Users waiting for the HTC’s Shift UMTC will soon find that their wait is over. The hotly-anticipated device, first announced nearly a year ago, will be available from the end of the month - but only through Orange.

The HTC Shift is powered by a 1.2GHz processor, runs Windows Vista Business Edition and has a 7-inch widescreen (800x480 pixels) touch screen display that tilts and slides, providing access to the QWERTY keyboard hidden underneath. It is also a 3G Internet access device with HSDPA (high-speed data packet access) and weighs just 800g.

Supporting both 3G/3G+ and 802.11b/g Wi-Fi connectivity - a first for any Ultra Mobile PC - the Shift comes pre-loaded with Microsoft Office, enabling you to download, view and edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents.

The company said that the 'always-on’ UMPC lets you switch between Microsoft’s Windows Mobile and Windows Vista operating system at the touch of a button, while users will also be given the ability to preview text messages, Direct Push emails, calendar and contacts when the Shift not switched on. HTC claimed that this would preserve battery power as well as being convenient. The Shift comes with a 30GB hard drive and for extra security integrates a built-in fingerprint sensor.

Nick Horton, Head of Business Devices, Orange UK, said: “The HTC Shift is the first device of its kind, and Orange is the first UK operator to offer it to customers. It perfectly balances both personal and business needs, and it looks fantastic. The Shift’s highly portable design and ability to connect via both Wi-Fi and the Orange mobile network, means customers don’t need to be in the office to keep up to date with their work.”

The HTC Shift will be available to buy online at Orange.co.uk, and in selected Orange retail stores throughout the UK from the end of February. The Shift will be priced at £999 with a data tariff. HTC usually sells its handsets on a SIM-free basis, but first made its name as an OEM designing and making handsets for all the big mobile phone and gadget companies.