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HTC Shift gets UK price cut; replacement or retirement imminent?

HTC Shift gets UK price cut; replacement or retirement imminent?

Is HTC planning the imminent demise of the Shift UMPC?  Retailer Expansys has slashed the cost of the compact touchscreen device by £450 ($656), bringing it down to $499.99 ($731), as part of a promotion through their email newsletter.  The Shift has a 7-inch touchscreen, runs Windows Vista, and has integrated tri-band UMTS/HSDPA; it's based on a low-power 800MHz Intel processor that's looking pretty tired compared to the chip company's latest silicon offerings.

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ASUS R50a UMPC versus HTC Shift

ASUS R50a UMPC versus HTC Shift

Now that the price of the ASUS R50a UMPC has come down, even if only a little, it's brought the touchscreen handheld into the consideration of a few more buyers.  While we already know that the $1,399 UMPC performs well, its time to see how it shapes up to a stalwart of the segment, HTC's Shift.  The ASUS has a faster CPU - Intel’s 1.33GHz Z520 Silverthorne - than the Shift, so as expected it's a step up in performance at least.

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HTC Shift CDMA EV-DO UMPC review

HTC Shift CDMA EV-DO UMPC review

HTC have made a name for themselves with capable, business-friendly smartphones, and when back in March 2007 they first suggested they were turning their hand to the UMPC market there was no shortage of interest. Boasting full Windows Vista support, as well as a cut-down quick-start SnapVue interface for basic tasks, QWERTY keyboard, touchscreen and multiple wireless options, the HTC Shift was hailed by some as likely to be the first decent UMPC. The subsequent journey from announcement to actual launch - a point first estimated for Q3 2007 - has been punctuated by delays, wavering interest and more than a little criticism of how competitive its specs are in light of the latest competition; HTC sent over the new CDMA version of the Shift, complete with Sprint EV-DO support, for SlashGear to see whether time has been kind to the UMPC.

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Hands-on with HTC Shift reveals oddly unpolished Windows Mobile

Hands-on  with HTC Shift reveals oddly unpolished Windows Mobile

The lucky lovelies over at pcdebolso.com managed to acquire (let's ask no questions) a pre-production HTC Shift for five days, and proceeded to examine it both from the perspective as a compact, Vista-running UMPC and as a large, Windows Mobile-running PDA.  Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the Shift although impressive doesn't manage to succeed 100% in both categories; what is surprising, though, is that it appears HTC have made some bizarre concessions which in certain cases render the Shift less useful than a far cheaper device.

 

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HTC Shift screen resolution

HTC Shift screen resolution

Alright, so I doubt any of you have forgotten the HTC Shift right? Well if you have it’s the UMPC/PDA device that HTC is releasing that has a full keyboard and “Shifts” to show the keyboard and at the same time props the screen up at a viewable angle.

It also has 2 processors for two separate OS’s, Vista and some sort of proprietary low power HTC OS. Well one of the few, and I do mean few, problems with the device is the low 800x480 screen resolution.

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