HTC Touch HD Coming February 10, $1,499 Telstra Exclusive

The good news: HTC today launched the Touch HD smartphone. It's a Telstra exclusive and hits store shelves on February 10.

The bad news: It'll cost you $1,499 up front or $62.45 a month over 24 months on a $150 Telstra contract. Oh, and it still uses Windows Mobile.The Telstra integration is pretty hardcore, with BigPond pretty much everywhere you look in the TouchFlo 3D interface, including a dedicated TV channel on your menu bar for Foxtel. The exclusive period is for a limited time, although neither HTC or Telstra could elaborate on how long that period actually is.

The phone itself is stunning, and a testament to the great work HTC do. We've been playing with a pre-production unit for a little while now, and although the software wasn't final, the hardware verges on artwork. The 3.8-inch screen is gloriously vivid, the TouchFlo 3D interface is impressive and the spec sheet is enough to keep any smartphone enthusiast happy.

But ultimately the issue with this phone comes down to two factors: price and Windows Mobile. At the media event today, the Q&A session degraded into questions on Telstra's pricing for both the handset and their entertainment features rather than the handset itself. And Windows Mobile, as we already know, hasn't kept pace with the more user-friendly mobile operating systems from Apple, Symbian and now Palm. With WinMo 6.5 heading our way later this year, fingers are crossed that a Touch HD lands sooner than later, but breath certainly isn't being held.

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