HTC unveils Shift UMPC

HtcshiftNow that this morning’s frenzy is over and it’s already past 1 a.m. on the East Coast (7 p.m. for me), it’s time for a confession: I didn’t know it was possible to suddenly be unable to live without something I didn’t know existed until today.

Yes, even though HTC was rumored to be prepping a 7-inch UMPC for a Q2 release for several months, I didn’t expect this. HTC is fully aware that it has a winner on its hands, too. That’s the only explanation for why the company would name its upcoming UMPC the Shift. One careless typo and . . . well, it could all go down the toilet. And that’s definitely not where a device like this belongs.

The press release lacks pricing and CPU details, but the engineering sample Engadget got ahold of was powered by a 1.2GHz Via chip. HTC reps told PCMag.com that the Shift would be "aggressively priced" and sold through "standard PC channels," not cell phone shops.

I, for one, am glad that the unit won’t be tied to a carrier because I’ve already put nearly ten years into my relationship with T-Mobile and I’m in it for the long haul.

Here are some screenshots (from the little flash teaser on the HTC website) that illustrate how the Shift transforms from standard-looking UMPC slate to oversized Advantage:

Htc_shift1

Htc_shift2

Htc_shift3

Htc_shift4

The specs are actually a mixed bag for me. Connectivity is outstanding (802.11b/g, triband UMTS/HSDPA, quadband GSM/GPRS/EDGE, Bluetooth 2.0), the mouse buttons and synaptics touchpad look good, and I like the 1GB of RAM, preloaded Vista Business Edition, and overall design. But, the 800 x 480 resolution and 30GB HDD are so 2006.

The keyboard looks promising, though mouse buttons and a pointer (see the Samsung Q1 keyboard) would probably make using the device in "laptop mode" more natural and comfortable. I guess I’ll know for sure at some point after the Shift’s Q3 release because like I said earlier today, 2007 is going to be a very expensive, bank-breaking, UMPC-filled year.

Better stock up on Cup-A-Noodle. I think Costco sells packs of 12 for something like $6 . . .

Thanks, GSN!

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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