After reading around the web and looking at various reports, it's pretty clear that while the Touch Diamond's hardware is certainly top-notch, much (if not most) of the innovation is in TouchFLO 3D. Here's what's great:
- Rather than having to initiate it with a swipe, it replaces Windows Mobile's standard Today screen (shades of the Xperia X1 Panel interface here)
- TouchFLO 3D also appears to be very well integrated in the OS. It's less of an add-on and more of a new philosophy towards Windows Mobile. For example, the 5-way is also touch-sensitive so you can rotate your thumb around it to zoom in and out. It also demonstrates the power of Windows Mobile's data structure -- TouchFLO 3D has previews of emails, allows you to examine your pictures, and plays your music directly within the interface.
- TouchFLO 3D tech is also built-into a custom build of Opera 9.5, which we've previously been enthusiastic about. But get this, no matter what your zoom level is, the text automatically wraps to the zoom. This is in contrast to the iPhone's browser, which sometimes is unable to get the text to wrap properly.
- TouchFLO 3D is, in fact, 3D in its animation effects. The Touch Diamond, unlike previous HTC devices, appears to be fully hardware accelerated and uses that power to full effect.
- Speaking of hardware, I can say from personal experience with some devices that Windows Mobile -- especially browsing on Windows Mobile -- feels like a completely different and more usable animal when it's on a high-resolution screen. 240x320 will be officially antiquated and a sign of a bad user experience when the TouchFLO 3D devices start hitting the market.
...The net effect is a device that we're not embarrassed to call an iPhone killer. The UI looks to be nearly as intuitive and there's a core tradeoff that I think a lot of people will be willing to make. The bad part of this trade: the occasional UI dissonance between TouchFLO 3D and the standard Windows Mobile is more than offset by the power of Windows Mobile's ability to use a giant swatch of powerful, enterprise-class applications.