MWC 2010: T-Mobile HD2 brings media content to Windows Mobile in a big way
The release of the T-Mobile HD2 Windows Mobile device is getting closer and this week T-Mobile teased us with several content partnership announcements. It looks like T-Mobile may have fixed the difficulty with getting media content onto WM devices and I couldn't be happier as I save up for my HD2.
I posted my hands-on review of the HTC HD2 back in November after HTC handed them out to press at the Mobius event. It is a fantastic device that I have since passed along to my company president since he is a huge Windows Mobile touchscreen fan and I wanted one with T-Mobile USA 3G support. T-Mobile announced they were launching the HD2 sometime this spring at CES 2010 in January. Today at MWC in Spain, we heard from T-Mobile that the HD2 is still coming soon, but it looks like someone finally took the initiative to attempt to fix the problem with easily getting media content onto Windows Mobile devices. T-Mobile is positioning the HTC HD2 as a mobile entertainment device with multiple content partners and a slightly upgraded piece of hardware over what we currently see in the HD2.
Content, content, content
One of the areas in Windows Mobile where Microsoft has dropped the ball for years has been in media content. We see that will be corrected in Windows Phone 7 Series, but that is still 10 months away. Microsoft promoted Windows Media Player Mobile in their devices for a long time, but unless you had a Windows Media Center (I think very few people actually have these) it was not an easy feat to get content onto your device. There have been ways to rip DVDs to a format for Windows Mobile devices, but they were not always the easiest to use and many Windows Mobile devices played these videos poorly. The HD2 has a beautiful large display that is perfect for consuming content.
T-Mobile announced partnerships and upcoming applications for movies, ebooks, streaming TV, music, and games. You will find the following on the HD2:
Barnes & Noble eReader: You will be able to access and read ebook and magazine content from the world's largest ebook provider. As a B&N nook owner, I am very pleased to see I will now be able to take my B&N content with me on the go so I can still read it if I do not have my nook. I wonder if this eReader client will support syncing of ebooks across multiple platforms. I have not heard of any Barnes & Nobile eReader application supporting magazines until now either so this is also great news.
Blockbuster On Demand: With this application and service you will be able to rent or purchase movies to watch on your HD2 with full length downloads over WiFi. This is not a subscription service, but you pay per download. Blockbuster On Demand is currently available for Archos media players. You will find that you get two free rentals (Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Mission Impossible) on the HD2 for you to try out the service. The iPhone is very popular in large part because of how easy it is to get content on to it to enjoy on the road and I think this support is a big deal for Windows Mobile.
MobiTV: MobiTV is a streaming TV service where you will be given a free 30-day trial with your HD2 purchase. This is a $9.99/month subscription service and is something we have seen on other carriers before. You can watch TV shows and other short length content on the go with MobiTV. The monthly subscription gives you the ability for unlimited viewing.
Preloaded movies: With your HD2 purchase, T-Mobile is including Transformers 1 and 2 on the microSD card so you will have some content available to get an idea about the experience of watching movies on the HD2.
Slacker Radio: Slacker Personal Radio is my favorite streaming music client on smartphones and before I heard there was going to be a Windows Mobile client on the HD2 I was actually considering I would skip the HD2 since I have Slacker on my Nexus One and love using it. I do find I sometimes make device purchase decisions based on the applications that are available and am pleased I don't have to make a choice based on this service missing from the HD2.
Games: Gaming on Windows Mobile has been pretty good, but not as great as we have seen on the iPhone and now WebOS platform. I understand there will be some pretty compelling games on the HD2 that demonstrate what a device with these high end specs can support.
You will also find all the great goodies from HTC and Microsoft on the HD2 as well so this will be one powerhouse of a smartphone device. A 60-day free trial of TeleNav will be provided and you can always load up the amazing CoPilot Live 8 application for GPS navigation.
Updated hardware in the HD2
The HD2 is already one of the most amazing pieces of smartphone hardware I have seen with 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 4.3 inch 480x800 pixel capacitive touchscreen display, 5 megapixel camera, and Windows Mobile 6.5. The T-Mobile HTC HD2 will see a bump up in ROM from 512MB to 1GB so you will be able to store more apps and content on the device internal memory. This is actually important since the current Windows Marketplace for Mobile only lets you install apps to internal memory. A 16GB microSD card will also be included instead of the current 8GB microSD card.
T-Mobile also announced their new webConnect Rocket Laptop Stick (aka Rocket) which will be available starting next month. This is the first HSPA+ device offered by a national U.S. wireless carrier and the first device from T-Mobile supporting this faster network. The HD2 and other 3G smartphones do not support this faster HSPA+ network. HSPA+ is currently available in Philadelphia, but it is rolling out across their network too. Customers will benefit from blazing-fast mobile broadband with their laptop via T-Mobile's HSPA+ and nationwide 3G networks or Wi-Fi, including unlimited T-Mobile HotSpot access. Pricing will be announced closer to the release date, including plan fees.
I bought the Google Nexus One and am enjoying the device quite a bit so I have been trying to decide if I indeed need the T-Mobile HD2. I want to buy an iPad when they launch and need to see what the price of the HD2 will be before I make a final purchase decision. With Windows Phone 7 Series now coming in late 2010 with Zune support I doubt I can justify buying the HD2 now though. Do you plan to buy a T-Mobile HD2 when it launches this spring?