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HTC Updates Touch Cruise

The Windows Mobile smartphone will feature robust location-based services, enabling users to geotag photos as well as get turn-by-turn directions.

HTC Touch Cruise

HTC Touch Cruise
(click for larger image)

HTC is launching an update to its Touch Cruise smartphone, and it's beefing up the location-based services.

The handset maker is taking advantage of the integrated GPS with a service it calls HTC Footprints. With Footprints, a customer can use the 3.2-megapixel camera to capture digital postcards on the phone. These photos are automatically geotagged and named with the general location or area. Users can also attach notes or audio clips to these digital postcards.

"Just as we have seen GPS technology transform how people navigate to new places, we're now seeing location-based applications like HTC Footprints changing how we interact and carry our memories," said Peter Chou, president and CEO of HTC, in a statement.

The Cruise may also replace some personal navigation devices, as it will be able to provide turn-by-turn navigation thanks to assisted GPS. It will come with an in-car cradle for docking, and it will be able to find directions, and location-relevant searches.

The touch-screen smartphone is powered by Microsoft's Windows Mobile Professional 6.1, which means it can receive push corporate e-mail, and it can view Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF files. Like the HTC Touch Diamond and Touch Pro, the Cruise has the TouchFLO user interface to make navigation more suitable for a touch screen.

Users can surf the Web, download e-mails, or send instant messages with EDGE, HSDPA 3G, and built-in Wi-Fi. The handset also has expandable memory via a MicroSD slot, Bluetooth version 2.0, a multimedia player, and hands-free controls.

At 4 by 2.1 by 0.5 inches, the Cruise is much more compact than its predecessor. It has a 2.8-inch touch screen with a 240-by-320 resolution, and it has handwriting recognition. The Cruise will be available in all major global markets in spring, and HTC said it would be available unlocked in the United States for $500 to $600.