I’ve had my trusty Nokia N70 for more than 4 years now – I knew it was time when its LCD display’s liquid started leaking out (I could tell by dark lines, which you could rub to move these ‘dead’ pixels about.) It spread quickly, and I replaced the screen, but I knew it was time to get into something faster than 384 kilobits per second (the original 3G specification.)
I’ve had an unlimited data plan with DiGi since like… forever – to be exact, sometime in 2006. I’ll post a picture from ages ago when I get to blog from home! And what a long wait it was for DiGi to get a 3G license (since DiGi isn’t exactly a Malaysian company) that 3.5G, HSDPA and the likes had already arrived. And there was nobody to do video calls with (besides Jenifur at that time)!
And so, I asked the resident phone expert, smashpOp, what phone to get. At that time, I felt touchscreen phones to be annoyingly slippery and prone to mis-touching, so I preferred a keyboard, and having an extensible operating system. I knew I’d keep it for a few years like I did my Nokia N70 so it had to last.
Some Nokias were suggested, as well as the Motorola Milestone (and as an add-on, the HTC Desire.) However, upon hearing the iffy future of Symbian (plus the really cool Nokias would not be launched when I needed to buy a new phone) I headed down to Low Yat Plaza to have a hands-on on both models.
The Motorola Milestone has the same impressive 800×480 screen as the HTC Desire, but with a slide-out keyboard – however, it loses the ability to have a landscape-oriented touchscreen keyboard for when I don’t want to slide out the keyboard and type discreetly. The HTC Desire allowed me to type sideways comfortably – so it was set! I was going to get the HTC Desire… whenever the heck it was out officially.
EDITED 3rd July 2010 2:02pm +0800 GMT: Thanks Jeffrey for the heads-up – the Motorola Milestone can indeed have an auto-rotating keyboard.
The HTC Desire, while relatively dated, still holds its fort – 1Ghz Snapdragon processor, 3.7″ 800×480 pixel multi-touch AMOLED touchscreen, 576MB RAM. It has Android 2.1 (Eclair) as an operating system – which was the latest until Android 2.2 (Froyo) came out in June 2010.
Why not the Google Nexus One, which is also made by HTC, and is the twin of the HTC Desire? Because it wasn’t easily found, not officially sold in Malaysia, and it runs stock Android, while HTC installs HTC Sense, a prettier user interface which makes the phone significantly much more eye candy. Thanks smashpOp for this headsup, HTC Sense is much appreciated!
EDITED 3rd July 2010 2:02pm +0800 GMT: I was wrong about the HTC Sense – Android 2.1 introduced Live Wallpapers and it already has widgets – I found my friend’s Google Nexus One to have all that! (And I don’t like to use widgets on Windows.)
Blackberry? That is a workaholic’s phone. I don’t want to be buggered by emails.
iPhone? I don’t like Steve Jobs. He’s gone bad. Do you tell 7-15% of people to stop holding their phone that way? (That is how many percent of the population is left-handed.)
So the iPhone 4 can do video calls… but only when connected to a WiFi network!
Well then, iPhone 4 FaceTime users can leech off an Android 2.2 phone – Android 2.2 lets you turn your phone into a WiFi Hotspot!
Honestly, I don’t have much use for the HTC Widgets other than FriendStream (which combines your Twitter/Facebook/Plurk/Flickr streams), Agenda (which shows your calendar), Clock/Weather (which shows animated clouds/rain/lightning if it sees you will have inclement weather in your GPS location), and Favorites (so you can make a speed dial list.)
The rest of my 7 home screens are filled with favorite games and apps. Google Goggles is one such app, though it is purely for show – I’ve only managed to get it to work on logos, and the business-card-scanning thing works better on larger print.) From the scanning process it seems to perform edge recognition (it submits the picture to Google to match against their Google Images, I presume.) When I tried Google Goggles on a 3x3x3 Rubik’s Cube, it returned “Birthday cake clip art” (but showed a similiar image which was an actual Rubik’s Cube.) Oddly, when I did it again on my 7x7x7 it returned “Rubik’s cube”!
Unfortunately, only Google Nexus One owners can legitimately update their phones to Android 2.2 – I could either do a complex hack to install Android 2.2 but lose HTC Sense, or wait for HTC to release their own firmware update with Android 2.2 and HTC Sense. I guess I’d rather wait.
Face detection and a 5 megapixel camera with flash! (Thanks Waifon for taking this picture.)
Next to my (now white) Nokia N70. I really like how the Android mascot features prominently in the user interface. This is the default caller profile image. I find it really cute.
And this is from a previous blog entry – my Nokia N70 had a green casing, a precursor to why I just find the Android mascot cute! Of course, the Android mascot is a deeper shade of green.
This was from a previous blog entry – HTC Sense allows you to set Live Wallpapers, which is quite like them Active Desktop things on Windows. (You can’t play with this particular Live Wallpaper.) You can set the difficulty of the game and Mario will encounter more enemies in more difficulty settings. Quite cool that although there are only 3 levels, when Mario reaches the same level again the enemies are randomized so you’ll see something different each time!
The other Live Wallpapers are cool, too – there’s Maps, which pretty much is Google Maps with your current location as a wallpaper! Shake Them All! lets you have little Androids in your background (and you can set the number of droids, whether it reacts to gravity, acceleration, touch, light, sound and how many percent for each!)
I really like the hard buttons of the HTC Desire – there’s Home, Menu, Back and Search. Home always brings you back, Menu and Back are context-sensitive (usually to the application), Search can be context-sensitive but usually brings up the Search Bar which lets you search your phone book or Twitter or Facebook or Google (I’m not sure what else, but it’s amazingly… integrated).
Having instant access to Search is amazing. You can be sitting with your friends, where three of them are talking about how that goal should have been an offside, and you quietly wonder, “what the heck is an offside?” and you can Google that, read it briefly, and rejoin the conversation, now able to sound like an expert. Smartphones help people look smart!
I love having Uncle Google in my pocket. Uncle G, as I call him, knows where to find everything! He’s married to Aunt W who is immensely knowledgeable.
The Android Market, where you can download free applications (Malaysians cannot access the paid applications yet) is certainly not as comprehensive as the iPhone AppStore – but there’s still a lot of similiar applications if you search for say “ruler” or “camera”. Some applications can look rather… demo-like, as there isn’t Steve Jobs dictating what can go on the Android Market or not.
Why yes, I can have pr0n on my phone! 🙂
(And Adobe Flash too… and true multi-tasking…)
Speaking of multi-tasking – no app ever really dies. Android keeps them around but eventually flushes them from memory if you don’t use it. This makes it a lot faster to switch back and forth between apps… but it is embarrassing if you thought you closed your browser and it shows you what you were last surfing. Because you know, you can have pr0n on your phone.
Can’t Touch This
Honestly, 5 days into the phone, I still haven’t truly gotten 100% mastery of touch screens – I still end up mis-touching the edges of the screen and closing/opening stuff I did not intend to. SNesoid Lite, a SNES emulator, lets me play Super Mario World, but it’s really hard to run and jump at the same time. The nipple D-pad isn’t easy to roll, though it makes an easy click button.
Also, because the phone is a lot slimmer (very similiar to the iPhone 3G/3Gs in size – even the casings fit) it has become very hard to hold the phone with your shoulder alone! I have to say though, I really like that it uses a standard 2.5″ audio minijack for its handsfree kit (which doubles as a earphone jack).