HTC's HD2 with Windows Mobile 6.5 : First Review

Since the mobile phone is the one gadget you are pretty much guaranteed to take with you when you are abroad on business, you need one that works well.

Windows Mobile has always seemed, on the face of it, the operating system of choice.

It has the same programs so familiar from regular computer use such as Word and Excel, and comes in a range of handsets from different manufacturers.

But the truth is Windows Mobile has always been difficult to use. It was slow, tricky, cumbersome and awkward, with touchscreen interfaces that needed a stylus to get anything done. Even the new version, Windows Mobile 6.5, launched last Tuesday and called Windows Phone to sound more friendly, wasn't perfect

. It didn't support the better-looking, easier to use capacitive type of touchscreens, like the one on the iPhone. Capacitive screens are more responsive because they don't require pressure and offer sharp, richly-coloured displays.

Everything changes with the HTC HD2 out later this month. The Taiwanese smartphone maker has added layers on top of the vanilla Windows Mobile interface and has improved it out of all recognition. It has also added support for the multi-touch capacitive screens everyone craves.

So there's a great-looking home screen with weather details that update to show you what's going on outside that windowless conference centre. And it picks up emails, texts and voicemails.

The main screen shows a carousel of shortcuts, making it as easy to get to your calendar and contacts as to Facebook and Twitter, if you must. Programmes of your choice are displayed so at just one touch of the huge 4.2-inch screen you can connect your laptop to the internet using the phone's 3G connection – handy when there's no wi-fi.

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