Tuesday, July 17, 2007

HTC Touch - A touch of heaven in 112gms

I am absolutely sold on the HTC Touch. After work today, I put my rush order in with my mobile service provider. I'm getting it at S$448 (RM1,009) by re-contracting my mobile service for another 2 years and cashing in my loyalty voucher.

Not a bad deal since I'm currently paying off-contract, S$29 a month for 80 free minutes of local calls and 100 free local sms (for paying using GIRO). Under the new contract, I'll be accessing promotional rates by paying the same $29 each month, but getting either (A) 160 free minutes or (B) 100 free local minutes + 500 free local SMS. The 100 free local SMS for GIRO payment remains.

The HTC Touch retails at S$798 at Singapore's telcos and electronics chain stores like Harvey Norman, Courts and Challenger. Apparently there's an independent retailer in Funan IT Mall selling it for S$739. So, I'm getting it at a S$350 discount. The Touch retails in Malaysia at RM2099 (S$933).

But why? Why a Windows Mobile 6 (WM6) machine when Microsoft has faithfully ported the dreaded blue screen of death from their desktop OS to pocket PCs (PPC)? Why take a risk on a PPC that is known to (a) hang regularly, (b) comes with a regular stylus because the TouchFLO interface unceremoniously dumps you back into the user-unfriendly WM6 environment each time you go beyond the customised finger-friendly launch-screens and (c) needs to be soft-rebooted to reconnect after momentarily losing the cellular signal? (See PPC-SG forums)

And why when the Touch uses a Texas Instruments OMAP processor which runs at a piddling 200MHz? And to drive a power-hungry OS like WM6?

That's like using a rubbish engine like Proton's CAMPRO to drive a heavy SUV.

Why not the Nokia N95 or Apple iPhone (both of which I have raved about)?

Well... all the N95 reviews I've read since it was launched confirm that the N95's battery will not last a single day even with a full charge and reasonable use. The N95's the perfect all-rounder, but only if you don't happen to use it very much.

And the iPhone's simply not here yet. And it won't be until the middle of next year. Even then, there's a great possibility that it'll be SIM-locked to a service provider, and of course the proprietry iTunes service. And its battery, it self destructs after 300-400 charges (like the iPod's apparently). And you have to ship the whole damn phone back to Apple (with all your pirated programs and dirty pictures of your girlfriend) to get it replaced. Best of all, Apple will charge you US$85 for this privilege. Thanks, but no thanks.

Most importantly, I'm just infatuated by the Touch's primal sexiness. The sheer slimness of the 13.9mm, keypad-less, flush display casing and of course, the pocket-sympathising 112gm kerb weight. It's like it was made to be caressed. When the salesgirl put it in my hand, I knew I had to have her... (the Touch, but the sales chick wasn't bad either).

With that kind of weight, slimness and size... WIFI and full internet browser that is perfectly designed for off-the-cuff impromptu coffee shop surfing (without having to lug heavy laptops all over the place like a goddamn nerd, just in case there's free WIFI somewhere), decent phone, universally acknowledged friggin loud ringtone (excellent when you're always missing calls in noisy public transport and crowded malls) and a myriad of WM6 3rd party applications... it's pretty damn near the holy grail. I just wish it came with a 5 megapixel camera with Xenon flash and Carl Zeiss lens.

More links:
CoolSmartPhones has a long, comprehensive review with lots of youtubes;
PCPro has a unique long term review about how it is to live with the Touch (weeks 1, 2 and 3);
MSMobiles has scanned the Read-Me-First user manual; and of course

And here's the HTC Touch television ad that got me hooked in the first place. I can't get that damn tune out of my head and it won't let me stop humming, dammit!

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