Ive just had a chat with Paul Ghent, executive director of HTC Europe, about the HTC Shift. I’ve also had some hands on.
Design wise its a very very nice product. The keyboard is good (not as good as SH6 but still, very useable. A similar experience to the SH6 but slightly slower. It feels nice in the hand and you can definitely thumb the keyboard while standing. The screen is bright, the 800Mhz Stealey seems to drive it at an acceptable pace.
The battery life on the device I has was poor. If you start browsing you can expect under 2 hours of battery life with WIFI on. However, our feedback about this being an issue for most users HAS filtered back to HTC and they are trying to do something about it. Personally I dont see much opportunity to improve that as its already an efficient device.The main issue is that they have designed a small battery into it to save on size and weight. My guess is that they are looking at ways to build a bigger battery into the Shift. We could see changes here but unfortunately it prolongs the painful wait for many people.
Regarding the screen size, yes its 800×480 and its going to stay that way. No 1024×600 screen. Its bright though. I was also quite impressed with the interpolated 1024×600 mode. Not perfect, of course, but as good as any device i’ve seen in interpolated mode. I wouldnt like to use it for long in this mode though.
Regarding the Windows Mobile component (which isnt Windows Mobile) it only seems to offer email, sms, contacts and address book functionality. Oh, and the all-important weather feature! Im not impressed with it to be honest. It could have been so much nicer with a full WM6 capability. Even the ability to type a simple document and access simple web pages would be good.
Price will be Euro 1200 (I couldn’t get any US info out of HTC Europe.) and it will be available in a 4 week window at the end of October. Its possibly going to be offered with XP and it WILL be offered through carriers. Carriers in Europe have shown interest and some are even talking about exclusive deals. As far as I know this is a first ultra mobile PC that will be offered through carriers.
I have taken plenty of video which ill be editing up soon but for now, thats about it. Ive asked (again) for a loan device but these prototypes don’t seem to be going anywhere at the moment. Expect people, including us, to get review models shortly before launch.