By Chris Nicholls

SYDNEY: HTC has released their first venture into the ultra-portable PC market with the new Shift model, which boasts a seven-inch touchscreen, full QWERTY keyboard and HSDPA internet.

The Shift weighs in at an Eee PC fighting 800g (claimed) but is four times the price, at RRP $1,999. However, it offsets this by having a 40GB hard drive, finger print scan and a claimed two-day standby life. It also operates via Windows Vista Business.

Unlike many recent ultra-portable sector entrants, the HTC Shift uses its touchscreen to cover the keyboard, allowing use as a tablet. When users slide back the screen, it tilts to an angle to allow easy viewing.

The Shift is also the first device to feature HTC’s new SnapVUE technology – an always-on mode that provides instant access to emails, calendar, SMS messages and contacts, without the need to fully boot up the device, which apparently helps conserve power and extend battery life.

The Shift is available now from authorised Brightpoint mobile phone retailers and dealers.