updated 08:20 am EDT, Fri September 4, 2009
Touch HD2 gets Android, speed-up
HTC could be signaling a greater shift away from Windows Mobile in favor of Android if a rumor from Friday is accurate. Where the original Touch HD was a Windows Mobile 6.1 device, the Register understands from an unnamed source that the Touch HD2 will drop Microsoft's OS for Google's Android instead. Most details aren't known, but the new model would also be a rough challenger to the iPhone 3GS with a much faster 628MHz Qualcomm chip versus the 528MHz chip used in virtually every HTC phone used to date; Apple's phone uses a 600MHz Samsung part that may not compare directly.
Most other details aren't known, but it would have the 3.8-inch, 800x480 touchscreen from the existing phone and likely have the sharpest display for an Android phone to date.
A shift to Android for the phone would represent a symbolic change for HTC and a possible major blow to Microsoft. HTC so far has always built special designs just for Android, but the Touch HD2 would signal that the smartphone designer is not only supplementing its Windows Mobile line but starting to replace it with the competing platform. HTC is the single largest manufacturer of Windows Mobile phones and may not only cost Microsoft market share but reduce its exposure through a wider range of models.
One past rumor supports a broader conversion at the company and suggests that most HTC phones will use Android in 2010.
Microsoft's mobile OS business has been facing a crisis in recent months. While it's due to ship Windows Mobile 6.5, this and 6.1 have been considered stopgap releases for an increasingly aging platform that has lacked features that have been present in newer platforms like Android and OS X iPhone, particularly support for touchscreens that support gestures or multi-touch as well as a modern media player or web browser. Windows Mobile 7 is rumored to already be in beta and in rush development for an April ship date with multi-touch support, but phones often don't ship with new Windows Mobile versions until late summer or early fall.