Attack of the iClones: HTC Touch HD Edition

Confession: My secret, innermost desire for the iPhone 3G was a 420p display. I knew Apple wouldn't do it yet -- there was nothing in their simultaneously released SDK to support any other resolutions -- but still... I wants-ded it!

Imagine my fanboy chagrin, then, when HTC goes and not only makes a device in exactly the same dimensions as the iPhone 3G (obvious much?), but slaps a monstrous 800x480 display on the beast! (Not to mention a 5(!) megapixel camera)

The HTC Touch HD (which we're pretty sure means "Hi Dieter!" -- see the afore-linked WMExperts for why...) represents the next expansion of HTC's Touch brand -- something spread so thin Asus' Eee marketeers are wincing. It may seem questionable to show the HD off this early (it's not expected to land until 2009, and doesn't even seem to support US 3G frequencies yet) since, frankly, who's not gonna put off Osbourne-ing a Touch, Touch Duo, Touch Diamond, Touch Pro, etc. when this baby's around the bend, but we're guessing the announcement was aimed more at Apple's gut than any potential customers' wallet.

And in that regard -- ouch!

Sure, it doesn't have the Apple/iPod ecosystem behind it and it's still using TouchFLo 3D to try to hide the UE (user exasperation) that is Windows Mobile 6.1, and multiple layers of OS are never a Good Thing, but this is the first iClone that's actually got us worried.

Apple, you've got almost four months until Macworld 09, and we've got three newly urgent words for you: iPhone HD, b'okay?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Attack of the iClones: HTC Touch HD Edition


I'm more looking forward to seeing a better camera and video recording on the third iPhone. I guess higher res would just naturally come with that =P

~this is the first iClone that’s actually got us worried.~
Worried? About what? What is it about a new product coming to market that "worries" you specifically? Is it just that you're afraid that a better product will be released and you'll be seen carrying around your dingy old iPhone? What will people say?? How very unfashionable. It's like the day you came to school in your acid washed jeans, only to discover, NO one was wearing acid washed jeans anymore. Yup, it's exactly like that.
I'd be more concerned if HTC was taking its cues FROM Apple and locking down the system so as to exercise control over what can and can not be installed on the device.
Also, the iPhone form factor is hardly unique or original...I'm looking at you, LG the phrase "iClone" is hardly accurate. But whatevs, it's catchy.
"we’re guessing the announcement was aimed more at Apple’s gut than any potential customers’ wallet" - Although iPhone's market share is growing, it's still not exactly a threat to actual smartphones, and until they open up the OS, never will be. So for that reason, I highly doubt HTC is aiming ANY of its attention at the underdog. They may be trying to improve on a great UI and form factor, sure, but their target is RIM and Nokia. Just like everyone else. To make a claim like any phone maker is trying to get Apple is like saying GM is trying to outdo Peugeot. If you'd said "Leach off Apple's design success," well, then, OK.
"this is the first iClone that’s actually got us worried."... :shakes head sadly:
Let it be knows, however, that I am a proud iPhone owner and that I absolutely love the device, even with its many many flaws and Apple's Orwellian control practices. But I'm not blinded by the Reality Distortion Field like so many other bloggers. And I sure as HELL am not counting the days until Macworld 09.

People have yet to get the message that its the software that's the innovative thing not the hardware, which is a nonce arms race: we will continue to see more pixels, more MIPS, more everything packed into a more or less attractive package. The fact remains that whats innovative about the iPhone is the multitouch-enabled software UI, not the details of a particular instantiation in hardware, which will always change and (hopefully) improve. HTC Touch HD looks like an impressive hardware platform in 2009, but its achilles heel will be the software:
"Sure, it doesn’t have the Apple/iPod ecosystem behind it and it’s still using TouchFLo 3D to try to hide the UE (user exasperation) that is Windows Mobile 6.1, and multiple layers of OS are never a Good Thing"

ryan......I agree whole heartedly. Apple did not invent anything with this ol' Palm 750 had a touch screen. I think what a lot of people are misssing is that while the BB's (I'm am ex-Curve user) are work / play devices that also play music, the iPhone is a toy. It serves no real useful purpose, as the apps have shown us. (FLASH LIGHT!!! I mean, come on) It is a limited platform (THANKS Apple) from which to work from. As I said before, the other's are phone / messaging devices that play music, this thing is an iPod that makes phone calls. I can't watch video clips from my local news reports in my home town, BUT, I can watch an idiot fall off a skateboard on YouTube. Can't get streaming video but can pay $3.99 to "rent" a 15 year old movie, THAT I ALREADY OWN!!! The concept is golden....the execution failed. Now, we have Apple, in some secret meetings, killing apps AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN DEVELOPED, which makes me want to run out and spend all my free time trying to come up with something. Sad. Macworld will be a repeat of Let's Rock. Same old stuff with new pretty faces......

Ok Ryan. Well then... you go switch to another device that is better then. If one does exist.
For me a better device would need to beat the iPhone in this way.
*Would need a better web browser
*Would need better Media player, something better then the IPOD + iTunes.
*Would need better ease of use for ANYTHING. keeping in mind how easy it is to do things on the iPhone
*Would need to be faster and more stable
*Would need to have MORE Apps and more games
*Would need to have a better, faster and stronger UI
You let me know if a device comes out that meets these parameters.
You say Apple is doing this... apple is doing that..
Quit blowing Smoke man. So it hasn't beat the market share? So what
It's the best device out. PERIOD. give it time.

It's inarguable that Apple does not innovate, but takes existing technologies, be they the CLI, the WIMP, the MP3 player, the Multi-touch handset, and creates drop-dead simple, spectacularly designed mass-market devices out of them that bring them fully into the mainstream as the Apple II, Mac, iPod, or iPhone.
Nothing new there. Certainly nothing to be surprised about now.
However, it's equally undeniable that the current slate of smartphones from other manufacturers are a direct response to the iPhone. Sure, Palm had the touchscreen back with the Treo 600. But they kept releasing the same stale version with minor bumps for years and years afterward. Same with Blackberry and messaging.
They became complacent.
Apple didn't. They took hyper-select features and made something that woke up the industry.
Unfortunately, instead of being equally innovative, the industry seems content to now merely ape the iPhone, albeit with spec bumps.
HTC is impressive, but they're making iClones which is sad. Same with RIM. I want the next great WinMo, the next great Palm, the next great Blackberry. Not the next poor iClone.
And what's truly sad is that, absent Apple, no one else is likely to give it to us. Not even the neckbeards in the back closet claiming they had all this on their 100lbs kit phone PIM back in the 70s...

Did you actually browse through the productivity and organizational apps? or did you just look at one app "flashlight", or are you just blowing smoke as well.
I'm using tons of useful apps everyday. Go back to the curve and open up a webpage in 20+ seconds.

*For me a better device would need to beat the iPhone in this way.
• Hokey-dokey:
*Would need a better web browser
• Done. HTC runs Opera Mobile, a browser that is also based on WebKit, as Safari is. The lack of multi-touch means you can't zoom in or out as easily, but OM actually reflows web pages to fit the screen...something Safari does NOT do.
*Would need better Media player, something better then the IPOD + iTunes.
• You mean, like, any of the myriad free players available on the market?? Or the hundreds of ports & clones of iTunes scattered around the Internetz? Oh you mean a sanctioned WinAmp, which does exactly what iTunes does but weighs 1/10 of iTunes bloated install, does not try to act like a browser and OS all in one, and does NOT force you to install 3rd party apps via its interface. OK, when one comes along, I'll let you know.
*Would need better ease of use for ANYTHING. keeping in mind how easy it is to do things on the iPhone
• Touch Flow. Have you used Touch Flow? It's remarkable amazing. Rather than scatter your applications across an infinnite number of home pages, you have a "home bar" onto which everything is contained and Sub-Directed, a-la the PS3 interface. Pretty groovy.
*Would need to be faster and more stable
• BB Storm (née Thunder) has a significantly faster processor, and RIM's OS has been proven on a thousand battlegrounds the world over. The HTC Diamond is super slick and I have yet to see it crash. The HTC Touc HD will be a marrying of the 2, with a proc that's somewhere in teh neighbourhood of 30% faster ( I don't have specs and I'm too lazy to look them up, so excuse my guesswork here.)
*Would need to have MORE Apps and more games
• ALL UI's have more apps and more games. ESPECIALLY WinMo. Or do you mean "More apps and more games that the company said I was allowed to install?" Cuz ya, only Apple has that.
*Would need to have a better, faster and stronger UI
• Stronger? Not sure what that means. Regardless, I agree with your there, the iPhone UI pwns...becaues I'm an Apple fan. You're talking personal preference here and there's no right answer, so I can't speak to that.
Regardless, I love my iPhone, and despite your invitation to "go switch to another device that is better then. If one does exist", I'll stick with it, even though better devices, plainly, exist.
To respond to this post, please use your iPhone to copy-and-paste this text into an MMS message.

Yes Ryan there's tons of mp3 players out there believe me for PC and mobile devices I've tried them all. Not a single one has ever beat the iPod for me. None of them have been more stable easier to Use and more importantly to SYNC.
I used to be that 17 yr old teen who napter'd his music and had all the billion mp3 programs out there.
But now I'm 25. I like paying for my music. And I don't like fixing things and working to make them work for me.
You buy the iphone and out of the box it's ready to go.
I've had winmo as well, and don't get me started on installing apps and upgrading them.
People complain about app store but why??? It doesn't make sense it's so easy it amazes me. Just pick an app and done you got it.
And i've used opera as well it's pretty amazing
But when you stack it up against multi touch web surfing, full web pages, and the fact that so many good sites are making iPhone sites (I'm posting this from my iPhone)
I don't see anything beating the iPhone web surfing experience anytime soon.
-posted from my iPhone

@SuckingAtJobsTeat (I mean iPhoneMilk) <--jk
~I like paying for my music~ - really?!? 87
All jokes aside...
If I didn't agree with you on the personal preference level, then I wouldn't have bought an iPhone. iPod is my fave UI as well. But just because it's our personal fave doesn't make it the best. It's limited as shit (.flac ME?!? .FLAC YOU!!!), and iTunes' DRM practices are among the worst in the industry.
~You buy the iphone and out of the box it’s ready to go.~ - hardley. You have to tether the iPhone with iTunes to unbrick it. Who does that?
As for the App's a flawe system. Any walled garden system is. It's a form of omnipresence and control, which should absolutely positively NOT be present on a personal device such as a mobile, or a PC, or a laptop, or anything else in that vein. The App Store would be a nice OPTION, but to close out the device to 3rd party apps you can install yourself...well that's just stupid.
Opera is the same as I said, it's's the iPhone OS you're talking about when you refer to multi-touch. As far as the phrase "so many good sites are making iPhone sites"...come on man, you can't be serious. That's the biggest pile of crap evar...had Safari been designed to re-jig page layout, mobile versions of web pages would never be necessary. I admit, having a Facebook or a Google app on my iPhone home page is silghtly more convenient, but that's about it.

Haha... Sucking on Job's Teet... no seriously i laughed at that one =D
Dude... there's more iPhone Designed pages... many useful ones.. What about all those Bank of america bankers out there? That alone is very useful. Yeah facebook and google are some of the early adopters.. but come on. It's a nice +. And i've had a Treo, a Blackberry, a WinMo. I never saw things like this until the iphone came out.
As far as the iPOD is concerned.. i don't think we can argue about if the IPOD is the best mp3 player out there.. it's clear that it is. they won a long time ago. Shoot... i'm not bias'd either I even had both ZUNEs!!!! gasp
Yeah i know a lot of people don't agree with Apple's practices with DRM and also the APP Store. but the App Store is brand new. i'm going to give them the benefit of D assuming that it will hopefully be smoothed out soon.
Things like that "RICH" App needed to be removed... but i know some other apps i can think of which should not have been removed.. There should be a more defined rule set for the developers for guidelines that way they can know in advanced on what they are developing.. but hey.. like i said. It's new. It will probably change soon.
Either way, nothing compares to it.
You can't argue that the way you get Apps, and UPDATE THEM is amazing..
Sometimes i just open up the App Store link just to see if any new Apps got a new "patch"... i LOVE that...
yes out of the box it is ready to go. Of course you need to set it up first in itunes... i don't know if i would call it "Tethering" though.. bad choice of words ..
Come on man.. you need an Itunes account to do all of the things you need to do inside the iPhone, Purchasing music and Apps... it's the system they created. That's why you need to setup an account before doing them.
~Oh and yes i love paying for my music and having the feeling that i "Own it"
ever since i started purchasing things from the iTunes store it was a complete change for me.
Before that, I had around 80 gigs of dare i say... Downloaded Music.
I had SO MUCH MUSIC i didn't even know what music i had... it was silly.
so i wiped that all clean and started purchasing things on itunes. Now since i actually PAID for it, i have the feeling that i Own it and i also Know what i actually have.. every song. right now i've got over 1,000 purchased songs. i think i'm up to 1,016 or something (recent disturbed album =P)
Maybe people have a problem with buying things??? But i don't MIND DRM at all... I have a job, and i can afford the music. Im happy to pay money for it so i can own it.

@ Jeremy,
I've owned a AT&T Tilt in the past and now own an iPhone 3G.
Sorry to say it, but my iPhone 3G has crashed more times than the Tilt. And now even with the 2.1 update, Apple apps are still crashing.
Both platforms have their pros and cons.

Openning caveat: I am a long time Apple user but I am also a Windows Mobile fan who switched the iPhone to check it out.
I've been bashing the iPhone for a while. Primarily because of the bugs and dropped call. But also because of its poor email program, bad exchange integration, and the lack of a today screen (a business basic as far as I'm concerned).
Anyway, I excitedly bought the Touch Diamond for Sprint and must confess it makes me appreciate the good of the iPhone a lot more. It also means that I don't think the Touch HD will be that big a competitor.
For starters, the touch screens aren't even close. Maybe I'm just used to capacitive touchscreen now, but I find the Diamond's touch screen hard to use and non-responsive so times. Since the Touch HD screen is resistive as well (Based on reports of a stylus) I don't see this improving.
Secondly, beyond TouchFlo 3D which is pretty limited the OS is not finger friendly. I was able to do all the same things, but everything seemed that much harder.
Bottom line, until perhaps Windows Mobile 7, Windows Mobile will not be able to compete in the Touch Screen only battle.
Last thought - Fix the dropped calls ATT and Apple!

I used to have the T-mo wing and AT&T tilt.......I REALLY have no idea what you're talking about!
My Tilt (and the wing) crashed all the time. I hate Windows Mobile and will never go back to it again because I haven't had many great experiences with it. Even if the Touch HD has a pretty UI, it's still WinMo and I say no to that.
Just because you preface your bombastic statements with, "Sorry to say but...", doesn't make your statement that much more credible or smarter. Next time try, "In my experience..." Thanks!

As a long time pam and Treo (POS and WM versions) user, I find my new iPhone 's screen and UI a real joy - the first time browsing and viewing dcumenst is really useful versus painful.
However, if Apple is serious about the business market they need to look at what the BB/Treo/ et. al. can do from aproductivity standpoint and turn tehir apps into better tools. I fin it odd that Apple did not look at oteh rdevices used in busienss and incorporate the features that made them useful - cut and paste; clander event management (invite as well as accept), event coloring, robust event scheduling and repeating with many customization options, calender views taht show free/booked time as time bars, task synch etc.
The also missed a chance to really innovate - for exaple add in as contacts the results of web searches (why can't I add in the hotel address and phone number after I look it up?)
Even worse, tehy've apparently made teh data stores inaccessable to 3rd parties so companies such as iambic will have to cretae their own stores. Having gone that route on a 700p it's a real mess - apps can't exchange data so unless you do everything i one suite you're phone rapidly becomes a mess of different contcts/calenders/email.

I'm in the market for a new phone and this Touch HD looks like the one to beat.
I dont know Touch HD will handle music, but the way iPod and iPhone handle music is THE REASON why I have never bought an ipod or iphone, and probably never will, despite having a 17inch macbook pro and 8 core macpro of my own...
here's why:
I love music.
I listen to ALBUMS, I never listen to compilations, or single tracks and never use shuffle on any music listening device... I love music too much to be such a pleb.
When I download or rip albums to a folder, I sort out the id3 tags, get biographies, reviews, lyrics if its something that deserves to be fully understood, and save all that in the same folder containing the album of mp3 files.
When I want to play it on my generic-usb-connectable music device, I simply connect my player to a computer then drag and drop all the folders i want to the player. Done.
mp3's players are great, convenient, but digital file players have removed the connection music fans once had - especially with vinyl, where the records breathed life, if you treated them badly they got scratched, and you had to attend to them, could FEEL them, hold them, touch them... digital loses that. So in trying to recreate some of that connection when listening to music, I love to read about the artist and look at images related. With a good mp3 player, I can then very easily access the text/html/image files related to that artist/album because they are in the same folder I had copied over from my computer.
A good mp3 player would never prevent this workflow. Ipod does.
A big problem with Apple is their arrogance over their way of doing things. Its a bit like Paris compared to London. In Paris you will find a lot of style, people generally very well dressed and "tasteful" but heck, the variety is NOTHING compared to London or New York. In Paris you have to do it the Parisian way or get frowned at. Apple are definitely like Paris, and PC is like the wild west, anything goes, some crap, some fantastic.
I would definitely buy an iphone if it would just allow this kind of workflow - which you can do with almost all it's competition...

@ rufus_ryker: I spite of your snarky post, I DID look it up,'re right :) Oops :)
Thanks for the correction. Dunno why you gotta be so snarky...

You wanna know the best device out there that beats the iphone? simple; HTC TOUCH HD. Its indescribable. JUST LEAVE IT AT THAT. I PAID $800.00 FOR THIS PHONE AND IT WAS WORTH IT MAN, you buy it and prove me wrong.

Man theres alot of iphone lovers here, i personally own the iphone and the touch HD and can tell you my iphone has not left the house since i got the touch HD. It has never crashed and in my eyes can do so much more.I have tomtom on it i lovee the interface AND can control it all by thumb just becasue it comes with a pen does not mean it has to be used. There is so much more apps and bits out for the windows operating system than the iphone atm.
and as for the sound, well unless your using the touch wins on that too im afraid , read all the reviews also from personal exp, it has audio booster for headphones and also has a better quality i can add any song when and if i feel.
The screen is much better and has to be seen to to be beleived.
it just looks nicer and runs better than the iphone. so what you cant pinch the screen to zoom in and out who cares? one click and you zoom in anyways rather that fiddling around with 2 fingers.
I think some people on here just have to say maybe there is better out there than the iphone because i can tell you there is.
the touch has better features is more powerfull (in comparison) has the better sound and screen and it my opinion the UI's are on par.
And in regards from above where you ended in "posted from my iphone" WOW no other phone does this! no wait a minute yes they do and you know what the touch does it better as it has a better keyboard!
I am not meaning to offend anyone but get sick of iphone owners thinking nothing will ever beat it.

Bug found for HTC Touch HD.
Sometime cannot answer incoming calls.
It occuried after Active Sync are used.
Sometimes it keep ringing but the screen are locked such that cannot answer the calls.
Sometimes it keep ringing even the caller has already released the call. Need remove the battery to make it back to normal.