Reminding us that smartphones are eReaders too, T-Mobile unveiled a phone with a larger, 4.3-inch screen and a built-in Barnes & Noble eReader app that connects users to the B&N eBookstore.
The HTC HD2 phone, unveiled at Mobile World Congress today, is already being named T-Mobile’s answer to the Apple iPad as it not only acts as an eReader but offers Blockbuster on Demand for downloading video and MobiTV for on-demand TV.
Due this spring, the HD2 creates a “unique and powerful mobile entertainment experience” by combining a large screen and significant processing power, said T-Mobile US VP marketing product innovation George Harrison. It runs on a 1GHz Snapdragon processor by Qualcomm. The device is based on Windows Mobile 6.5 OS but uses the HTC Sense user interface.
We’ll have to wait for more details on the HD2’s e-reader features, although it can access more than a million eBooks from B&N.com.
The Yankee Group was not overly impressed with the HD2, mainly because it runs on Windows Mobile rather than the new Windows Phone 7 platform, introduced this week. Yankee Group director of Anywhere Consumer Research Carl Howe claims any Windows 6.5 phone…”No matter how pretty it is, it faces an uphill battle in the market, because Microsoft has declared it obsolete, no matter how much it may claim it hasn’t.”
As for smartphones vs. eReaders vs. iPads, consumers, will, of course read on all of the above, which may become a lesson learned for Amazon, says Howe. Amazon “will eventually discover that consumer electronics is a highly specialized manufacturing business, and eventually sell Kindle reader software for a wide variety of platforms. I already do most of my Kindle reading on my iPhone… consumers will choose whatever they find most convenient at any given time.”