough to power on mulitple devices… Why the G1??? This is going to give a bad name to HTC, Tmobile, and Android. It doesnt support most of the concepts in which it is trying to market… It shows lack of versitility of the software stack, it shows Tmobile just wants something iphone comparable and willing to market ANYTHING to be first even if laughable, and shows HTC lack of innovation in hardware design…. BOOOOOOO!!!!

  10. I guess to sum up my thoughts, it reminds me of a science project that was completed the night before, that you had all year to work on… Maybe youll get a good grade, or maybe the teacher will notice, but this thing definately fairs poorly thus far because of the push of a time line, and definately screams last minute crap….

    Have a feeling apple will definately be laughing…

  11. @ Steve

    calm down friend…. who said that phone was going to be the Dream? did Google/HTC say that was the phone they are launching….. wait till 23…. you’ll be surprised… they already have got enough bad mouthing from the press… Just give them a chance to announce it….

    if they release something as ugly as those pics, i’ll also join you in bashing them!! ;)

  12. @Todd

    Yes, I’ve been to Best Buy and not only do they have Apple computers, they also have Linux machines for sale.

    But I agree, for the most part, M$ is all about forcing companies to sell their product and no one else’s.

  13. At this point, I am pretty sure that the banana-phone-with-the-chin IS the first G1. It was important for Google to release a phone with a real keyboard – that is much more conducive for long time spent online than a virtual keyboard. Also, remember that Andy Rubin, Larry Page, Sergey Brin were all fans of the original Sidekick design, which this phone resembles to a certain extent (slide out screen to reveal the keyboard).

    The looks of a cell phone are like the looks of a prospective partner – the first time you meet, looks make all the difference. But once you get to know the person really well and start interacting with their personality, the looks factor will kinda take a back seat. Every time you meet them, after the initia few seconds, you will be too busy interacting with the person, to notice the looks. It will be the same with the G1. Once we all get used to the new form-factor, we’ll find it eminently acceptable cuz the software will blow us away.

    AND, not to worry, Android phones of every look, feel and form factor will follow in a flood next year and the year after. So, those who don’t like the G1 and have the patience to wait, can sit tight and look forward to all the goodness to follow in the coming year or two.

  14. The HTC Touch HD is just about the exact form factor I would be looking for myself. I have to admit I haven’t used a Sidekick before, but I tried one of the smaller LG flip phones and Blackberry phones and I’m no faster on a hard keyboard. True, you get to see a larger screen when using a hard keyboard than a soft keyboard in landscape mode (it drives my bonkers that apple won’t fix the fact that their landscape keyboard only works in certain apps), but on 3.8″ screen with a landscape keyboard, I’m sure I can type fast enough. The advantage of a soft keyboard is simplicity – no hinges, sliders, etc. to break and the phone can be thinner.

    But I’ll probably get a G1 anyway (or if I’m really unsatisfied after checking it out, I’ll just get the iPhone 3G and wait 2 years before looking again). For the phone I really want, I would say this Touch HD is extremely close, but I want an even larger screen. I think 800×480 is good (I used to think I wanted 1280×720, but the 16:9 format doesn’t work as well on a phone I don’t think and 320+ DPI is probably overdoing it. But I want 4.3″ diagonal, not 3.8″ I can’t focus any closer than 8″ so the bigger angle subtended by a larger screen is better for viewing photos and maps. This size screen (4.3″ 800×480) is getting more common right now (it is on the HP iPaq 310 GPS) and would fit on a slightly bigger phone (124x67mm, the touch HD is 115x63mm). Maybe someday.


  15. This is going to be a huge let down if the phone in the video is infact the G1. In that case, I would be concerned that HTC was actually acting on behalf of MS, Apple, RIM, etc. to undermine android…
    Seriously, the Touch HD, the regular Touch and the Touch pro have been getting a fair bit of press lately, and HTC’s name showcased in every commentary on those beautiful phones. Now, coming out with such an amateurish design as what is shown on the video simply says: “you know us, we could have done way better… we just didn’t want to.”
    Conspiracy theories aside, I wish the G1 would look a bit more like the phone in the “AT&T coming up with an android phone” article. That looks a lot better than this “reference model…”
    By the way, did any one notice that phone seems to have a trackball too… I really wish!

  16. I’m still a bit torn. HTC has been pushing out some astonishingly designed phones this year. The Diamond has shown that HTC knows how to design a phone from software to hardware. It’s just as pretty as any iPhone and the new Touch HD simply looks stunning. I’ve been waiting for Android for months now, but I’m thinking that HTC might have something even more inpressive with the Touch HD. I’m torn between a stunning design that offers the same old software or incredible software that has a dated design.

  17. I’m also torn – I’ve been waiting for the first ANdroid phone- the G1- the Dream, the Google Phone- whatever you want to call it- but this Dream HD is awesome! I hate i-phones and my MDA’s touch screen is broken so I’m just waiting for my next HTC phone- I am also dreaming that we have been fooled- that a phone like the HD will be released for us here in US- I want my dream and I want my HD- I want Android- but yeah, what if I have to stay with windows? hm… dual os? HEHE

  18. I’m so hoping that there will be some kind of bait and switch with the hardware. I’m still trying to imagine using the qwerty keyboard with that “nub” on the end.

  19. I agree with you’all. Phone looks like crap. I wonder if all that press about problems integrating feature set of google, etc. awhile back are not made evidence in this craptastic design.

    Touch HD… why could you not be the dream… why?!?

    Just not fair.

  20. Oh, and the OS is kinda cool… but not freakin awesome. It still doesn’t have the polish of the iphone. Argue what you want I can promise most reviewers will say that same thing. It’s fast, it beats winmo but lacks polish.

    The big promise Android has is in the app development, and enhancement you could do to the OS. But that takes time.

    And why no freakin’ 3.5″ headphone jack. For an ugly phone that is supposed to be function over form they forgot something pretty damn important.

    Ok, I’m pissed because I was so excited.

  21. I think we are all going to suprised on the 23rd when the Touch HD is revieled to all of us as the first Android device. What is going to be more suprising is the fact that TMO is the first to get an IPhone buster.

  22. Wow there’s optimism and then there’s false hope. The Touch HD is a Windows Mobile device. It will NOT be announced on Monday as an Android device.

  23. So… I think I may bite the bullet and stick with the windows based HD. Realistically, Windows meets my expectations and requirements out of a phone. If there is any way to get Android on to the Touch HD.. I’ll drop windows. (fast)

    Form does have a lot of weight on my electronic purchases.. (same with the majority of consumers) I suppose this is the launching pad for the platform.. this one is no iPhone killer for that simple reason.

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