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HTC Touch “IPhone killer”: Nice, but no big deal

I say this, because this new phone isn’t a particularly dramatic departure in mobile phone development. The HTC Touch phone is still built on Windows Mobile 6, so it’s not a new operating system, but rather a kind of souped-up windows skin. In fact you can very clearly still see the Windows Mobile 6 header and footer on the HTC Touch interface. So, as beautiful as the new Touch phone looks, I wouldn’t put it in the same league as the IPhone. It’s certainly not an “IPhone Killer” as some have called it.

I was invited to the local launch recently, but couldn’t make it — but I have done quite a bit of investigating (I have a gadget fetish). The HTC Touch interface does look great. It’s much better than the default Windows Mobile interface, which in the IPhone interface era, now has a distinctly dated look.

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It’s obvious that HTC were influenced by the IPhone if you compare the design: The dark colours, smooth, glossy gradients and 3D etching. So, in many ways, as merely a copy that is built on top of another OS, it makes this phone a poor cousin of the IPhone. (For a comparison, see this comprehensive video review of IPhone). I suppose you could argue though that every current phone is a poor cousin of the Iphone.

I’m a fan of HTC products and I was also previously a big Imate fan. I’ve never quite liked the Windows Mobile interface, and I am gobsmacked that they haven’t fixed the issue where your contacts’ first and last names are rearranged whether you like it or not… leading to a complex cut & paste to fix. I also often find that there are software lags on these WM devices, which is inexcusable in the fast, digital age. But I use Windows Mobile, because it’s Windows and the path of least resistance… but also because you can get a wide amount of programs and hacks for your phone.

If the HTC Touch interface is just a program on top of Windows Mobile 6, then surely my new HTC P4350 and other Windows Mobile devices could run the Touch interface?. I know HTC is trumpeting something called “TouchFlo”, but how much different is this from normal touch screens? Surely this would not be an insurmountable barrier for normal WM HTC phones to run — more-or-less efficiently — on the Touch interface? In any case, I hardly use my stylus on my current phone, mostly using my fingers.

By the way if you want to turn your windows device into a pseudo Iphone, there are skins available that you can download to turn your Windows phone into an Iphone replica. Fun for about a day, then it gets boring. Also see The Register’s HTC Touch phone review.

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