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Phones

HTC Touch Viva

The Touch Viva is the baby brother in HTC's latest Touch Series announcements, which features a pared down version of TouchFlo 3D matched with a simplified spec sheet. HSDPA and GPS are notably absent.

The first thing you might wonder upon seeing the specs and images of the Touch Viva is: why is HTC re-releasing the HTC Touch with a new name? Like the company's first Touch product, this one has entry-level specifications and an attractive design. What makes it different then?

Upside
Since it worked for the HTC Touch, it should work for this model as well. The Touch Viva's design looks largely similar to the original. This includes lots of curves and an uncluttered face with just a directional pad and two buttons gracing the front.

While most people would view this as a minus point, the fact that the Viva uses the Texas Instruments (TI) OMAP 850 processor works in its favour. This 201MHz chip has been used on many devices and is tried and tested for reasonable performance with good power efficiency. Most importantly, being less current than many of the Intel and Qualcomm chips commonly in use these days, it'll be cheaper too.

Though it still retains the name TouchFLO, HTC's user interface (UI) on the Touch Viva has been updated from the original iteration. It will sport a tabbed interface similar to the TouchFLO 3D UI seen in high-end devices like the Diamond and Touch Pro.

For wireless connectivity, the Viva has a quad-band GSM/EDGE radio, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It has 128MB RAM for running applications, 256MB ROM for storage and a microSD card slot for expansion. Like many other Windows Mobile 6.1 PDA-phones, this one comes with a QVGA (240x320) touchscreen display.

Downside
One of the most surprising things about the design of the Viva is its raised bezel. Till now, every single handheld in HTC's Touch range of devices have had their screens level with the chassis. This gives the thumb more space to manoeuvre when using scroll and swipe actions to perform tasks. It should be interesting to see if the traditional recessed display found on the Viva will impede users' operation of TouchFLO.

Even though its specifications are almost identical to the first Touch, its listed dimensions of 104.5x59x15.8mm make it longer, wider and thicker than the original. We usually expect tech products to get smaller with time, and we suspect that this may be due to cheaper materials used or a simpler production process for the Viva to keep costs down.

Outlook
Notice that we didn't fault the Viva for lack of features like 3G or GPS. That's because it's meant to be an entry-level device for developing markets. This handheld can be a good transition for those wanting to move on from a regular phone to one with full PIM and email features.

To be a success, the Viva needs to have an irresistible price and great battery life. We'll analyse those two factors once we get more information and a review set, so look out for that.

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