It’s been quite a day here in London with HTC rolling out the red carpet treatment in recognition of the launch of their new Touch Diamond handset. We’ll certainly be the first to admit that we were a bit underwhelmed by the Touch Diamond announcement when it first hit. The phone has been circulating the web for a week or two now, and we were really hoping that the company would announce a full line of handsets, including the rumored Raphael with a full QWERTY keyboard. While we would still like to have seen a bit more from the Taiwanese company today, upon reflection, we think that the launch is certainly deserving of merit and accolade.
The TouchFLO 3D interface is, in a word, amazing. If you thought the original TouchFLO skin was impressive (or even unimpressive) than you’re in for a big surprise here. This is, without a doubt, the most un-Windows Mobile-like Windows Mobile interface we’ve ever seen, and that’s a good thing. The graphics, which rely on their own 3D accelerator chip, are stunning, and the entire user experience is exceptionally well thought through. Hyper-intuitive design is the term than comes to mind, with most every action, from contact scrolling to music selection, thought through from the perspective of a uninformed user. It’s not dumbed down, it’s just simple and straight forward. One of the most impressive features is the way that the browser automatically resizes zoomed chunks of text for easy reading and consumption. Think Mobile Safari, but even more readable. The introduction of the Touch Diamond before the Raphael or Touch Pro Dual also makes sense, as HTC is clearly trying to showcase the innovations they’ve made in the Touch UI arena before moving on to more extensive hardware revisions. That’s not to say we wouldn’t have loved a TyTN III or Mogul II announcement, but when viewed from a marketing and customer orientation perspective, their process starts to make a bit more sense.
Again, we would have loved to see more new stuff today — Android, Raphael, etc, but we’re confident that HTC is making some pretty good moves and laying a solid foundation for their future product lines. Was the event today worthy of the hype? Maybe not, but it’s by no means the misstep we initially thought it to be.