updated 08:30 am EST, Mon November 12, 2007
HTC Touch Cruise
HTC on Monday took on the launch of the iPhone in Europe with the release of the Touch Cruise, the company's third touchscreen-focused smartphone following the original Touch and the first to offer a significant new design. The device originally known as the Polaris is based around the same combination of Windows Mobile 6, the HTC Home front-end, and the finger-oriented TouchFLO interface but adds a navigation wheel as well as extra shortcut buttons for its special features. One of these is for GPS, HTC says: the Cruise is the first Touch to include full navigation and uses maps supplied by TomTom.
The handset also includes upgrades to the existing abilities of the line. In addition to a sharper 3-megapixel rear camera for photos, the Cruise offers a front VGA camera for video calling. Accordingly, the phone provides full 3G access and supports HSDPA networks in Canada and the US as well as Europe. Wi-Fi is also onboard for Internet access indoors or outside of the range of HSDPA and slower EDGE connections.
HTC is initially releasing the Touch Cruise as a carrier-independent unlocked device in Europe, but has not specified prices or whether particular carriers will subsidize the phone. Its multi-national support points to possible releases with AT&T or Rogers in North America.