At the Mobile World Congress 09, Barcelona, HTC unveiled their two new releases: the HTC Touch Pro 2 and the HTC Touch Diamond 2. Both are incredibly gorgeous phones, incorporating the TouchFLO 3D technology developed by HTC.
Essentially TouchFlo is a touch screen technology which is able to differentiate between a finger and a stylus, when used on the touch screen interface, and react accordingly. The main focus of the TouchFLO 3D technology is the multiple home screens. Each screen has different information categorized in a logical manner and accessible via icons along the edge of the screen. In the latest phones, there are 10 of these icons in all, translating into 10 different home screens. The idea is to deliver relevant information together, and yet have a bird’s eye view of all the information there is to have.
TouchFLO 3D consists of a grid view of icons that is displayed when the user drags their finger from the bottom to the top of the screen. The buttons are significantly larger, designed to be used with larger fingertips than with the more precise stylus. The grid is what gives this technology its 3D tag, as it is designed to resemble a cube.
Applications that use TouchFLO
Although most of the applications designed to use TouchFLO have large virtual buttons, there are a few exceptions. The drop-down menu in the top right corner of the phone also uses this technology, however, the links are extremely small. The menu displays the open applications and is intended to allow the user to navigate easily between applications and to have an immediate overview of which applications are running. This is particularly useful if the user needs to conserve main memory or serves as a warning when there is unsaved data in one of the applications.
The communications manager of a HTC mobile handset is a convenient location to switch phone modes, like flight mode or phone mode. The communications manager also controls various means of interacting with the phone, like turning Bluetooth on and off. The grid view of these options includes the Wifi option, other data connections, ActiveSync and Microsoft Direct Push, among others.
The camera application created by HTC is especially designed for finger manipulation, with large buttons along the base of the screen. The orientation of the phone changes from portrait to landscape automatically based on orientation. The buttons can be shifted to the top as well, using a dragging motion of the finger.
An area where the iPhone has triumphed over the HTC handsets is in the finger-typing one. In spite of having the technology, strangely the HTC makers choose to have only stylus-based typing. This becomes very inconvenient for long messages, especially emails. Their rather strange excuse is that their phones will soon incorporate QWERTY keyboards, which isn’t really a solution.
TouchFLO is an excellent technology that focuses on allowing the user to interact with the touch screen handset via the stylus or with their fingers. It gives an added dimension of versatility that makes for interesting and productive devices.