If this week had a theme in the mobile world, it would probably be the week of big devices. This evening at an event in London HTC unveiled its first two new devices running the newest OS from Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), Windows Phone 7.5, “Mango”, including a 4.7-inch touchscreen device called the “Titan.”
The Titan, which comes with the new “must-have” 1.5GHz processor, comes on the heels of Samsung’s announcement today showing off its five-inch Galaxy Note “tabphone”, and HTC itself announcing its 10.5 inch Android tablet, the Jetstream, yesterday.
The other device shown off this evening was the relatively more demure Radar — a 3.8-inch touchscreen device with “only” a 1Ghz processor. Both devices had been widely leaked in the blogosphere leading up to today, but this was the first time that the actual handsets were available for people to try out.
It’s not quite clear why HTC chose tonight of all nights to show off these devices. It could have been an attempt to steal some of Samsung’s thunder — the Korean handset maker, a key rival of HTC’s, had long-planned and heavily publicized event Europe, at the IFA tradeshow in Germany, in which it showed off a new tablet and that big boy of a handset, the Galaxy Note, both built on Android.
In any case, Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore was quick to note in a Tweet earlier that this was not the official Mango launch or anything like that:
"I gotta feeling.. that tonight's gonna be a good dang night…" :) http://t.co/pt1yo4r (no, mango is NOT releasing tonight! Seriously!)
— joebelfiore (@joebelfiore) September 1, 2011
But if this was a case of gazumping a rival, it looks like HTC might be trying to steal more than Samsung’s thunder: Philip Blair, product director for HTC in Europe (pictured), says that these HTC devices will go on sale from the beginning October this year — that’s in a month, and likely earlier than Nokia (NYSE: NOK) planned to release its Mango devices, the first that Nokia will sell as part of its new strategy to focus on Windows Phone for its smartphones.
The devices themselves displayed all the key features that we have been told will come with Mango: much more integration with other Microsoft services, much better camera and photography functions (including some nice Instagram/Hipstamatic-style filtering options), and the rest. HTC is also starting to show more evidence of how it is integrating its own personal touches, such as its VOD service.
In my look, I found the Radar to be fairly unremarkable compared against the many devices on the market today, but the Titan really showed off Mango well, with the extra processing power really apparent side by side with the Radar. The big question (and I mean that literally) is whether the public is ready and interested in large devices.
“Men will need bigger pockets, women bigger handbags,” one journalist quipped to me. And bigger wallets, too, I suspect.