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XDA Visits HTC’s London Event, Radar and Titan Unveiled [breaking]

Last night, HTC simultaneously unveiled two brand new Windows Phone 7 devices in different locations around the world. I was lucky enough to get myself to the London branch of the event, and despite the time I spent queuing, shuffling, listening and watching slightly tipsy nerds awkwardly do The Robot, I eventually managed to get some must-know info on the latest in HTC’s WP7 range.

Once ushered into Victoria House, a large yet unimposing venue set in the middle of bustling Camden, we were led down a short flight of steps to a club-like basement, replete with free food, drinks, and a gaggle of HTC fanboys trembling with anticipation as a presentation screen teased the crowd.

We were reminded how far HTC has come in the last few years, from being a little known firm with an exclusively power-user customer base to a company which has the largest market share of all WP7 devices, and a sizeable chunk of Android’s, and which can proudly declare that it has sold 21.8 million units in the first six months of this year. Then, came the new devices…

HTC Radar

First off is the HTC Radar, a mid-range Windows Phone 7 Mango handset aimed around the same price bracket as the Desire S. Aesthetically, it’s pleasant if overly familiar, with HTC’s now trademark unibody aluminium design and minimal styling being all there is to see.

Specification

  • Size: 120.5×61.5×10.9mm
  • Weight: 137 grams inc. battery
  • Display: 3.8″ WVGA Super LCD
  • CPU: 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon
  • OS: Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango)
  • RAM: 512MB
  • Storage: Up to 8GB
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm audio jack, 5-pin microUSB port
  • Sensors: G, proximity, ambient light
  • Battery:1520mAh Li-ion
  • Network: 900/2100 MHz HSPA/WCDMA, 850/900/1800/1900MHz GSM/GPRS/EDGE
  • Rear camera: 5-mexapixel sensor with LED flash, 28mm lens, f/2.2 aperture, 720p video recording and BSI sensor
  • Front camera: VGA resolution
  • WiFi: IEEE 802.11b/g/n
  • Bluetooth: 2.1 – A2DP, PBAP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP

HTC Titan

And the main attraction, the appropriately titled HTC Titan (not to be confused with the good old HTC TyTn). The whopping 4.7″ Super LCD display it features is the largest of any WP7 handset to date. And yes, the screen’s hella pretty. The device itself is surprisingly easy to hold, although I did find myself having to alter my grip slightly when reaching for the far side of the screen with my thumb (if using and holding the device with the same hand). The very thin side bezel and (once again) unibody design combine to give a stylish, understated look. Only a charcoal/black model was on display.


Specification

  • Size: 131.5×70.7×9.9mm
  • Weight: 160g inc. battery
  • Display: 4.7″ WVGA Super LCD
  • CPU: 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon (supposedly the same as the HTC Flyer)
  • OS: Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango)
  • RAM: 512MB
  • Storage: Up to 16GB
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm audio jack, 5-pin microUSB port
  • Sensors: G, Gyro, Proximity, Ambient light, digital compass
  • Battery: 1600mAh Li-ion
  • Network: 850/900/2100MHz HSPA/WCDMA, 850/900/1800/1900MHz GSM/GPRS/EDGE
  • Rear camera: 8-mexapixel sensor with dual LED flash, 28mm lens, f/2.2 aperture, 720p video recording and BSI sensor
  • Front camera: 1.3-megapixel resolution
  • WiFi: IEEE 802.11b/g/n
  • Bluetooth: 2.1 – A2DP, PBAP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP
One aspect of both phones that HTC is really pedalling is their 28mm lens, which allows you to take ‘wider’ pictures, and when sat next to my Optimus 2X’s viewfinder the difference is noticeable, with the HTCs providing for an extra bit more room which could come in extremely handy when trying to cram a group of friends’ heads into a picture. I was also happy to see a dedicated camera button on both models.
While Microsoft hasn’t backed down whatsoever on its prohibition of manufacturer tweaks to WP7’s overall UI, HTC has managed to squeeze its own software customisations in here and there. My favourite example is an automatic panorama option on the Titan, whose gyroscope allows for the pictures to be automatically captured at the perfect position and stitched together in a heartbeat thanks to the snappy 1.5GHz processor. Also present are DLNA support, HTC Watch (the on-demand video service found in new Android hansets), the HTC Hub – whose Live Tile shows weather information for your location – and an array of HTC apps including a unit converter and note taker.
During the event I got the chance to chat with a very kind (and patient!) HTC rep, and took the opportunity to ask about some of the recent tech headlines. It was instantly clear that HTC’s attitude towards XDA and our members is extremely positive, as is visible from its recent decision to offer unlocked bootloaders and a Sense SDK for its Android devices. The bootloaders were locked due to HTC’s inundation of complaints and warranty claims from less knowledgeable users who tried to customise the software on their phones without acknowledging the risks in doing so. They were subsequently unlocked because of the backlash from us power users – a small proportion of its customer base perhaps, but a very important one to HTC. However, the entire bootloader fiasco does highlight a much discussed issue on XDA: whether or not it is advantageous that HTC is releasing ever more low- and mid-range devices. Without such devices and their users, the bootloaders would arguably never have been locked in the first place, and despite their claims to the contrary it could still be said that HTC are leaving their faithful feeling cold by focusing on such phones.
Nonetheless, the phones unveiled last night have ensured that HTC’s lead in the Windows Phone 7 pack will continue… At least until Nokia gets its act together. Interestingly, the representative was optimistic about Nokia’s WP7 releases, as the inevitable market infiltration would increase consumer familiarity with the platform. Although HTC may not forever be the most popular Windows Phone manufacturer, the platform’s standardisation would mean that the Nokia users would be more likely to consider an HTC when next buying a device.
The HTC Titan is sure to make its mark on the WP7 landscape as it currently sports the fastest processor and the largest screen available, while the HTC Radar could be the perfect device for someone looking for a cheaper, more pocketable alternative with most of the same features. Expect to see support for both on XDA in the coming weeks.
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