For the first time since the inception of HTC, the company has an actual booth at a major expo. Up until now, they usually had a suite or something setup, where you can get in only with an invitation or a scheduled meeting. If you remember, a few years back HTC did not have a separate brand name and was selling its devices either as carrier branded or was manufacturing products for other brands. Apparently, now they feel their name is known well enough and having a separate booth is worth it.
Another first for the U.S. is the availability of an unlocked device directly from a major retailer. We are talking about the HTC Touch Dual US of course. The device is exactly the same as the European 20 key version (note that there is a 12-key version in the EU as well), with the major difference being the Windows Mobile 6.1 preloaded straight out of the box and of course US 3G support.
For those not familiar with the Touch Dual at all, it is a very sleek WM phone, which unlike the original Touch, features 3G, lacks Wi-Fi and has either a 12 or 20-key slide keypad.
Both EU and U.S. Duals feature second generation Touch-Flo technology. For all of you who are not familiar with it, it is just a fancy word for the interface, which HTC developed to make their devices more one-hand-friendly-operated and of course, not to miss the current trend of "touch" navigation (iPhone, Prada etc).
Talking about the iPhone, the Dual now features very similar touch image manipulations such are the gallery scrolling (same as on iPhone), the zooming in/out, which is activated by drawing a circle on the screen and depending on the direction, it either zooms in or zooms out. The other cosmetic changes concern the HTC Home screen, which is slightly different; the added tabs in the Stop All application with one showing the amount of available memory and when clicked, linking to the Memory application.
Expect to see the device sometime in May or June in Best Buy stores, with selling price of around $500. Before you run out to buy it, be sure to read our in-depth review on the 12-key version. We'll definitely update as soon as we get our review samples from HTC.
The second "major" announcement, again expected, is the XV6900 or the Touch CDMA for Verizon Wireless. In a nutshell, it is the exactly same Windows Mobile 6 device already offered from Sprint for a while, in a new white color. Unlike the GSM version, it does have 3G, but lacks Wi-Fi. The rest of the goodies are EV-DO, GPS and a 2.8" flat QVGA display.
The expected availability is April, and of course you are more than welcome to check out our in-depth review of the Sprint's version (only different color).