HTC débuts Windows smartphones
Taipei - Taiwan-based High Tech Computer Corporation (HTC), the world's fifth-largest mobile device maker, on Friday unveiled two new smartphones that will serve as a test of the once faltering Microsoft Windows mobile operating system.
HTC's Titan and Radar model handsets work on the Windows Mango-branded operating system. The larger Titan, with a 11.9cm display, is geared toward business users. The Radar is for consumers keen on social networking.
The handsets unveiled in HTC's home base of Taiwan on Friday, and expected to reach markets as early as October, will test a mobile operating system that has trailed Apple's iOS and Google's Android system in popularity because of user interface problems.
The Windows Phone 7 installed in smartphones in 2010 was considered harder to operate than iOS-based iPhones or Android-based handsets designed by a range of manufacturers, analysts have said.
For example, some Windows Phone 7 handsets sold in Taiwan lacked interface in traditional Chinese characters, the island's standard writing system.
Windows, though long dominant in operating systems for personal computers, claimed just a 4.2% market share worldwide for smartphones in 2010, market research firm Gartner found.
"Windows was in a weaker market position," said Joey Yen, handset analyst with market research firm IDC in Taipei. "They are trying really hard to overcome the weaknesses but to really know if they can, we need time to see."
Microsoft is releasing Mango this year with features designed to simplify e-mail and internet browsing.
For the Titan, HTC plays up what analysts call the primary Windows mobile advantage - perks for business users.
It allows for "multitasking like viewing a presentation while you're on a conference call or listening to music while compiling an e-mail", the company said in a statement.
The Radar focuses more on social networking features, including a way to chat via text messages, Facebook and Windows' own messaging service without switching applications, HTC's statement said.