Timing is everything and the HTC Shift sure seems to have suffered from bad timing. When the device was announced it caught just about everyone’s imagination. And even with confusion surrounding the specs in the early going it still had quite a few drooling over it. But then delays hit and hit again. Although no one has commented for sure, I’m reasonably convinced that this had something to do with the Qualcomm/Broadcom legal dispute.
At this year’s CES, Shifts were available to be seen and fondled and the word from this HTC rep is that they would be availble for shipping in the US by the end of the first quarter of 2008. Of course this same gentleman was also quick to point out that HTC wasn’t calling the Shift a UMPC anymore. (You can catch that in this video.)
I was actually quite surprised when I got my hands on the Shift. In many ways the size, form factor, and keyboard actually exceeded my expectations. Although a tad heavier than I expected, I really liked how the device fit in my hands. From purely a hardware factor, the Shift still has one big drawback and that is inferior battery life (reports are just over 2 hours.) But that said, the design of this mobile device looked like it could be a real competitor.
Just prior to CES a number of folks, yours truly included, pondered that the HTC Shift’s time might have come and gone with all the delays. The impending introduction of the MID’s was about to change the marketplace When the Shift finally shipped it might find a difficult road ahead in a changed landscape. I still think this is true and in many ways that is a shame really. Aside from the battery life issues, it is a very compelling ultra-mobile device.
So, here’s my question. Is the HTC Shift still on your radar or have you passed it by? Comments, please.