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The AT&T / HTC Pure is a Windows Phone

The HTC Pure from AT&T is one of the first smartphones based on the new Windows Mobile 6.5, now renamed Windows Phone.

The Pure is a compact handheld design, with most of the front taken up by the 3.2-inch touchscreen display. Its features include a 5 megapixel auto-focus camera, FM radio, built-in Wi-Fi for faster web access, GPS, and haptic feedback (vibration) on button presses. It's priced from AT&T at $149.

But the big news with the Pure is that it is one of the first phones built on the new Windows Phone platform, which is designed to extend the former Windows Mobile platform from business to consumers.

Windows Phone adds significant new services, including the new Windows Marketplace for Mobile with downloadable applications certified by Microsoft, and the My Phone online service to back up your phone's content and locate a missing phone (including Premium services to remotely force it to ring, locating it on a map, and locking or even wiping it).

Windows Phone is intended to be more touch friendly, to get away from the stylus with a redesigned user interface, and to make it easier to get to your important applications by bringing them up to the main Today / Home screen, instead of having them buried in menus. You can configure this with different interfaces -- TouchFLO 3D to quickly flip though the current status of your key applications, or the Windows Default interface with Zune-like scrolling though a list of common functions.

There's also a Start menu screen with icons of all the installed applications, for those who want the comfort of commonality with Windows (However, the Start menu is accessed from the top left of the screen, instead of the bottom left.) One of the four physical buttons below the screen also is a dedicated Windows key, which also brings up the Start screen (or press and hold the phone End call key for the Today / Home screen.

Unfortunately, the finger-friendly Today / Home screen interface is still only skin deep on top of the underlying Windows Mobile platform. Launch an application like Messages or Outlook E-mail, or set options in a dialog box, and you're back to really needing a stylus to access the small menus and controls -- much less to hit the tiny "x" application close box at the top right of the screen -- another remnant of the Windows heritage.

But if you're looking for a phone that works well with Windows, then Microsoft is clearly directed to your needs with the aptly named Windows Phone platform, and the AT&T / HTC Pure is a nice implementation, with a relatively big and responsive touch-screen display in a quite pocketable device. Just be aware that you'll still need the stylus (or a sharp fingernail edge) to fully navigate the interface.

See my full article, Windows Phone -- AT&T / HTC Pure, for more on the AT&T / HTC Pure phone and the Windows Phone platform.

See my Mobile Communications Gallery for more on smartphones.

Find the AT&T / HTC Pure on Amazon.com

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