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This crossover computer's design straddles that middle ground between smart phone (except for that whole "making phone calls" thing--there's no embedded phone dialer) and notebook. Folded up and ready for transit, it's a touch-screen tablet wrapped in a leather shell. However, the screen slides up and even tilts backward at an angle, which makes this unit a versatile mobile computer that you can easily use in-hand or on a surface.
The HTC Shift distinguishes itself from competing UMPCs in several ways. This is the first shipping UMPC to showcase Microsoft's Origami Experience 2.0, a customized interface and software suite that runs on top of Windows Vista. It also integrates a cellular radio for use on Sprint's high-speed EvDO data network and supports Wi-Fi. One drawback: The Shift is among the pricier UMPCs around (prices for the second-generation Samsung Q1 range from $800 to $1500).
Under The Hood
Almost by definition, you can't expect a UMPC to pack
Besides using the Windows Vista Business operating system, the Shift incorporates Origami 2.0, designed to optimize performance
SnapVue: The "Other" OS
Another unique feature of the Shift is HTC's at-a-glance operating system overlay. With the flick of a button, the SnapVue mode kicks in, working outside the unit's regular OS to provide access to core mobile data.
The SnapVue mode shares some characteristics with the TouchFLO interface, which HTC designed for its Touch cell phone. SnapVue also looks, feels, and operates a lot like Windows Mobile 6, though HTC spokespeople won't confirm or deny that particular influence. SnapVue gives you quick access to such functions as push e-mail, SMS messaging, contacts, and a calendar--with no Vista overhead. The applets for these functions look identical to what you'd see on any Windows Mobile 6 smart phone.
I used the Shift to send out SMS messages to buddies, and that experiment worked well enough. I also synchronized the unit with Yahoo e-mail, just as I would in Windows Mobile 6. And finally, I obtained a quick five-day forecast--a goofy little push-application embedded on the SnapVue home screen.
Another benefit of SnapVue is that it
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