HTC Athena launches in Europe; will it fly in the States?

The HTC Athena is launched in Europe, but Crave wonders if we're ready for it in the U.S.

HTC Athena
HTC Athena Engadget Mobile

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 Nokia N800 Internet Tablet and UMPCs: cool concepts but just not ready for mass consumption. What do you guys think? If the HTC Athena were to become available in the States or if you could even get your hands on an unlocked version, would you get it, and how would you use it?

About the author

Bonnie Cha was a former chief correspondent for CNET Crave, covering every kind of tech toy imaginable (with a special obsession for robots and Star Wars-related stuff). When she's not scoping out stories, you can find her checking out live music or surfing in the chilly waters of Northern California.

 

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