HP iPAQ Glisten unboxing & hands-on

Engadget posted their hands-on impressions of HP‘s newly launched Windows Mobile 6.5 business smartphone, the iPAQ Glisten.

The screen uses AMOLED technology, which really makes colors pop — it looks nice — but the Glisten clocks in at QVGA resolution, and it’s noticeable. Basically, WinMo 6.5 Professional was clearly never designed to operate on a tiny QVGA display, let alone a landscape-oriented one. This led us straight into minor usability issues throughout the device, from 6.5′s infamous “honeycomb” menu (which looks more ridiculous on this display than on any other we’ve seen) to the home screen, which doesn’t have the spit and polish at QVGA that it does at VGA or WVGA. The main menu here was designed to be flicked through with a finger, but try scrolling it on a finicky resistive display that’s just over an inch and a half tall. We dare you. Fortunately, you’ve got the d-pad — HP doesn’t intend you to navigate screens with touch — but the point is that this UI paradigm shouldn’t exist on this phone at all.

In brief, the Glisten looks and feels like a Motorola Q9 successor — which, when you think about it, is perfect timing since Moto’s looking to wind down the majority of its WinMo business. It’s not going to capture the public’s imagination, but as far as we can tell, it’s not designed to — it’s just a serviceable portrait QWERTY smartphone running an aging operating system that has become a refuge for business types unable or unwilling to invest the time and effort to migrate to another platform. For committed Q9 owners whose handsets have seen better days, that might be more than enough of a value proposition for AT&T to get another $180 out of you — and hey, you get a touchscreen and an upgraded WinMo build out of the deal.

Doesn’t look really exciting doesn’t it? Especially if you can get a BlackBerry for the same (or cheaper) price. Hopefully Microsoft is hard at work on WinMo7 because it isn’t looking goo for Redmond right now (the HD2 is basically the only Windows Mobile device that is susceptible to be a success right, but one device isn’t going to save WinMo..) especially with this kind of news.