updated 10:10 pm EDT, Wed April 1, 2009
HTC Snap closer look
Electronista at CTIA took a closer look at the new HTC Snap, an entry-level smartphone with an exposed QWERTY keyboard. The device offers a relatively small and thin form factor compared with similar products, while contoured surfaces further contribute to a comfortable grip. The compact dimensions appear to squeeze the keyboard, although a person with smaller fingers should not have a problem typing effectively.
The jog ball was easy to use without requiring any familiarization. Navigating through the Windows Mobile 6.1 interface was quick and simple. The features are scaled down for the smartphone newcomer, without many frills. The interface lacks the complexity of dedicated business handsets. This can be good for users that simply focus on e-mails, text messages and web browsing.
An Inner Circle function offers a button that will snap to e-mails from a preselected group of contacts. The feature is designed for users that do not want to manually filter messages from the phone interface.
The Snap integrates a 528 MHz Qualcomm processor and a 2.4-inch QVGA display with 320 by 240 pixel resolution. HTC claims the battery should provide 8.5 hours of talk time on GSM networks or 5 hours on CDMA, while standby time extends to 20 hours depending on the network. The handset also sports Bluetooth 2.0, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g, a 2.0-megapixel camera and GPS.
When a company actually sells a product as geared for "first-time smartphone users," my quality expectations were low. HTC appears to have maintained the quality standards of its higher-priced devices. For its small size, the phone still felt solid and each of the surfaces provided an attractive finish. The jog ball matches the appearance of frosted glass, although the exact material was not confirmed.
The company has not yet announced pricing information or which carriers will offer the phone, although the device supports quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and HSDPA/WCDMA networks. Europe will see the Snap first, sometime in the second quarter of this year, while a domestic launch should come shortly thereafter.