October 6 2009 Categorized Under: Cell Phones Tags; 1.5, 1Ghz, 2.0, 4.3inch, android, donut, dragon, eclair, hd2, htc, htc smartphone, large touchscreen, leo, MID, mobile processor, qualcomm, snapdragon, touch hd one Commented
HTC is really stepping it up these days. After several long weeks of speculations, rumors, spy shots and general gossip, the company has finally made the HTC Leo official. Only, it is not called the Leo, it is called the HD2. The HD2 is a large phone and I rather like it for that. This actually more MID and less smarthphone once you take a close look at it.
But there is this one thing that everyone is really ga-ga over — a 4.3inch capacitive touchscreen. I have been watching the hands on videos (find one on the other side) and it looks mighty decent. The responsiveness is quite good with 9 out of 10 touches doing what the user intended to do. That 1Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor sure is working its charms on the phone.
And just as you thought you would settle down and read all about the Leo, there is a new animal on the block and it’s a fantastic beast this time round. I am talking about the rumored Dragon, another device that looks like it will be powered by the Snapdragon. Continue to the other side for details.
The HD2 That Was Once Leo
HTC has really gone all out with this fantastic device and for once, I am looking at something that at can at least compete with the iPhone on fair terms. Well, the Snapdragon mobile processor is not it though, because the ARM chip on the iPhone 3GS is 600MHz. But the responsiveness and the acceleration and inertia algorithms look like they have been done right for a change.
The Sense UI works beautifully. HTC really took care to make it work well with Widows Mobile 6.5. It is common knowledge that Windows Mobile never really succeeded in wooing the touch phone crowd. Of course, if Steve Ballmer was here, he would agree and say what a bummer it is that we simply cannot skip 6.5 and go straight on to 7.
Coming back to the UI, it supports the now-common gestures such as pinch to zoom. The videos show gesture being used on the Opera MINI that is running on the phone.
Being the distant cousin of the Touch HD in some ways, the form factor is will seem familiar to those who have used that phone. The HD2 is larger than the Touch HD but manages to remain slim and sleek. The buttons on the face of the HD2 are minimalistic. There are exactly 5 points where you can press with one wide button containing two of those points. From the left there is – the send/receive button, the home key, the Windows key and the back key on one pad and on the right side is the end/power key. The keys are all low profile and unobtrusive.
The zoom panel on earlier HTC smartphones is missing here and that is because the Sense UI is good enough for it to be not needed.
This phone lacks a physical keyboard, just like the iPhone. While the virtual keypad does not seem to be as intelligent with errors as the one the iPhone, it is certainly a lot better than most of the other smartphones that we have seen so far. When you type on it, it will show you visual feedback of what letter was hit right over where your finger is.
The browser looks great on the larger screen and I we should all be glad that there is Opera Mini instead of the Internet Explorer’s mobile version. It makes everything that much easier.
The battery manages to stay slim and even though the larger screen and the faster processor must together make for quite a power guzzling machine, HTC promises a full day longevity of the battery.
Another thing that I like about the HD2 is the car holder. You will need a special battery cover for it though. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone out.
On the connectivity side, the HD2 has all the modern bells and whistles such as WiFi, HSPA, EDGE, GPRS, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS, etc. So you will not missing out on anything. Of course, if you are in the US you will have to miss out on the entire thing because the European version (which is what the Asian market will use) will come out first, followed by a Q1 2010 US release. [SlashGear post, Engadget post]
The Android Dragon
Not to start a geek fantasy saga here with that title but it seems like HTC has still more tricks up their sleeves and this one involves the Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile processor yet again. As you may have guessed from the title, HTC is apparently planning to release an Android phone that will have to Sense UI.
The hardware phone is nowhere to be seen and it is safe to assume that the hardware will resemble the HD2. That is because it has already been confirmed by the ones who have the software that this new implementation of Android is made for a capacitive phone. Besides, with the form factor fast becoming irrelevant, it is the software that we are really after. Because the iPhone won’t be the iPhone without the amazing iPhone OS. Okay, so I am a little biased on that front.
This new phone is being called the HTC Dragon and it is shaping up to be a Snapdragon phone running the Eclair (Android 2.0). As sweet as that sounds, if it has a screen like the HD2 it will be much more lucrative than the HD2 itself. Because let’s face it here – the Android Marketplace already has 10,000+ apps and it is growing. It is being developed by Google and is a fresh start in the smartphone category. Windows Mobile on the other hand can barely keep up and had it not been for HTC’s custom UI, we would not have seen such great Windows touchscreen phones. Name a comparable non-HTC Windows Mobile touchscreen phone and I will take my comment back.
We do have some screen shots to ogle at and they confirm the name HTC Dragon because that’s what it says on the setup and welcome screens. The name might change before release though. Even though the information screen says firmware 1.5, it will surely be 2.0 by time they release it sometime next year. [Phandroid]
Enjoy the pics.