While reaction to Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6.5 release ranged from "yawn" to "yeesh", one device, not even given the stage, certainly seems to have stolen the show -- HTC's HD2.

Theories on why Microsoft didn't see fit to show off, indeed highlight, the HD2 range from friction with HTC over their foray into Google's Android OS, to an attempt not to show up other partners whose devices look outdated by comparison. That anyone saw it at all was only due to a few HTC reps carrying it around the show. Microsoft's latest baffling behavior aside, the device itself clearly shows that if they aren't going to raise their game, HTC will do it for them:

640x800 capacitive, multitouch screen driven by a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, complete with Sense UI built in so deeply Microsoft's interface is all but completely hidden from the end user.

Our sibling site, WMExperts.com, has been following the device since it was known by the code-name Leo, and report that it should be making its way to the US in the first part of 2010.

It's nice to see some competition, if not from Microsoft itself then from HTC. But it brings a question to mind -- will buyers of non-integrated devices end up going by carrier brand (AT&T, Verizon, etc.), OS brand (Android, Windows Mobile/Windows Phone), or manufacturer (HTC, Motorola, LG, Samsung, etc.)? And will that give the unified devices from Apple, BlackBerry, and Palm an easier shot at mindshare?