Good 'ol HTC recently launched another innovative device (in Europe, of course--guh), but it's not a smart phone. The HTC Athena is a UMPC of sorts, and it's jam-packed with features. It is powered by a 624MHz Intel processor, runs Windows Mobile 5 Pocket PC Phone Edition, has an 8GB hard drive and 128MB of RAM and 256MB of flash ROM. You want wireless options? Oh, it's got your wireless options--Bluetooth 2.0, Wi-Fi, GSM/GPRS/EDGE, UMTS/HSDPA, and GPS. On top of all that, the gadget boasts a 5-inch, 640x480 resolution touch screen; a detachable full QWERTY keyboard; and a 3-megapixel camera.
Drooling yet? Well, I actually got to see a working model while I was at CES, and though I didn't get to play with it for very long, I did have a couple of thoughts on it. First, with the large display and QWERTY keyboard, I can easily see how this might be a good stand-in for your laptop when you need to fire off some quick e-mails or notes. The device seemed pretty responsive from what little time I had with it, and the HTC rep also mentioned using it as a portable video player for his kids--OK, another good use. Yet despite all this, I have to wonder, are we ready for this kind of device in the United States? Granted, I might be asking the wrong group of folks, given that you tech-loving Crave readers would probably jump on a gadget like this, but I think it's a legitimate question. As I mentioned before, it's currently being offered in Europe (through T-Mobile and renamed as the Ameo), and HTC said it didn't know about U.S. availability. I can certainly understand why carriers would be a little hesitant to pick up such a device. To me, the Athena is kind of like the