HTC has announced a new version of its HTC Touch Pro handset at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona bringing with it a host of new features aimed at convincing business users to move away from their BlackBerry.

The new handset, that will sport a thinner, more curvier design, will come with a 3.6-inch WVGA touch screen that slides out and stands upright as well as a slide out five row qwerty keyboard.

Packing HSDPA (7.2Mbps), Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity the handset will be powered by a Qualcomm processor (MSM7201a, 528 MHz), although not a Snapdragon one as sported by Toshiba and its TG01.

Elsewhere users will get 512MB of ROM, 288MB of RAM and storage for files will be provided by microSD card. GPS and A-GPS will help with direction finding while photos can be captured with the 3.2-megapixel auto-focus snapper on the back.

It runs an enriched version of Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6.1 operating system, rather than the yet to be announced 6.5 OS that promises a number of new software innovations that users won't find elsewhere.

Specific to the HTC Touch Pro will be a new conferencing feature. Turning the phone face down on the desk will allow you to turn the device into a portable voice conferencing system. Sporting two asymmetric (not the same size) speakers and full-duplex support, the service will allow business folk to hold mini confabs from their phone rather than having to rely on one of those triangle phone things you find in the office.

HTC, who themselves admit the technology isn't a massive step forward from the current handsets they offer, already says that they hope a number of new software innovations will help it seal the deal when it comes to impressing consumers over the multitude of smartphones available.

Realising the browsing experience on a mobile handset is anything but fast, HTC has said that it has designed a software initiative called Push Internet.

"We need to make surfing better," HTC's chief marketing officer, John Wang told Pocket-lint.

The idea behind the software will be to allow you to request your favourite websites to be loaded at set times during the day, so that when you come to check on them the first page has already been loaded. It is not sure though whether the service will be able to pick up pages any deeper than the first page you've requested, something that has been tried by other companies on the PC but failed before.

The company, again seemingly gaining some inspiration from Palm and its CES announcement of the Palm Pre in January, hopes to make finding email and SMS text trails with your contacts easier.

The new feature, specifically built by HTC for its enriched version of Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6.1 OS, will allow users to scroll through a number of tabs within a contact to see emails, text messages and meeting events at the swipe of a finger.

HTC is hoping the feature will appeal to business users looking to find previous conversations quickly.

"Business phones are so much more than email", Wang told us.

HTC is yet to confirm whether this feature could be linked to 3rd party social networking sites like Facebook, but does say there are "plenty of opportunities" for expanding the sliding tab offering.

Finally, in keeping with the voice conferencing tech found on the back of the handset their will be software elements that will support it. Mainly the ability to create a conference call at the press of a button rather than having to work out how to do it. Users will be able to take their conversation from email to voice via a simple on screen button, which will include those who've been cc'd in on the mail. Exchange users will also get the ability to do an automatic lookup of the global directory if they don't have the number on their phone to hand.

The new phone is expected to be available in the second half of 2009.