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HTC Shift: Smart phone morphs into Vista UMPC

The HTC Shift is so much more than just a smart phone -- for starters, it runs Windows Vista and it's got more connectivity options than most laptops

Every now and then a mobile phone manufacturer makes you sit up in your seat and have a really good look at your computer screen. When we were sent this photo of HTC's Shift by its PR company, we stared at our screens for a very long time indeed.

The HTC Shift is similar in many ways to the HTC Advantage (aka the T-Mobile Ameo). It has a large 178mm colour touchscreen and a full Qwerty keypad, but unlike any device that HTC has made before this is much more than a smart phone -- it's a UMPC running Windows Vista Business edition.

There's not much information on specs yet, but we know it has a 30GB hard drive, tri-band HSDPA, quad-band EDGE, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. There's also a fingerprint reader and a small Synaptics touchpad for navigating the menu.

Other features we've deduced from the picture -- click on the image to enlarge it -- include a VGA camera on the front for video calling, a USB port and what looks like an SD card slot. Unfortunately, that's all we know -- we're not sure when it's coming out in the UK.

Interestingly, we had a chat a while ago with T-Mobile about whether or not they would go all the way and stock UMPC-type devices after we saw the Ameo, which is as close to a UMPC any smart phone has ever been. T-Mobile said no, but we think it'll change its mind after seeing this baby. -AL

Update: Read our full HTC Shift review