HTC’s Touch Dual mobile phone handset has a trick up its sleeve: it can be used as a BlackBerry device. The updated version of one of the foremost ‘iPhone killers’, the Touch Dual is an HSDPA Windows Mobile 6.0 handset that works with RIM’s BlackBerry Connect email and contact management software.

At a time when the iPhone has failed to light up the faces of the business fraternity, disappointed at the relatively slow web connecitivity of the 2.5G Apple handset, HTC may just be on to a winner with its upgraded Touch.

A couple of months ago when we were gearing up for the launch of the iPhone, we indulged in a bit of idle speculation about whether it was going to live up to its significant hype or whether another handset would sneak in and steal all the smartphone glory.

The original HTC Touch, launched in Europe in June and coinciding neatly with the US launch of the Apple iPhone, benefited from the frenzy of excitement around Apple’s handset, so has garnered both plenty of press coverage and become relatively recgonisable.

It uses coverFLO touchscreen navigation enabling owners to flit around without having to type on a fiddly keypad or use a stylus. In this respect, it is similar to the iPhone and its much-lauded TouchFLO navigation.

However, the icons on its PDA-like screen were fiddly to select, badly letting it down when it came to ease of navigation when judged against the iPhone.

See our comparative report on the usability of the iPhone, the Nokia N95 and the HTC Touch.

The HTC’s Touch Dual fixes the main criticism of its successor with a slide-down keyboard in either a 10 or 20-key configuration that greatly improves navigation, while the addition of BlackBerry Connect email software as an optional add-on will further boost its appeal to business users after a ‘do everything’ smartphone.

In contrast to the iPhone, which costs £269 inc VAT as well as requiring UK customers to sign up for an 18-month contract with 02 costing at least £35 a month, HTC Touch Dual customers can get their hands on one for free in return for an Orange contract of the same value. The BlackBerry Connect software is an optional extra.


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