So this is what I've been waiting years for. A device the same size as my XDA Mini S, that has a VGA screen. I was meaning to blog about this on Tuesday when HTC made the announcement, but things got in the way.

My Mini S is feeling pretty dated now, over two years old now, I upgraded it to Windows Mobile 6.1 a couple of months ago, been over-clocking it to try and keep it fresh, but I've been itching to update it, the XDA Stellar caught my eye, but it still has a QVGA screen as have all the 2.8 inch size devices - until now that is.

So Tuesday, HTC announced the Touch Diamond, the successor to their Touch from last year.

HTC Touch Diamond - Weather

Demonstration of the TouchFLO 3D interface:

Very swish, although I have to say I'm a little concerned about the performance of this interface. Like the previous version of TouchFLO found in the HTC Touch, XDA Orbit II and others it essentially acts as a replacement Today screen and if it isn't faster than using the standard Windows Mobile interface it seems kind of pointless for power users. I've played with TouchFLO, no longer in my current ROM (takes up a few MB storage wise), and of course PointUI but haven't kept it. Hopefully this runs good enough to act as a real replacement.

Anyway let's get to the important stuff, the hardware in this machine.

  • Processor Qualcomm® MSM7201A™ 528 MHz
  • Operating System Windows Mobile® 6.1 Professional
  • Display 2.8-inch TFT-LCD flat touch-sensitive screen with VGA resolution
  • ROM: 256 MB
  • Internal storage: 4 GB
  • Dimensions 102 mm (L) X 51 mm (W) X 11.5 mm (T)
  • Weight 110 g (with battery)

And then all the usual stuff we've seen in devices over the last year GPS, 3G (7.2Mbps). I have to say these specs to impress me, a 528Mhz CPU is never found in these small Pocket PC phones, a whopping 192MB of RAM just seems insane and of course the VGA screen, that's something like 240 DPI and blows everything else out of the water.

Windows Mobile 6.1 is welcome, there's always the fear they'd stick 6 on the device. It has a non-telescopic stylus! They're bundling Opera 9.5 on it, that's good I typically use Opera 8 for most web browsing on my Mini S (although 8 is still lacking in many areas). A lot of the Google fans were expecting HTC to announce a phone with Android on it - get real nobody cares about Android, Windows Mobile = Doom and Quake and thousands of other Windows Mobile applications. ;)

It's got a few bad points, a shiny (read: fingerprint-magnet) surface, I'm hoping O2 will get rid of that, assuming the carriers will have as much range of customisation as HTC's other phones. It also lacks a memory card slot, instead relying on the built in storage, OK fair enough but they said adding a memory card slot would stick an extra 2mm on the depth of the thing. It also doesn't have a standard Mini-USB port, instead its those Mini-USB ports that are slightly different shaped to send audio out to headphones - I'm sure that will annoy me at some point. (Update: although it doesn't have a regular mini-USB port it is completely compatible).

Anyway, despite my love of this device, I'm not getting this one. I'm waiting for the HTC Raphael. Same basic thing only with a slide out qwerty keyboard, like my Mini S. Rumour has it, it will feature a memory card slot, and lose its built in storage, and get a bit fatter due to the keyboard but other than that will be identical.

Granted I mainly use the on-screen keyboard on my Mini S, but I find myself making too many mistakes if I'm moving around, on the bus its unusable, on the train it makes it too slow to correct the mistakes with the on-screen keyboard, so its good to have a physical qwerty keyboard there ready, or if you need to hammer out something quite long.

The Diamond will be available next month on the five main carriers in the UK, North America has to wait until Q3 or Q4 this year. I'm hoping the Raphael won't be too far behind, and that O2 will be able to keep the things in stock.