Goal: leave the notebook behind

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

The HTC Touch Pro smartphone may not be Sprint’s answer to Apple's iPhone, Google and T-Mobile's Android, or RIM's Blackberry, but with a Qwerty keyboard, high-resolution screen and Windows Mobile, the HTC Touch Pro smartphone sure offers a lot to a business person on the run.

Although the Touch Pro isn’t about to replace anyone’s notebook computer, the device's capabilities bring it pretty close to the mark. With pocket versions of Word, PowerPoint and Excel, plus Microsoft Outlook email client – most users should be able to accomplish many of their tasks without having to boot up the notebook. For example, an included dongle can be used to hook the device up to a projector, allowing users to run power point presentations for a group of people. The familiarity offered by the mobile version of Microsoft Outlook makes scheduling, emailing and other chores a simple task for Microsoft shops and their users.

At 4.5 ounces and 4.53" x 2.47" x 0.47", the Touch Pro isn’t the thinnest and lightest device on the market, but it's not huge either. HTC has done an excellent job of cramming a lot of functionality into that small package, but there are still some compromises. The unit requires an external (albeit very small) "hub" to attach other components. What’s more, the unit does not offer a standard mini-USB port for charging, synchronizing or performing other tasks.

USB connectivity comes in the form of a proprietary cable and HTC bundles in proprietary USB headphones, eliminating some other connectivity options. The unit does offer a standard headphone jack and the normal audio ports, but those looking to leverage USB devices will find the non-standard connectors a real hassle. Further separating it from the competition, the HTC Touch Pro offers a 3.2 Megapixel camera and support for MicroSD cards as large as 16Gbytes.

Performance wise, the unit functions well on the Sprint network. 3G speeds are quite sufficient and battery life is quite good, with at least 48 hours of standby time observed. Some may find the keyboard far from perfect, the keys are all mounted flush, making touch (or thumb) typing a little awkward. What’s more, the unit lacks the tactile feedback of a positive click when typing, unlike RIM's Blackberry’s and the Treo’s keyboards. The included GPS functions very well and proves to be accurate, and users will also appreciate the back-lighted keyboard and screen, which automatically detects ambient light to provide an excellent user experience.

While far from perfect, the HTC Touch Pro does offer solution providers a new and exciting option when it comes to selling handheld devices. Although those addicted to their  iPhone will not find the Touch Pro anything special, users looking to maximize connectivity with their Microsoft Exchange servers and other Microsoft products will find the HTC Touch Pro a welcome breath of fresh air.

Sprint started shipping the unit in the beginning of November and bundles it with various data plans at various prices. Supplies have been limited and "unlocked" units can be found for around $700 from alternate distribution channels, making the device a somewhat expensive option. Interested solution providers can contact Sprint for additional information and for channel specifics.



Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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