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Sprint HTC Touch Diamond outed early

The highly anticipated HTC Touch Diamond smartphone officially lands at Sprint with availability slated for September.

While the official announcement wasn't supposed to cross the wires till next week, The Wall Street Journal went early with its story (please don't get me started on this) and published a review of the HTC Touch Diamond for Sprint.

Yes, that's right. The Windows Mobile 6.1 smartphone is officially part of the Sprint family; not that it was a complete surprise. The HTC Touch Diamond, as well as the HTC Touch Pro (no announcement on this model yet), were long rumored for a CDMA carrier months before Wednesday's early coming-out party. So now that the floodgates are open, here is what we know.

HTC Touch Diamond (Sprint)
Word's out on the HTC Touch Diamond for Sprint. Sprint

There are a number of differences between the Sprint HTC Touch Diamond and the unlocked version we reviewed in late June. First, it sports a purple/burgundy backplate to add more flash to an already sexy phone. The smartphone is also a smidge thicker and heavier at 4 inches tall by 2 inches wide by 0.6 inch deep and 4.1 ounces, but keeps the same 2.8-inch, 262,000-color TFT touch screen.

Of course, one of the highlights of the HTC Touch Diamond is the TouchFLO 3D interface, which provides a toolbar along the bottom of the screen where you can move left to right with the swipe of your finger to launch applications. Sprint's version is optimized so that you can access things like live TV, weather, e-mail, photos, contacts, and more.

In addition to the toolbar, there are several programs, such as e-mail, the camera, and music, where you can go flip through your files and messages by swiping your thumb/finger up or down the screen with a cool animated 3D effect.

Moving on to the features, the HTC Touch Diamond for Sprint runs Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional Edition, but rather than being content with the standard Microsoft Office Mobile Suite, the smartphone also ships with Dataviz's Documents to Go Suite and the Opera Web browser. We're sure many will be pleased with inclusion of these applications, which are arguably more robust than the former. Wireless options include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (with A2DP support), EV-DO Rev. A, and GPS with support for Sprint Navigation.

For fun time, the Touch Diamond works with Sprint's various multimedia services, including Sprint TV and the Sprint Music Store. HTC also developed a YouTube application that allows you to view said clips, and the handset is equipped with a 3.2-megapixel camera with video recording capabilities. There's 4GB of internal memory, but it appears, once again, the phone lacks an expansion slot. Tsk, tsk. The Touch Diamond's 1,340mAh lithium ion battery is rated for 4.2 hours of talk time.

The HTC Touch Diamond for Sprint is expected to be available some time in September for $249.99 with a two-year contract and after rebates and discounts. Though a specific release date was not available at the time of this writing, you can sign up for updates from Sprint's Web site. Now, Katherine Boehret of the WSJ wasn't particularly fond of the device, noting major issues with Windows Mobile in her review and how it's not as intuitive as the iPhone.

We had our own set of problems with the unlocked version of the Touch Diamond, namely the sluggish performance, but we're wiping the slate clean and approaching Sprint's version with an open mind. Any initial thoughts?