First, connectivity options. Users will have to decide between GSM/GPRS/3G UMTS (HTC Universal), GSM/GPRS/EDGE (HTC Wizard) or CDMA 1xRTT/EV-DO (HTC Apache). Where available this is easy: the CDMA EV-DO is faster, but for tasks such as Exchange ActiveSync even GPRS will do ok, meaning that for OTA (over-the-air) synchronisation any of these devices will work just fine.
The problem is that EDGE is available in the USA only, and a few countries in Europe. It means that anyone deciding on a HTC Wizard will have big chances of being stuck in GPRS (slow) land and the next option up for these users is the pricey HTC Universal.
HTC Universal (here an O2 Xda Exec)
In terms of prices, the HTC Universal, here in New Zealand distributed by Vodafone New Zealand as i-mate Jasjar, will cost NZ$1999 (US$1395), while the HTC Apache (via Telecom New Zealand as "Apache") will cost NZ$1199 (US$836). Granted, neither are cheap, but consumers will probably tend to the choose the HTC Apache on this criteria (if the HTC Wizard is out due to data speed limits).
For comparison, the HTC Wizard (i-mate K-Jam) will be available through Vodafone New Zealand for NZ$1599 (US$1116), but it will be an option I wouldn't look at if fast cellular connections are something that interests you.
I think the HTC Universal will be purchased by companies that want to give executives an easy to use, with fast mobile data alternative to laptops.
But don't go too fast: at least the models I've tested don't come with the new Messaging and Security Feature Pack in ROM (at the time I am writing this, check the date). This software is an add-on announced by Microsoft that, when used together with Microsoft Exchange 2003 Service Pack 2, allows push e-mail and remote device management.
It means that while OTA Exchange ActiveSync works (and I tested it fine) and the SMS-initiated AUTD is also an option, users will not be able to use the new push e-mail system introduced to eliminate the dependency on SMS-initiated mechanisms.
This will be added later by the manufacturer, but it will depend on the mobile operator or distributor to actually release the update. So check with your distributor first if this functionality is a requirement.
And by the way, just using the HTC Apache for a few hours, and it's so much faster than the HTC Universal!
PS. Just to make it clear: the HTC Apache will be sold as TNZ Apache, Sprint PPC-6700. The HTC Universal is the Dopod 900, i-mate Jasjar, O2 Xda Exec, SPV M5000, QTEK 9000, T-Mobile MDA Pro, Vodafone VPA IV. Confused? Yes, that's why we created the Smart Devices Database.