I used the T-Mobile Dash (HTC S621) for what seemed like an eternity, and other than a few minor quibbles (namely that silly "JOGGR strip") it was pretty much the perfect phone for my needs. Touch-based phones were fun and flashy, but on the Dash I got real work done. It was fast, stable, felt perfect in my hand, was rugged, and had a fantastic keyboard. Sadly, HTC all but abandoned the form-factor when they became obsessed with beating Apple in the touch game - they never gave the Dash a significant update. When I decided I needed 3G speeds, the Dash got retired in favour of a Samsung Blackjack II. It's not a bad phone, but it's no Dash. At pretty much every Mobius event, I'd bring up the fact that I think HTC was missing a great opportunity by not continuing with this form-factor; that they had become too touch-obsessed and there was room for them to innovate and compete with Samsung and Motorola on this form factor. Many other Mobius attendees shared my opinion. An HTC representative shared with the Mobius group recently that this product was a direct result of our feedback. How cool is that?
OK, enough chit chat, let's get down to the nitty-gritty: the Snap weighs 4.23 ounces with the battery, and is 4.59 inches tall, 2.42 inches wide, and 0.47 inches thick (11.9mm). For comparison purposes, the S621 is 12.8mm thick, so they managed to shave a single mm off the thickness - but when you consider that the battery got a boost from 960 mAh up to 1500 mAh, that's quite impressive. The Snap claims 8.5 hours of talk time on GSM and 5 hours on WCDMA, while standby times are 15.8 days on GSM and 20 days on WCDMA. Interesting how the standby times are a reversed - WCDMA is easier on standby time but harder on talk time. Go figure.
At the heard of the Snap is a Qualcomm MSM 7225 running at 528mhz, Windows Mobile 6.1, 256 MB ROM, 128 MB RAM, a microSDHC slot for expansion, and the typical quad-band GSM/GPRS and tri-band HSDPA/WCDMA (900/2100 MHz). The HTC S522 will have the 850/1900 Mhz bands. Bluetooth 2.0, 802.11b/g WiFi, and GPS/AGPS round out the offering. The 2.4 inch screen is 320 x 240, it has a 2.0 megapixel camera, and instead of the "JOGGR strip" it has a "jog ball". The QWERTY keyboard is offset and looks like it might be an improvement over the already excellent keyboard on the S621. There's some software innovation here as well - HTC has something called "Inner Circle Email Management" that's supposed to act as an email Inbox filter, showing you the messages from a pre-selected list of up to five people. Seems a bit quirky, but HTC has attached a dedicated button for it on the keyboard, so they must be pretty serious about it.
Although there's no guarantee that this device will get a 6.5 update, Microsoft has said that any device with 128 MB of RAM and a 400 Mhz CPU is "6.5 ready". It's up to the OEMs to release the update of course, but the HTC Snap is fully capable of running 6.5.
The full press release, and more images are below.
HTC Snap makes staying in touch with more people less complicated HTC's newest QWERTY smartphone features "Inner Circle" to automatically prioritize email from life's most important people
LAS VEGAS - April 1, 2009 - HTC Corporation today debuted its newest QWERTY smartphone, the HTC SnapTM. Designed with a set of features selected to deliver everything customers need without overwhelming them with things they don't, the HTC Snap makes it easier than ever to stay in contact with life's most important people.
A recent study conducted by Harris Interactive® and commissioned by HTC* found that 44% of US adults are often overwhelmed by the amount of email they receive, and over half (55%) of US adults prioritize five or fewer people with whom they communicate via email. In response to these issues, HTC's innovative Inner Circle feature allows HTC Snap users to press a dedicated Inner Circle key to bring emails from a preselected group of people to the top of their inbox, enabling important messages to be acted upon immediately.
"Recognizing that people are being overwhelmed by an avalanche of email, the HTC Snap introduces Inner Circle, an HTC innovation that makes it easy for people to prioritize messages from the most important people in their lives at the press of a button," said John Wang, Chief Marketing Officer, HTC Corporation. "The HTC Snap represents the latest step in HTC's mission to create a range of innovative smartphones, each with specific benefits designed to both surprise and delight our customers."
With a slim, sleek profile designed to fit perfectly in the hand, the HTC Snap measures less than a half-inch thick (12 mm), yet it can deliver up to eight and a half hours of talk time with the standard 1500mAh battery. The full QWERTY keyboard is ergonomically designed with extra-large domed keys and responsive tactile feedback to make typing emails and text messages fast, accurate and comfortable. High-speed 3G HSPA connectivity makes it quick and easy to send pictures to friends, access favorite social networking sites, or download large files while on the go.
The HTC Snap is powerful enough for experienced business users looking for an affordable, straightforward choice for remotely synchronizing email, calendar and contacts with their Microsoft Exchange server. However, the flexible Microsoft Windows Mobile® 6.1 Standard platform allows the HTC Snap to also be simple enough for first-time smartphone users wanting to keep their family life organized.
The HTC Snap is expected to be available in select channels during the second quarter of 2009, rolling out in markets around the world throughout the second half of the year. Additionally, an unlocked version supporting HSDPA at 850/1900MHz for the US market will be made available under the name HTC S522 during the summer.
And now for some high-resolution photo goodness...