HTC Shift -- the cellphone company finally goes UMPC

It's been a long time in coming, but after HTC's long, gradual feature buildup all the way from the very first Pocket PC phone in 2002, they're finally putting the "computer" in High Tech Computer by making the jump to ultraportable PC-maker. That's right, HTC's first foray into the UMPC market, the Shift (codename Shangri-La), is officially announced today. We don't yet have hard details on release date or price, but we do know it should be available in Q3 (we'd estimate for under $2,000). As for features, we know not to expect anything out of the ordinary (except lots of 3G), although the form factor is pretty notable: not too many UMPCs have a sliding keyboard, and none that we can recall have a tilting display in this orientation. Some specs:

  • VIA CPU (the one we tried had a 1.2GHz chip)

  • Vista business (yes, it was running Aero)

  • 7-inch sliding, tiling wide-touchscreen

  • 30GB drive

  • Tri-band UMTS / HSDPA, quad-band GSM / GPRS / EDGE

  • WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0

  • Biometric reader, front-facing camera

We got a chance to play with an engineering sample of the Shift the other day; while we couldn't take any shots of it, we could say that the slide and tilt screen felt rock solid. Unfortunately, the full keyboard just had way too many keys packed in to type remotely accurately on. Stay tuned for more on this one; from today on HTC's playing a whole new game.