Why are new HTC devices only tri-band?


Those of us in North America can only watch in envy as our friends in Europe and Asia start getting their hands on their new HTC Touch Diamonds and soon HTC Touch Pros. It will take a few more months for both of these to make it over here with a slightly modified configuration for own mobile networks. Jason Dunn, over at PocketPC Thoughts, went to HTC and asked them “Why don’t we see more quad-band GSM phones from HTC?” Offering quad-band GSM devices would allow HTC (and other manufacturers for that matter) to release one phone that would cover the world. It seems more logical than having different tri-band mobile phones for different regions. And that’s only GSM; the same dilemma also applies to the 3G bands.

HTC got back to Jason:

The initial models of Touch Diamond and Touch Pro have been optimized for European / Asian bands because HTC is launching with partners in those countries first. These models do not feature 850/1900/2100 3G as on many of our previous flagship models as European partners have now begun operating 3G on a second band – 900 MHz, and it is difficult to optimize for 4 bands of 3G as well as multiple 2G bands. The considerably smaller size of the Touch Diamond and Touch Pro compared to our previous 3G devices makes this task even more difficult, especially as many of our smaller previous models did not feature GPS. Additional models of both handsets optimized for other regions will launch in the second half of 2008.

As Jason points out, it comes down to size and the number of bands that can be offered. The greater the number of bands, the more complex and bulky the antenna design. Throw in GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and you have another layer of complexity. With customers looking for thin and sleek designs, compromises have to be made.

Fair enough, I say, except that I travel just enough that I want my phone to come with quad-band GSM support at least. I guess I’ll be skipping the HTC Touch Diamond and Pro for now (likely until I get my hands on one and have to eat my words).

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