A fingertip-operated smartphone that allows you to navigate through menus by flicking your finger has been launched by HTC today.

The HTC Touch is an ultra compact PDA-style device, just 13.9mm thin, that's built on the latest Windows Mobile6.0 Professional operating system. HTC, though, has layered on top a new user interface - TouchFLO. This allows you to rotate through menus and flick through contacts lists simply by sweeping your finger across, up or down the display.

The HTC Touch is a tri-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE device that also features Wi-Fi onboard. There's no 3G on the HTC Touch, however, and no Qwerty keyboard.

The HTC Touch has been designed to appeal to consumers as well as professional users. At the launch in London today, Peter Chou, CEO and President of HTC, said the Touch had been developed to address the issues of easy usability. The Windows Mobile 6 OS has been adapted to offer a user-friendly start page, with large clock, simple-to-get weather updates, and so on, easily to hand.

HTC TouchFLO system

The TouchFLO system responds quickly to movement, and can differentiate between finger strokes and stylus taps. Swipe your finger from the top to the bottom of the touchscreen and you're taken into a rotating menu system. You can flick between options such as Applications, Media and Contacts, at the stroke of a finger across the screen. In the address book you can roll down the page at a finger flick.

"Beyond simple" was how John Wang, CMO of HTC, described the interface. With perhaps one eye on the forthcoming iPhone too, Wang said this year would mark a turning point in the way we perceive mobile interfaces. "2007 will be seen as the inflection point when we move away from the idea of button-centric mobile devices to touch-centric devices."

The HTC Touch carries all the standard suite of Windows Mobile 6 applications. These include Windows Media Player Mobile, Internet Explorer Mobile and Office Mobile applications. Direct Push email is featured too.

The device, which is covered in a tactile matt black (or green) rubberised casing, also has a 2-megapixel camera on the back. Video recording and playback are supported, and there's space for high capacity MicroSD cards - a 1 GB card is supplied.

The HTC Touch will be available from Orange from today, under HTC's own brand for the first time rather than the "Orange SPV" brand. It will also be available shortly on T-Mobile as the MDA Touch. It will be sold at a range of prices for contract deals (details are available from operators). However, HTC confirmed a SIM-free version of the HTC Touch will cost around 449 euro (£300).

HTC Touch - key features

  • Dimensions: 99.9mm (L) x 58mm (W) x 13.9mm (d)
  • Weight: 112g with battery
  • MicroSD card support (1GB MicroSD storage card included)
  • 64MB RAM, 128MB ROM
  • 2.8-inch LCD touchscreen with backlight, 240 x 320 pixels resolution with 65,536 colours
  • Standby time: Up to 200
  • Talk time: Up to 5 hours
  • 2.0 megapixel CMOS colour camera
  • Windows Mobile 6 Professional
  • Direct Push Email and HTML email support
  • GSM/GPRS/EDGE Tri-band: 900, 1800,1900
  • Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 b/g
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • Available in soft black or wasabi green