At a glance, it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense that HTC would be devoting time, money, and energy to moving downmarket into the dog-eat-dog world of dumbphones -- but after chatting a bit with the company today, we've got a slightly better sense for why the Smart
exists: it's a stepping stone, not a final destination. It's promoting the Qualcomm Brew MP-powered device as a way to get folks who would otherwise buy... say, a Samsung Corby
, and use it to get them interested in (and locked into) the Sense UI, which looks surprisingly similar here to what you'd find on anything else HTC makes. The Smart's screen animations are pleasantly fast and you've got basically all the stuff you'd expect to find on a basic new-in-box smartphone including full HTML browsing and support for Twitter, email, and so on. The 2.8-inch resistive display seemed totally usable to us; clearly, a full QWERTY keyboard won't be terribly comfortable on any
2.8-inch screen, but it ain't bad. In a word, we're impressed -- we wouldn't buy it (and we suspect you wouldn't either), but it's definitely got a valid target demo. Follow the break for video.
HTC Smart hands-on