TouchFLO 3D, FM radio, YouTube and text input methods on the HTC Touch Diamond

TouchFLO 3D, FM radio, YouTube and text input methods on the HTC Touch Diamond

Summary: I have now spent 2 full days using the HTC Touch Diamond and the more I use it the more impressed I am with what HTC was able to do with this device. It is amazing to hold it in my hand and think of all that they were able to pack into such a small package, especially when I think of the Windows Mobile devices I was using just a couple years ago. I shot some videos of the TouchFLO 3D interface, Opera Mobile 9.5, FM radio, phone functionality, and available text input methods in three videos embedded below.

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TouchFLO 3D, FM radio, and text input methods on the HTC Touch DiamondI have now spent 2 full days using the HTC Touch Diamond and the more I use it the more impressed I am with what HTC was able to do with this device. It is amazing to hold it in my hand and think of all that they were able to pack into such a small package, especially when I think of the Windows Mobile devices I was using just a couple years ago. I shot some videos of the TouchFLO 3D interface, Opera Mobile 9.5, FM radio, phone functionality, and available text input methods in three videos embedded below. I also took 45 screenshots of the unique parts of the HTC Touch Diamond that you can view in my image gallery.


 Image Gallery:Check out the 45 screenshots of the unique features and applications on the HTC Touch Diamond. Image Gallery: Touch Diamond Home tab Image Gallery: ZDNet site in Opera Mobile 9.5 

One new utility included with the HTC Touch Diamond, also seen in the new HTC Advantage X7510 is the ability to have the internal flash drive appear in drive mode with PCs and Macs. I was able to view the flash drive on my MacBook Pro just by connecting the device to my Mac in drive mode. Thus, you do not even need to have ActiveSync on your PC or Mac to access the 4GB flash drive with full USB 2.0 support for fast transfers.

TouchFLO 3D: My screenshots and the following video take you through the new TouchFLO 3D UI on the Home screen and as I think you may agree there is a ton of cool functionality right on the Home screen. I was also a bit surprised at how responsive everything was because the earlier version of the software I saw had a bit of lagging here and there, but none of this appears to be present in the current shipping ROM on the Touch Diamond. I really enjoy viewing the Weather module, especially when it is raining and the windshield wiper goes across the display to clear it of the rain drops. These kinds of animations make the user experience more fun, which I think is much more important today as people are looking for more from their mobile phones.

Video of new TouchFLO 3D Home screen

Opera Mobile 9.5: I already showed Opera Mobile 9.5 browser running on the HTC Advantage X7510 and the version on the HTC Touch Diamond is pretty much the same browser. A couple of differences is that you are now limited to 3 tabs of browsing windows, compared to 7 on the HTC Advantage, and you can dynamically zoom in by circling your finger around the directional pad to multiple levels not seen elsewhere. The cool thing is that text on a web page will reflow to fit the screen in most zoom levels. The browser experience is fantastic with Opera Mobile 9.5 and it is the default browser on the HTC Touch Diamond.

I also quickly showed Internet Explorer Mobile and how the only change is the ability to zoom out and view an entire page. The real innovation in Internet Explorer Mobile will be coming later in 2008 with the version 6 release.

FM radio: The inclusion of an FM radio receiver is rare for Windows Mobile and I only know of one or two HTC devices that have had this before. You do need to have the HTC stereo headset plugged into the device because it serves as the antenna and without it you will get an error message when you launch the application. After launching the application you will see you can quickly scan and save stations as presets, listen via the headset or integrated speaker, change presets, or listen in stereo or mono. The radio also supports RDS so you can see the station id, artist playing, and title of the song in a scrolling part of the FM radio application. I listen to a lot of radio since I don't own many songs and was very pleased to see this functionality.

Video of Opera Mobile 9.5, YouTube application, and FM radio application

Phone application: With all of the wireless connectivity options and focus on data and applications, I sometimes forget the HTC Touch Diamond is also a mobile phone. The integrated dial pad has large keys so you can easily dial your contacts and like the non-touch screen devices the device will smart filter your contact list as you dial numbers and spell a contact's name. The phone menu includes options for call history, speed dial, saving to notes, and video call options.

There is a forward facing camera, but unfortunately in the U.S. video calling is not yet supported so I cannot test out this functionality. I showed the options screen in my video because a reader asked about it and you may want to look for a review from another country where this is supported to see how it works.

One phone function that I think I will be using quite a bit is the way the phone automatically starts a note, associated with the call, when you slide out the stylus on the device.

One thing I didn't show in the video is the cool feature where you can quickly mute an incoming call by setting the device face down on a table when a call comes in. I can see this being useful when in a meeting or other location where a call isn't convenient at the time.

Text input methods: There are three included HTC text entry methods, including a phone keypad, compact QWERTY keyboard, and full QWERTY keyboard. The phone keypad has an on-screen traditional phone keypad with the ability to toggle between ABC and T9 modes and a symbol key that gives you access to 13 screens of symbols you can enter. There is also a 123 key to enter numbers and common punctuation. Tapping and holding on the key activates the light gray letter/punctuation above that key

The compact QWERTY keyboard is the SureType keyboard where most keys have two letters on each key. The ABC/T9 toggle switch is also present, along with the 13 screen symbol options and 123 key. Tapping and holding on the key activates the light gray letter/punctuation above that key, just like you see with the phone keypad.

A full QWERTY keyboard option is also present and it is actually large enough to easily hit the keys with your finger. Again, the ABC/T9 toggle and tap and hold functionality is present. Tapping the 123 key opens a number/punctuation keyboard and then gives you access to 9 more screens of symbols and characters to choose from.

In addition to these three finger-optimized HTC keyboard options, you can always use the Windows Mobile Block Recognizer, Keyboard, Letter Recognizer, and Transcriber options on the HTC Touch Diamond.

Video of the phone application and text input methods

Camera quality and functionality: One thing I was really looking forward to try on the HTC Touch Diamond was the 3.2 megapixel camera and after using it to take some photos and video, I have to say I am quite impressed. The device takes very good photos in good lighting and obviously since there is no flash the photos in low or no light conditions are poor. The display auto rotates when you look at photos and videos too.

The photo application works like the previous photo application where you can dynamically zoom into features on the photo by drawing a clockwise circle around the object. Going counter-clockwise zooms you out. The experience of flipping through photos is much like the iPhone and again is another fun feature. You can check out one photo below and three others I took with the Diamond in my image gallery.

Image taken with the HTC Diamond

Thoughts and 2nd impressions of the HTC Touch Diamond: The more I use the HTC Touch Diamond, the more I like it and I wasn't quite sure about it since I really do like integrated QWERTY keyboards. This device really isn't targeted to the power user, but has just about everything you need and so far is appealing to this power user. The extremely small size and FUN features though really make it a compelling device and if it had 3G support in the U.S. then I would be even more impressed. There will be a North American version coming later in 2008 so that will be taken care of eventually.

The device feels great in my hand and fits well in my shirt pocket since it is so light. It is amazing how much is packed into such a small form factor. The angled back is so subtle that you cannot really feel the ridges on the back, but yet it adds some styling to the device. The VGA display is absolutely fantastic and impresses me every time I interact with the device.

I have loaded up about 10 of my own 3rd party applications and after two days of heavy usage have yet to need to reset the device and I have charged it fully twice. I have to still do more extensive battery testing since the 950 mAh capacity seems small. I also plan to try other 3rd party applications that are important to me.

It has been tough to come up with any cons of the device so far, but I do plan to use it for a couple of weeks and write up more thoughts. The only cons I can think of that may concern people is the 3 tab limit in Opera Mobile 9.5 and the lack of a camera flash. That's not much, but there really isn't much not to like in the device.

Topics: Telcos, Apps, Hardware, HTC, Mobility

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13 comments
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  • Can't decide between this and the HTC Touch Pro

    I just have to decide how important a keyboard is to me personally but I'm getting one of these 2 devices. HTC has once again shown us where Apple will follow in the coming years. :)
    NonZealot
  • Good Review

    Nice review...looks like the best Windows Mobile device yet. I had a HTC wizard before, but switched to the iPhone. I miss the functionality of WM (todo list anyone?), but the user experience on the iPhone is worth the sacrifice. The key hardware selling points for me would be the USB plug and play and the 3+megapixel camera with video. The fundamental problem I see is that WM devices are too fickle compared to Apple and Blackberry--I've got friends still using their 2G iPods, yet I havent' see a 1G Zen or a RCA lyra in years. Apple is likely to create a market "default" like they did with the iPod and ride that wave for a long while. Even though superior MP3 players quickly followed, your average teenager just wants the latest fashion, not the most practical or most feature laden device. The price of the diamond seems a little extreme as well...$700+ unlocked!! When Apple lets AT&T subsidize the next iPhone at $200-300, or better yet, opens it up to the top 3 carriers, it'll be a two horse race between RIM and Apple (in the US at least).
    crazy150
  • RE: TouchFLO 3D, FM radio, YouTube and text input methods on the HTC Touch Diamond

    So what exactly will Apple copy from HTC? Looks to me like HTC virtually copied the iPhone interface.
    crazy150
    • Copied iPhone?

      crazy150,

      Can you PLEASE tell us how HTC copied the iPhone? This in my opinion is MUCH better than the iPhone interface. What is similar here with text messages, photos, contacts, etc? I am interested in your thoughts.
      rjohn05
  • Nothing like the iPhone UI

    Yeah, this is nothing like the iPhone. The iPhone has a programs list on the home screen just like a Palm pilot. This has a scrolling ribbon of panels. I'd say it's more like Media Center or Zune.
    AdamzP
  • The demo was tedious to watch - the interface stinks -_NT

    NT
    raycote
    • why

      do you have nothing better to say than to blatantly hate on anything but apple products? You honestly ruin the experience on this site as I see your crap responses ALL THE TIME.

      Btw-this phone looks nice to me, but I could see that the interface isn't as fluid as I would like (graphically) but has lots of fun features.

      Tell me again why you can't have self-video in the US??!?!?
      lelandhendrix@...
      • video in the states

        honestly I dont know.. but the idea of some one doing a video call on tehir cellphone while driving scrares the crap out of me. people have a hard enough time trying to drive and talk on the cellphone..

        but the concept and ide is great.. eventually the states will catchup .. its just a mater of when??
        stravos@...
  • RE: TouchFLO 3D, FM radio, YouTube and text input methods on the HTC Touch Diamond

    Is this going to be a CDMA phone and will Sprint have it, and if so when?
    Doctin
    • Sprint/Touch/Touch Pro

      sprint will be getting this phone as a cdma.. also there is the raphiel.. aka the touch pro wich is exactly the same as the touch diamond cept it has a slide out keyboard.. and more ram.. but no intergrated 4gb.. you can add your own microsd.. and it is like 2mm thicker to acount for the keyboard.
      stravos@...
    • Sprint to sell in 4Q

      Rumor has it that the Sprint Touch Pro will land around October, with the Sprint Touch Diamond showing up about a month later. Sprint hasn't officially confirmed anything yet.
      Jeff Kirvin
  • Tabs in Opera

    Type opera:config in the Opera address bar and you'll be taken to a hidden screen where you can set all kinds of nifty Opera settings, including changing the maximum number of tabs.
    Jeff Kirvin
    • Wow, I never knew about this area

      Jeff,

      There are a ton of settings hidden in there. Without getting into it to much I did try changing the number of tabs allowed to 5 and then it appeared to let me, but a warning popped up that I reached the max and then more than 3 wouldn't open. I think there must be other settings I would need to mess with, but at this point 3 tabs is meeting my needs so I won't dive into all the details right now.

      Thanks for the heads-up on this option.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)