HTC and T-Mobile's "Dine and Dash" Event, Featuring the T-Mobile Dash

By Janak Parekh on Wednesday, October 11, 2006

This morning, T-Mobile officially announced the Dash, their version of the HTC Excalibur Smartphone, at a "Dine and Dash" PR event in SoHo. I had the opportunity to be at the press event, and so am assuming Guest Editorship at Smartphone Thoughts to have you join me inside for a brief look!

Figure 1: Entrance to the Mercer Kitchen.

The event was held at the Mercer Kitchen, a trendy restaurant on Prince Street in SoHo. They had rented out half of the lower floor for the 60 or so journalists and reporters that showed up for a breakfast at 8:30am. (I've gotta admit, this is the earliest PR I've ever been to...)

Figure 2: The event was downstairs; a nice banner was placed in the stairwell.

I had the opportunity to talk to several folks from HTC, T-Mobile, Microsoft, and Waggener Edstrom, the PR agency who represents all three, about the Dash -- it's very clear that they're excited about this device, and even more so, they're interested in targeting the consumer space with it. This is a huge departure from most RIM and earlier Windows Mobile devices, and the $199 price point (with 2 year contract) reinforces that idea. The device will be in stores on October 25th.

Figure 3: Downstairs space. Very big and lounge-y.

Figure 4: Behind my table, there were these crabgrass installations. The T-Mobile and HTC folks decided to spruce it up. Those "cell phones", by the way, are actually boxes of mints. Wink

I ordered pancakes for breakfast and proceeded to sit down for the beginning of the PR event. T-Mobile's and HTC's PR heads spoke for a few minutes each, and stressed the importance of this partnership and the significance of the T-Mobile Dash. HTC, whose PR head is, as he put it, an "Australian in New York representing a Taiwanese company", is clearly making a big branding effort. I'm very happy to see this, and along with the HTC/Cingular "Smart Meets Sexy" event in New York just a short while ago, highlights their commitment.

Figure 5: Sitting down for breakfast.

(By the way, I'd have taken a picture of both of the gentlemen, but they were right behind my chair, and I didn't want to blind them while they were speaking.)

Figure 6: Everyone enjoying breakfast. Folks from all types of media, including mainstream magazines, were there.

It was clear that this event, like the Cingular one a few weeks ago, is clearly intended for the mainstream media. There were reporters and columnists from major magazines sitting right next to me at the table. There also seemed to be agreement that the T-Mobile Dash's form factor has potential to gain mass market acceptance.

Figure 7: And look what I have!

Figure 8: Comparison shot between the behemoth of a Treo 700w and the sleek-and-sexy Dash.

Even better, I now have an T-Mobile Dash unit. Very Happy The last two pics are teasers from a review I'm frantically writing up and will probably post tomorrow. Immediate impressions: the unit is incredibly slim and extremely comfortable to hold in your hand. It feels a lot like the iPAQ 19xx and 41xx Pocket PCs, but possibly a bit narrower, and with a rubbery grip on the back. Pictures don't do the styling justice -- I think it looks quite professional in the hand. The screen is incredibly sharp and with excellent contrast, and the keys are tactile and reasonably-sized given the slim form factor. Overall, I think this will be a winner for T-Mobile. I've got lots more details coming tomorrow -- stay tuned!

Janak Parekh is completing his Ph.D. degree in Computer Science at Columbia University in New York. When he's not working on his thesis or playing with PDAs and Smartphones, you're more likely to find him asleep than anything else.

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