HTC's much-anticipated 15 September event took place at London's Old Billingsgate Market. The elephant in the room was Microsoft's imminent mobile OS, as some rumour sites had predicted an early look at HTC's first Windows Phone 7 handset. As it turned out, the company's CEO Peter Chou made a passing reference to "upcoming Windows Phone 7 devices from HTC" in his opening remarks, before turning to the Android-based business of the day.
As well as launching two new Desire handsets, the HD (left) and Z (right), HTC upgraded its Sense user interface (or 'experience' as the company prefers it) and unveiled a cloud-based service called HTCSense.com.
The upgraded HTC Sense includes fast (10-second) power-on, improved email handling via a single inbox, enhanced camera and video features, plus a series of improvements to the mapping experience. For example, if a phone call comes in as you're using turn-by-turn navigation, it doesn't take over the whole screen: instead, the map moves to accommodate the call details.
HTCSense.com delivers a range of useful cloud-based services. For example, all of your text messages are captured to the cloud, where they can be searched for from a PC. If you've mislaid your phone in the house, you can log into HTCSense.com from a PC, click a 'ring' button and have the handset advertise its location (even if set to silent); if you're at work and you left your phone at home, you can set it to forward calls to your office number; if it's lost, you can remotely lock it and set a message for a finder; in the last resort, you can remotely wipe a lost or stolen phone.
The 164g Desire HD has a 4.3in. LCD touchscreen with a resolution of 480 by 800 pixels, is powered by Qualcomm's 1GHz 8255 Snapdragon processor, and comes with 768MB of RAM and 1.5GB of internal storage (expandable via a microSD card). It has an 8-megapixel camera with dual-flash and supports 720p HD video recording. For wireless connectivity there is HSPA, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1. The Desire HD will be available from mid-October from all major mobile networks except O2.
The Desire HD's large touchscreen provides plenty of space for the on-screen keyboard, although some may find the device cumbersome to hold in the hand.
The Desire Z has a 3.7in. super-LCD touchscreen, an 800MHz Qualcomm 7230 CPU, 512MB of RAM, 1.5GB of internal storage (microSD-expandable), a 5-megapixel camera with flash and the same HSPA/Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connectivity as the HD model. At 180g it's heavier than the Desire HD, thanks to its QWERTY keyboard that emerges via a clever 'pop-hinge'. The Desire Z will be available from Vodafone, Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4U.
Horace Luke, HTC's chief innovation officer, shows off the 'pop hinge' mechanism for the Desire Z's QWERTY keyboard.