HTC Schubert (WP7) and Ace (Android) Show Up, With New Designs
Videos of two new HTC devices have surfaced (if you haven’t already seen them, head past the break to check them out): one of the Schubert, which is apparently going to be a Windows Phone 7 launch device (shown on top), and the other one, the marginally less exciting Ace, which will be sold as the Desire HD and is essentially a GSM version of the Evo.
Spec-wise, both will probably be very similar to current high-end offerings from HTC, with the obligatory 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 576 MB of RAM, and an 8MP camera with flash (although, we question whether packing so many pixels on such a small sensor really yields better picture quality). Looking at the video, the Schubert seems to feature a Xenon flash, which, albeit providing better lighting, means it cannot be used for video recording or as a flashlight. Both will also provide internal storage, the Ace reportedly 4 GB, while the Schubert will need at least 8 GB to comply with Microsoft’s minimum requirements – keep in mind these requirements don’t allow user-replaceable microSD cards, so there better be enough. As for the screen, both are WVGA (surprise), with the one of the Ace being a huge 4.3″, similar to the Evo and HD2, but of the SLCD variant – actually a marketing term from Sony for IPS panels, which are usually used in high-end monitors (and the iPhone 4, for that matter) as they provide better viewing angles, contrast and color reproduction than regular, cheaper TN panels. The Schubert’s screen seems to be a bit smaller, probably 3.7″, to keep in line with previous devices, and judging from the video not an AMOLED, as colors seem to be less saturated than on a Nexus One or Desire – that is, before they get switched to SLCD as well.
What’s arguably most interesting about these leaks is that they showcase a new direction in design HTC is taking. No more black slabs or Diamond-cut backs – heck, not even any more symmetry. Both devices take a lot of design cues from the famed Nexus One – notice the long-stretched earpiece, which sits on an aluminium area above the screen that goes all the way to the back and forms the supposedly more durable unibody construction. It may still not be as classy as the HTC Legend, but the seemingly randomly placed rubber parts on the back (for the internal antennas) give it a rather sophisticated and utilitarian look while also adding some much-needed grip. We just hope the glossy metal from the Schubert doesn’t make its way into the final product…
Obviously, design is also very much about different personal preferences. So, we’ve reached out to you on Twitter and most of the response seems to be quite positive: AgentAkki found that “the Schubert looks awesome and hopefully will have good hardware”, while JimRamK agrees (“Sexy Schubert”) but goes on to say that the “Desire HD lacks some originality”. We certainly agree with him on this, because all new fancy design aside, its form still very closely resembles that of the Evo and HD2.
So, what do you think of the new devices? Is the Snapdragon still sufficiently fast in light of the Hummingbird CPU from Samsung? Does the new design appeal to you? And in the case of the Schubert, will it fit in with the minimalistic Metro interface? Hey, what about the HTC Mondrian – is it still coming, and how will the codenames line up with the retail names, i.e. Diamond (style), Touch Pro (business), HD (enthusiast), Touch (low-end)? Let us know your thoughts.