Touch-sensitive mobile phone screens have had their fair share of publicity of late thanks to the hype surrounding the launch of Apple’s iPhone. The latest entrant to this space, but offering a Windows Mobile alternative is Taiwanese company HTC with its new Touch device.

HTC, which partnered with Microsoft to launch the first smartphone running Windows Mobile back in 2002, has changed tactics with its latest offering, which is all about sleek looks and design, ease-of-use and touch-based rather than push-button based control.

“Mobile phone makers have done a great job of cramming ever-more exciting features into ever-smaller phones. But the way in which one accesses these increasingly sophisticated features has not kept pace. That ends today with the HTC Touch,” HTC CEO Peter Chou said.

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HTC Chief Marketing Officer, John Wang said, “We had to re-think the way people interact with a phone with an aim of keeping everything super-simple.”

Weighing in at 112g and measuring 13.9mm in thickness, the phone sports a 2.8-inch touchscreen, which with the flick of a finger will slide or rotate through the key functions, namely contacts, multimedia and applications such as email. A flick up or down will also allow you to work your way up and down a list of email or a Web page or document.

One-touch access is also provided for emails, text messages, calendar appointments and as well as current weather conditions and forecasts for hundreds of cities around the world. A full keyboard is available on-screen to type out your emails or texts, though handwriting recognition software is built-in also.

When asked how the phone compares to the iPhone, Chou said he has not looked at Apple’s touch-screen phone yet, though the HTC Touch was more “fine-tuned to the mobile operator and overall is a huge improvement on the previous Windows Mobile experience.”

Wang added, “We are happy Apple agrees with the direction we are taking towards touch-screen operation.”

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The device is the first to feature HTC’s TouchFlo software solution, though according to Chou, the solution does go deeper down into the hardware, so running TouchFlo on other Windows Mobile devices is not really possible.

Running Windows Mobile 6 Professional with Direct Push Email and HTML email support, the phone is GSM/GPRS/EDGE Tri-band: 900, 1800,1900, Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 b/g and Bluetooth 2.0 enabled.

The phone will be available through Optus, Officeworks and distributor Brightpoint from early July.

RRP: $699

See: www.htc.com

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