HTC has done some great smartphone design work over the years (and I’ll come back to my use of the past tense “has” later). Forbes.com has an article about HTC’s movement from being a behind the scenes player to a recognized smartphone brand, its purchase of the design firm One & Co., and their people-centric approach in developing the Sense UI software…
But, here’s what I think: HTC will remain a force to reckon with for years to come based on momentum. But, their designs appear to be moving backwards and losing steam. Let’s take last year’s T-Mobile G1 (the first Android phone). In fact, as an old time comedian might have said, “Yes, please take it!”. It was clunky, had that weird chin (which HTC seems to like), and battery that didn’t last past lunch time for me (I owned one for about 10 days). Then, take the HTC Touch Pro2 that I bought just last month. Who was the design genius that decided a Windows Mobile smartphone didn’t need critical keys like the Windows key, tab key, and left and right soft keys. And, what happened to its navigation pad? I find it difficult to use because these keys are missing. It means I can’t use it in a pure keyboard mode as I did with earlier Windows Mobile smartphones like HTC’s on TyTn or Advantage.
And, why is it that something about the Touch Pro2 breaks the user experience of critical software (for me) like Ilium’s eWallet and Screen Capture (Screen Capture doesn’t work at all for all practical purposes). I didn’t see this kind of problem on a touch screen phone running the same Windows Mobile 6.1 that’s on the Touch Pro2.
My current thinking is that the Touch Pro2 is the last touch screen Windows Mobile phone made by HTC that I will buy. Their Dash 3G looks pretty good. But, it looks like the days of non-touchscreen Windows Mobile phones are numbered. So, I don’t expect to use any HTC Windows Mobile phones in the future.