Windows Mobile 6.5 is starting to hit the streets and AT&T announced that the HTC Pure, AT&T's rebranded version of the HTC Touch Diamond2, will be available soon. At $150 (after rebate, with a 2-year contract), the Pure is the most affordable Windows Mobile 6.5 device yet and it delivers some innovative capabilities.
Unlike most of the Windows Mobile-based smart phones available from AT&T, the HTC Pure does not have a physical keyboard. Similar to the LG Incite, the HTC Pure aspires to be more iPhone-like with a pure touch-screen interface.
That interface is pretty snazzy though. The Pure has a 3.2 inch WVGA touchscreen capable of 800x480 resolution. The combination of HTC's TouchFLO 3D interface and the new Windows Mobile 6.5 honeycomb start menu create a very slick way of interacting with the device.
The HTC Pure has dual web browsers--with both Opera and the latest Internet Explorer for Windows Mobile installed. The new Internet Explorer for Windows Mobile provides a fuller desktop-like browsing experience on the mobile device, including support for Adobe Flash which is lacking on previous mobile devices.
The Pure comes with 144Mb of data storage built-in, but you can add up to 16Gb of additional space using the microSD memory card slot. The Pure also includes a 5 megapixel autofocus camera that takes photos and records video.
There are two other cool things users will get with the HTC Pure-- the new Windows Mobile 6.5 lock screen and access to the Windows Mobile app store. Rather than simply locking the device and displaying some static screen or the current time, the Windows Mobile 6.5 lock screen allows the user to see the calls and messages they have missed and provides the ability to navigate directly to the associated tools rather than having to browse through menus the long way.
The Windows Marketplace, Microsoft's attempt to emulate the success of the Apple iPhone App Store, is an online store for finding applications compatible with Windows Mobile to extend the functionality of the mobile device. With the HTC Pure users can buy apps from the Windows Marketplace and have the purchases billed to their AT&T mobile phone bill.
The Pure delivers the Windows Mobile 6.5 experience at a lower cost than other devices, filling a niche that may help bridge the gap and broaden acceptance of Windows Mobile. There are rumors that next-generation Windows Mobile 7 devices may be more like Zune mobile phones (a' la iPhone with its iPod like capabilities). For now though audiophile users may be turned off by the HTC Pure's reliance on the same old Windows Media Player and the lack of a standard headphone.
The name of the device may be confusing as well. Microsoft also has a Windows Mobile 7 device in development which is currently codenamed 'Pure'. You have to keep the naming straight and remember that AT&T's Pure is really the HTC Touch Diamond2, and Microsoft's Pure isn't available yet and will probably have a different name when it gets released.
Tony Bradley is an information security and unified communications expert with more than a decade of enterprise IT experience. He tweets as @PCSecurityNews and provides tips, advice and reviews on information security and unified communications technologies on his site at tonybradley.com .