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Review of HTC Desire As Alternative To iPhone 544

Posted by timothy
from the not-exactly-a-ringing-endorsement dept.
Andrew Smith writes "My search for an alternative to the iPhone has been long and frustrating. On paper, the HTC Desire is the first serious challenger to the iPhone's reign as king of phones. But how does it compare in use? There is much good and much bad. (This review is primarily for UK readers as HTC's new handset, the Incredible, will not be available [in the UK].)"
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Review of HTC Desire As Alternative To iPhone

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  • It's great (Score:5, Informative)

    by WarwickRyan (780794) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:15AM (#31981088)

    Beautiful screen, Exchange integration works perfectly (even with the exotic configuration I have at work) and the widgets available are really cool.

    Battery life is acceptable. Better than my last smartphone (N91).

    There are some fantastic apps: Layar in particular is not only technically cool, it actually has a practical use.

    Downsides:

    1. Not all alls in App Market are available, including goodies like Google Earth. Though I hear that this'll be solved soon enough.
    2. Keyboard is terrible when you need to write in multiple languages (in my case dutch & english). For English alone it's fantastic.
    3. SMS, twitter dms, emails aren't integrated into one app. I'd love to see a single 'messaging center' for all apps (even if its just via a notification API or something). No idea if the iPhone / Palm can do this btw.

  • by SirCowMan (1309199) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:24AM (#31981120)
    ...however, take a peek at the N900. The screen is way better than a 3GS, Skype & IM integrate seamlessly, and there is no sleazy attempts to keep you from doing anything with your phone. Meamo 5 may be only, say, 75% done, but it's better than only being able to use 50% of the phone!
  • Re:It's great (Score:5, Informative)

    by WarwickRyan (780794) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:26AM (#31981128)

    Just RTFA.

    >Many functions require a press of the menu button to bring up a list of
    >options, whereas on the iPhone there would be a button on the screen.
    >This extra step makes the Desire feel a little cumbersome.

    The thing is, on the Desire you have a widget for almost everything, so you don't even need to open the application. It's just there. You just need to navigate to the correct home screen.

    As I understand it on the iPhone you must load each application, and can only open one at a time. Which is more cumbersome than hitting the menu key occasionally to exit apps.

    I also see no mention of the fantastic friends-list. It combines all your contacts from all sources. You can group them. Then you can put a group of contacts on one of your screens. It grabs avatars from gmail/facebook for your contacts, and that's what you can see on the contacts screen. It's useful and way more practical than any 'address book' feature I've seen in other phones.

    >Sound quality during calls is noticeably worse than the iPhone. Both
    >the earpiece and the speaker produce a feeble, tinny sound with a
    >background hiss.

    Sound on mine is fine. It's not as good as a good GSM, but then neither is the iPhone. Don't see any hissing. Speakers are tinny, but all mobile speakers are tinny. You'd not play music with it, just as you'd not play music with any mobile speaker.

    > Battery life is appalling. With moderate use I have to charge the Desire
    > twice each day. The phone loses around a fifth of its charge just sitting
    > on the bedside table overnight.

    I get a little over a day out of mine, with everything turned on to max and whilst playing with apps for several hours. Apparently you can improve this considerably if you turn the polling down and don't leave hefy apps open all the time, but to be honest I prefer having the bells and whistles..

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:29AM (#31981142)

    The community supports HTC phones far better than HTC themselves ever could:
    http://forum.xda-developers.com/forumdisplay.php?f=512 [xda-developers.com]

  • Re:The reality is... (Score:1, Informative)

    by AlbertinaJane (978419) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:44AM (#31981218)
    I'm running HTC Legend with Android 2.1. No mods, nothing. Much better than the IPhone. Ligher, smaller, cozier, everythingier :)
  • Here's the review (Score:5, Informative)

    by dingen (958134) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:45AM (#31981220)
    Here's a copy of the article text from my cache when the site still worked:

    Review of HTC Desire as alternative to Apple iPhone

    My search for an alternative to Apple’s iPhone has been long and frustrating.

    I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve walked out of a highstreet phone shop, disappointed by devices that promised so much but turned out to be flimsy toys with sluggish software and unresponsive touchscreens.

    Anyone who has similarly quested an escape from Apple’s grasp will know my pain!

    The problem, you see, is that the iPhone is close to perfect. It feels solid, it looks pretty, and its screen responds to the slightest gesture.

    But it is hobbled by Apple’s super-tight approval process that, for example, blocked Pulitzer Prize-winning work by satirist Mark Fiore, and kept customers waiting an astonishing 20 days for the popular Opera web browser to be allowed on to the device.

    (Fiore’s work was eventually approved after much public outcry, while Opera rocketed to the top of the iPhone app chart with more than one million downloads in 48 hours.)

    The latest, and most enticing alternative to the iPhone comes in the form of the Desire by Taiwanese mobile phone specialist HTC.

    With HTC’s announcement on Friday that its next handset, the Incredible, will not be launched in the UK — and presumably not on the Continent either — it is likely that the Desire will remain as the iPhone’s main European rival for some considerable time.

    Hyped as the world’s first superphone, the Desire is fast, beautiful, and its touchscreen is every bit as tactile and responsive as that on Apple’s handset.

    At the heart of the Desire is Google’s Android operating system so it is near-infinitely customisable.

    It is also out-of-stock across much of the UK after delivery flights were grounded by the volcanic ash cloud.

    On paper, the Desire is the first serious challenger to the iPhone’s reign as king of phones. But how does it compare in use?

    Red faces

    The failings of the Desire hit you within minutes of first using it.

    Its screen is bright and colourful indoors, but almost unusable in sunlight. This severely hampers all aspects of the phone, from sending texts to web browsing, to taking photos.

    The touchscreen intermittently remains active during phone calls and it’s too easy to press the on-screen buttons with your ear. I’ve accidentally hung up on people dozens of times.

    Sound quality during calls is noticeably worse than the iPhone. Both the earpiece and the speaker produce a feeble, tinny sound with a background hiss.

    Used indoors, the Desire’s vivid screen is great for most apps, but when viewing photos or web sites you realise that the screen is severely over-saturated. People’s faces become beetroot red.

    Open Android

    Web browsing is a joy. Pages render quickly and accurately.

    When you zoom in on a web page using the familiar un-pinch gesture, the Desire neatly re-formats text to your screen width for easy reading.

    Built-in Google chat is a surprise boon, offering a free and instantaneous alternative to text messaging between friends.

    The phone is advertised as a hub-in-your-pocket for social networking, yet support for Facebook and Twitter is incomplete and unreliable, at times missing entire blocks of messages.

    Thanks to the open nature of the Android operating system, there is a myriad of alternative apps to replace the standard ones.

    Antiquated list-style text messaging is easily upgraded to a free iPhone-style app with familiar speech bubble conversations.

    There are superb free apps for Twitter, note taking, reading news feeds, and almost anything else you may want to do with a phone. Facebook apps are thin on the ground and quite poor, although a full-featured official Facebook client is persistently rumoured to

  • by mike260 (224212) on Monday April 26, 2010 @03:10AM (#31981322)

    Problem is the rest of the industry is as miserable as HTC in this regard

    Not quite *everyone*, no?
    I seem to recall a certain company that does simultaneous releases of their mobile OS across all their phones, and is only now after 3 years dropping support for their oldest model.

  • Re:The reality is... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Joe Tie. (567096) on Monday April 26, 2010 @03:29AM (#31981402)
    Well yes, that's the point. He was replying to a post making a subjective claim and he's making a counter point that it's subjective by using his own experience.
  • by slasho81 (455509) on Monday April 26, 2010 @03:49AM (#31981492)
    Smartphones are still too thick and heavy. The next generation of phones should be thinner than 1cm and lighter than 100 grams.
  • Re:The reality is... (Score:5, Informative)

    by yacc143 (975862) on Monday April 26, 2010 @04:04AM (#31981552) Homepage

    Simple, for power users at least these that travel abroad (and most do at least for a couple of weeks per year), the first thing is how easy it's to change SIMs.

    In most (at least European) countries you can get something at least vaguely acceptable (especially for data access) as a prepaid SIM. Data roaming on the other hand is practically never acceptable for usage on smartphone.

    For this let's compare the iPhone with the HTC Dream/T-Mobile G1.

    First difference, the T-Mobile G1 is available as HTC Dream without lock. OTOH, most people in both cases will probably have gotten the simlocked version.

    1.) unlocking experience on the iPhone: 2 days wasted trying to get a jail break going. 3rd day included a visit to a seedy 3rd party phone shop that advertised jailbreaking iPhones. Always in danger of undoing it all via iTunes that persistently tries to offer an upgrade for the phone.

    2.) checked that the G1 is really simlocked, bought a 20 unlock code online, used it with my SIM of choice the same afternoon in the office.

    Actually, both events happened some months ago, but I cannot remember the details of item 2 (as if the G1 was really locked), while item 1 makes me shudder. (Actually it's as bad that the iPhone got a non-smartphone assigned to cover wheneever the iPhone decides to go dead). OTOH, the G1 unlock did happen when the phone was very recent on the market, while the iPhone 3G jailbreak happened when the 3GS has been longer on the market than the G1 mentioned. And I'm still unclear how jailbreakable the 3GS are.

    Next important item on a frequent travelers (that's what I admit is not exactly critical to the majority, but it's an important item about who controls the device that I own) is sharing Internet access. Obviously, a smartphone cannot manage to fill completely an UMTS uplink, so there is no drawback in sharing it's connectivity.

    1.) the iPhone started to work as a tether after some months, basically after a couple of upgrades and the jailbreak. It offers USB Windows-only (perhaps Mac too?) tethering and standard PAN Bluetooth networking.

    2.) the G1 offers TCP forwarding tethering via USB and after rooting, it offers a standard NAT-ing Linux kernel based router via Bluetooth or WLAN. The USB based tethering I was capable to use easily enough on day 1 to establish a full VPN (albeit TCP based) connection from my laptop. In practice the standard PAN Bluetooth networking is nicest for me personally, but everyone has probably his own favorite.

    So I do not think that the iPhone rules the "total experience dept", as it's a total fail on two important items (one of general interest, even if they do not know, but they will when they go on their next holiday), so it's not even in the running for a phone here. (Ah, I learned yesterday why my wife got the iPhone 3G last year, "it was the cheapest colorful toy for our daughter that we could get back then easily and quickly", and "yeah that Motorola Droid looks cool")

  • by Andy Smith (55346) on Monday April 26, 2010 @04:08AM (#31981572) Homepage

    Got an e-mail from my host (Pair) saying that my blog had been disabled due to a script problem. But it's just a Wordpress blog. I've re-enabled it and hopefully it'll stay up now. Sorry for those getting 403 earlier, or database failure now :-(

  • Re:The reality is... (Score:5, Informative)

    by RMH101 (636144) on Monday April 26, 2010 @04:12AM (#31981588)
    I switched last week. Had pretty much all types of smartphones over the years, and have been running an iPhone 3G for past 18 months. I switched partially because I was getting uneasy about Apple's lock down, partially as my 3G was glacially slow, and partially because I was bored.
    What swung it was Engadget riffing about integration with external services like Twitter/Facebook/etc - goes completely against Apple's principles, whereas Android actively works to do this. In the future, I want more of this, not less, and I don't think I'm going to get it from Apple.

    Prior to this I'd change my phone every 6 months, so Apple has done well.
    I'm not going back. I may be envious when the new iPhone comes out, but the Desire is great. I couldn't go back to a lower screen resolution, I love the OLED display and it's *fast*. You can customise everything, and the phone just keeps on giving with features - case in point: last night I wanted to copy the new Iron Man 2 soundtrack over to listen to in the car. Didn't have my sync cable to hand, so I when to the Android Market, installed ES File Explorer (took about 10 seconds to search and install - it's crazy fast) and used it to browse to the share on my LAN that had the MP3s on. Copied them to the handset - again, crazy fast - and job done.

    Downsides? No dock connector. Handset doesn't have that "hewn from a block of glass" feel to it. Android Market smaller. iPhone more intuitive (although you could also say "more Fisher-Price"!) although Android more powerful. No Apple lockdown means differing app GUI styles sometimes. Headphone volume was low until I replaced the T-Mobile ROM with the vanilla HTC one (thanks XDA-Developers!)

    Overall, it's a *great* handset. Very pleased.
  • Re:It's great (Score:5, Informative)

    by Threni (635302) on Monday April 26, 2010 @04:12AM (#31981590)

    > and a lot stay open, only closing when you use a third party task killer...

    Yeah, a lot of people task ram and resources running third party task killers which server no purpose at all, given the design of Android. All apps on the Android are candidates for closure if memory is required. It's unlikely to happen to an app you're using *now* because it's given a high priority, but if you click `home` or `back` on an app then it might techinically be `running` but not necessarily consuming any resources.

    Most people are ignorant of this, hence the confusion. Take a little time to read about how Android works before spouting nonsense.

  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Monday April 26, 2010 @04:41AM (#31981706)
    It seems pretty clear that the N900 as is will run Meego, since you can already evaluate it. Nokia != Apple.

    I am finding that the biggest issue with the N900 is that it is being bought by people who think they are technically knowledgeable and are then finding that, basically, anything non-Windows is difficult. I went for it because it can ssl into my servers, and because the multitasking lets me run certain background applications that would never be accepted by Apple (they are our remote management tools.) So for me, as a developer, the N900 is a tool for which the iPhone could never be a substitute.

  • by drb_chimaera (879110) on Monday April 26, 2010 @04:44AM (#31981718)

    To be honest, as a Desire user, I think this review is overly harsh.

    While I do agree with the screen complaints (the OLED screen is all but unviewable in direct sunlight) and the battery life isn't great (although I find it'll last the day with moderately heavy use (and thats before dicking around with sync settings and other various battery-improving tweaks)), the other complaints I diagree with - for example I much prefer the chat system on the Desire to the bubble-style conversations of the iPhone although obviously other people will prefer things the other way (and they can install Handcent or one of the myriad other progams that will bring that functionality.

    He complains that on the iPhone there is a button to bring up the menu for any given app - this is true, but there is no guarentee it is in the same place or clearely labelled on each program - with the Desire you always go to the same place allowing for a more consistent experience. Personally I find that the phone has just the right number of buttons, even if it is a few more than the holy iPhone (home, menu, back, search and then power and volume keys

    The standard keyboard is a bit tricky to use in portrait mode due to key size (especially for me - I'm 6'5 and fairly stocky) however what it does offer is *choice* - quite apart from the landscape mode keyboard (which I believe iPhone now allows globally?) there are two other portrait keyboards you can use instead - compact QWERTY (each key has two letters as with some blackberries) and then a Phone keypad. One feature that impressed me is that if you have accidentally added misspellings to the dictionary (which I have done more than once) you can delete words individually rather than just resetting the user dictionary (which is certainly what you used to have to do with the iPhone, but I must admit my info could be out of date here.

    I do not see any of the complaintes about the sound quality of the phone - the earpiece is typical smartphone (which is to say good enough but easily beaten by the old dedicated phone handsets) and the speaker is pretty loud. Of course you'd never want to listen to music with it, but its good enough for spoken word stuff (audiobooks and stand-up comedy in my case).

    I don't agree with his complaints about the trackpad either, although to be fair I've not tried to use it with wet fingers so I can't comment on that, however I have seen no unusual behaviour with it either (and to be honest I don't use the track pad much anyway, It's served more use as a camera shutter button than it as as a navigation device - while its nice to have the choice I find the touchscreen is just much easier.

    To be fair there are some things that do annoy me with the phone, but its all minor things - for example in the media player I would like that in the media player it was possible to navigate back up the tree, but thats not always an option (for example if you pick a track from 'first principles' (ie fire up app, select artist then album then track) you can do it, but if you just tap on the media player widget it takes you to the currently selected track but if you want to change you have to navigate from those first principles again (with the exception of pickig a different track from the same album.) but its a pretty minor complaint, and the other things that annoy me are all little things as well.

    One thing that is an issue currently is that a lot of pay-for apps are as yet unupdated for Android 2.1 and are just not there in the app store, which is really irritating to be in a position to download say a 'free' (whether ad-supported or somehow limited) version, want to buy the complete version and its just not there. Lack of Google Earth is particularly annoying.

  • by pydev (1683904) on Monday April 26, 2010 @05:03AM (#31981794)

    You claim that the iPhone (in your opinion) is worse than Android, and yet give no reasons why you feel that way.

    Off the top of my head (I have both):

    • Poor integration between apps.
    • No multitasking.
    • Requires iTunes to set up and update.
    • Google sync cumbersome to set up and doesn't work consistently.
    • No Adobe Flash.
    • Music and desktop syncing requires physical connection and can take a long time.
    • Bad on-screen keyboard (slow, error prone, bad international support).
    • Whole categories of applications missing from the store (music players, third party keyboards, etc.)
    • No WiFi or Bluetooth tethering.
    • Lack of consistency and UI standards between applications.
    • Uninformative error messages for networking and similar functions.
    • Low screen resolution.
    • Nearly double the price of an Android phone.

    You may not care, but many people do. And these aren't just obscure geek-issues.

  • by MemoryDragon (544441) on Monday April 26, 2010 @05:03AM (#31981798)

    Actually, the truth is somewhere between your assumptions and N1. Android itself is hosted and designed by a foundation of manufacturers (the open handset alliance) and every manufacturer who wants to brand his phone as android (fill version number here) has to proved the baseline of libraries the version itself has declared. So no phone manufacturer can bring out a cheap stripped down version of a baseline os like it happened with WinCE and Symbian in the past. However this obligation does not expand into the territory of having to provide timely updates to the OS baseline within a certain period of time, and that is the biggest problems Android nowadays faces, because the manufacturers try to get away in the good old WinCE style by shoving out one new model per month and stopping support at the next model release.
    So if you buy a non Google phone you have a high chance of never getting your baseline updated or getting it updated to another old OS baseline version with a serious delay.

  • Re:HTC in China? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @05:18AM (#31981902)

    Have you heard about the Lenovo LePhone, launching in May? You may be in luck. This may be as close to perfection as we're likely to see in the near future:

    Lenovo LePhone launching in Le May [engadget.com]
    Specs [pdadb.net]

    I'm in exactly the same boat as you, and have been waiting for the right Android phone to come along here in China. Check out the specs: it has 3G (whole bunch of cellular bands supported), A-GPS, and Wi-fi. It even has an unique optional removable hardware keyboard option, the practical utility of which remains to be seen, but it's a cool idea.

    The fact that it's from Lenovo is a plus in my eyes, as I like the solid feeling of the hardware on their ThinkPads.

  • Re:From TFA... (Score:2, Informative)

    by KuRa_Scvls (932317) on Monday April 26, 2010 @05:23AM (#31981936)

    The touch screen has to work perfectly,

    And how hard is that to get right?

    http://gizmodo.com/5444514/smartphone-touch-screen-analysis-tests-finger-fidelity [gizmodo.com]

  • Working link (Score:2, Informative)

    by data2 (1382587) on Monday April 26, 2010 @05:24AM (#31981942)
  • Re:The reality is... (Score:3, Informative)

    by pydev (1683904) on Monday April 26, 2010 @06:32AM (#31982264)

    (Wow, the Apple fanboy and marketing moderation squad is out in full force again. Therefore, I'm just going to repost this. The parent asked what problems some people see with the iPhone and I answered what problems I see. I'm sorry if that causes you discomfort.)

    You claim that the iPhone (in your opinion) is worse than Android, and yet give no reasons why you feel that way.

    Off the top of my head (I have both):

    • Poor integration between apps (only limited ability to move documents between apps).
    • No multitasking (partially fixed in iPhone 4.0)
    • Requires iTunes to set up and update.
    • Google sync cumbersome to set up and doesn't work consistently.
    • No Adobe Flash.
    • Music and desktop syncing requires physical connection
    • Plugging in your iPhone can result in a long "back up" time (half an hour)
    • Bad on-screen keyboard (slow, error prone, bad international support).
    • Whole categories of applications missing from the store (music players, third party keyboards, etc.)
    • No WiFi or Bluetooth tethering on non-jailbroken phones.
    • Lack of consistency and UI standards between applications (different ways of invoking menus, configuration, search, canceling, etc.)
    • Uninformative error messages for networking and similar functions.
    • Low screen resolution.
    • Nearly double the price of an Android phone.

    You may not care, but many people do. And these aren't just obscure geek-issues.

  • Re:iPhone Killer (Score:4, Informative)

    by Andy Smith (55346) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:01AM (#31982424) Homepage

    I don't know why this has been modded troll because it's a valid point.

    The reason why I wrote the review in the way that I did is because I've been using an iPhone for around 18 months and for the last year I've been looking for an alternative. So I wanted to write a review for people in the same situation -- people who are happy with the iPhone but not happy with Apple, so looking for an alternative phone.

    This wasn't a review of the Desire. It was specifically a review of the Desire as an alternative to the iPhone.

  • by jscotta44 (881299) on Monday April 26, 2010 @08:50AM (#31983164)

    What are you smoking? Judging by the mod of 4 and 'insightful', it must be a group water pipe, filled with some really good shit.

    http://erictric.com/2010/04/23/iphone-market-share-in-japan-surpasses-72/ [erictric.com]

    The iPhone has 72% of the smart phone market share in Japan. However, even I take that with a grain of salt, because the definition of a 'smart phone' is even more confused than it is here. However, the iPhone has 4.9% of the total market, and growing.

    However you cut it, seems to me that they are doing quite well in what may be the toughest mobile market in the world. A place that has destroyed attempts by others do the same thing.

  • Re:The reality is... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lazy Jones (8403) on Monday April 26, 2010 @08:53AM (#31983184) Homepage Journal

    I hope this clarifies things.

    Since all girlfriends cost you money one way or another, the question is in which case you have to feel like being tricked. ;-) Let's say there are offers for free sex that we would both gladly turn down, no matter how honest they might be.
    Personally, I would feel tricked by Google into a supposedly "open" world where most code was written by other people than those charging me for the phone and where the currency I actually pay in is worth more to me than money: it's my personal data. If Android phones contained no proprietary code and I could download/modify anything and put it on my phone without sending any data to Google, then it'd be truly open.

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Monday April 26, 2010 @08:57AM (#31983212) Homepage

    As someone that's actually been to Japan, I would like to call bullshit on this nonsense.

    Perhaps if you cook the numbers long enough it looks like the iphone is something other than ignored in Japan.

    If you've actually been there, the perception is remarkably different.

    Much of the current Apple hype comes from selective and self serving presentation of the numbers.

  • Re:The reality is... (Score:3, Informative)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:02AM (#31983258) Homepage

    His argument was crap. His argument didn't prove or demonstrate anything except for the idea that he's bought into mindless hype and the crowd mindset.

    This is in stark contrast to something like "safari can't handle a simple page with 3 frames" properly.

  • by rxan (1424721) on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:03AM (#31983262)

    I got an iPhone after using BlackBerry and Android phones for awhile now. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong -- here are some of my nags:

    • Lack of a back button. This is possibly the biggest UI flop on any recent and decent smartphone. Sometimes the back button is top-right, sometimes top-left, sometimes bottom-left. And sometimes there isn't a back button at all! It wastes UI space and you have to search for it every single time.
    • No confirmation dialogs when changing device settings. I often find myself turning options on/off without knowing it because the scrolling often triggers option changes.
    • Most apps do not work in both landscape and portrait mode (possibly my biggest gripe). For example I'm browsing the web in landscape and want to look at the browser history. Is it really necessary that I now turn the phone to portrait just to look at some options?
    • Can't search for music from within music app. I have to go back to the universal search just to search for something?
    • Lack of customization.
    • Appstore approval process. I'm OK with the restrictions but not the double standards. The attitude towards app rejection of "make a big enough stink and I'll get my app approved" makes me sick. See Playboy app approval.

    The list goes on and on but I'm tired of writing this.

    Granted some of them may be because I'm accustomed to different smartphone operating systems.

  • by markovg (991625) on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:09AM (#31983336)

    My wife was getting jealous of my iphone 3gs (had it for 6 months), so I decided to give it to her and I picked up an HTC Desire (have it for a few weeks now). It was almost half the price of an iphone in switzerland (580CHF vs 1000 CHF), and while I expected it to play better with Linux, it turns out to be waaay better in all respects (except app store sheer size, most apps I need are there tho). By comparison, the iphone sucks, really. I'm really happy I switched. ... battery life seemed initially a little worse than 3gs, but I found the "power managment widget" and now its still fully charged after a day on my desk, reading slashdot and email sync. Now I would say the 3gs has worse battery life.

    I like sooo many things compared to iphone 3gs:
    - email client, vip list is great, search of "other" mails on server (iphone just does locally loaded if I recall),
    - sync to gmail calendar great for linux users ... iphone I was stuck with an on phone calendar.
        - this alone will make me more productive than iphone.
    - plays ogg and make ringtones with a push of button in media player.
    - appears as disk for linux users to add music, etc. Not bound to itunes.
    - optical trackball seemed superfluous to me at first, but it turns out to be great for text editing
    - apps from third-party sites like andriodpit.com, with easy install by barcode scanning QR code on monitor! No unlock necessary.
    - contact management compared to iphone is more felxible, for ex: an ActiveSync and Exchange server in parallel with gmail.
        i.e. linking contacts together from different sources into one person. Very smart.
    - I like that u can set schedule for push support, so I don't get pushed spam waking my up at 1am
    - General htc sense software stack very mature and much more feature rich ... +1 for over iphone.
    - processor is easily as fast as iphone 3gs.
    - can swap battery on the road to extend battery life.
    - I like the extra keys like "search", "menu" but especially "back" ... make for much quicker navigation than iphone "one button" madness.

    Waiting SBB (swiss train service) online e-ticket app. Though an app FahrplanCH gets basic schedule functionality I need. The rest I can do in the browser.

    Skype seems to be not available yet, but nimmbuzz seems to be workaround, or one of many SIP clients: use case phoning home on wlan when I'm abroad.

    So I'm happy to say good riddance to my iphone 3gs. As a Linux user who wants features and options, I'm much happier with my HTC Desire than my iphone 3gs.

  • Re:The reality is... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Skreems (598317) on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:20AM (#31984006) Homepage
    The interface on the Android is VERY similar to the iPhone. The only thing the Android base experience is missing is a bit of polish on the interface widgets, and if you get an HTC phone they've replaced those as well. There's certainly no difference in the way they "hide" the filesystem, or any other major paradigm differences from the iPhone. The difference is, if you're a geek and WANT to mess with those, you're able to.

    There are also several 3rd party launcher replacements available on the app store that let you swap out the home screen if you want a different experience. Try doing THAT on an iPhone. Or replacing the dialer, or the photo picker. Apple is fine if you want to do things exactly the way they've accounted for. Thing is, that's not necessary to get a consistent out-of-the-box experience. The same is true of any Android phone right when you open it, but there you aren't prevented from replacing things if you want to.

    Finally, you said the Android has a slow time getting traction. Everything I've seen indicates that they're picking up market share (and developer activity in their app space) faster than the iPhone. Yeah, they're a bit new to the party, and the first couple versions of the OS were more like a beta than a full release. The recent pace and quality is starting to pay off, though.
  • No CalDAV, no sale (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dunkirk (238653) * <david AT davidkrider DOT com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:21AM (#31984022) Homepage

    I researched long and hard before I bought my iPhone a couple months ago. I had been using some form of Palm device for about 15 years; the last two of which were a model of Treo. The bottom line is that I needed NON-EXCHANGE-TYPE access to calendars on mail servers. Specifically, I have a Zimbra FOSS mail server for my family, and a Zimbra NE server at work (which handles 2 companies). I didn't want either server to be "canonical," so I refuse to use ActiveSync and let it "take over" all of the PIM functions of the phone. For calendars, I use CalDAV, and the iPhone has KILLER CalDAV support. (I use a Funambol server at home to sync contacts, and the Zindus plugin to make them work with Thunderbird, though SyncEvolution works almost as well with Evoltion.)

    Neither the new WebOS-based Palm phones, nor any of the Android phones I can find, have any support for CalDAV. At all. How this situation exists, I have no idea, but I don't care. The iPhone has been great. However, I am one of those people who has used Linux on the desktop for about 11 years now, and I'm watching and waiting for an Android phone that will integrate with my collaboration servers as well as an iPhone. When this happens, I'll give the iPhone to my wife. Heck, I'd pay an early-termination fee to switch providers if the Sprint Evo could do it!

  • by wrook (134116) on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:34AM (#31984174) Homepage

    I live in Japan. There are lots of reasons for the popularity or lack of popularity in the iPhone (depending on whose side you want to argue). The first is that the iPhone is only sold by Softbank. Softbank is the the low end of the market -- it has cheap(ish) rates, but the coverage is poor. For example I can't make a telephone call in my apartment on Softbank. The very people who Apple would want to entice with the iPhone (image concious people) are the ones who would avoid Softbank. So sales numbers are not as high as they might be.

    On the other hand, Softbank has a relatively understandable "unlimited" 3G packet plan. You pay X per month plus Y per month (for no reason what-so-ever) then you pay Z per packet until a certain limit (reached in about 10 minutes on an iPhone) and then it's free. Works out to about $50 per month (for 3G only). The two other big players, Docomo and AU, are incomprehensible... Seriously. I thought about switching but I can not for the life of me figure out how much it will cost me per month.

    As far as I know, AU doesn't offer any smart phones at all. Now, it's a blurred line here because normal phones are pretty "smart". For instance, it is rare to find a phone that you can't buy games and applications for. You can read books, write memos, use a calender, maps, etc... So I will call "smart" something that operated similarly to the iPhone (i.e., primarily touch interface, etc)

    Docomo has 2 smart phones as far as I know. They have an android phone and one other (which I forget). They don't really hype them either. I tried to get info on the android phone but the sales people weren't all that helpful. Basically, apple has the smart phone market by default right now.

    The biggest stumbling blocks to adoption are the fact that the smart phones have no TV built into them and no pay card system. Many phones in Japan are able to interact with the bus and trains. You download money into the phone and flash your phone over a reader. You can also buy things at the convenience store or get coupons and the like. It is a very popular feature.

    To make a long story a bit shorter, the iPhone is far for a failure here. But it is unlikely to take a large share of the market for a variety of reasons which people from other counties probably won't understand. People here like them fine, but there is a lot more to consider here than in the states.

  • by Fnkmaster (89084) on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:40AM (#31984240)

    I spent days and hours frothing at the mouth because "in theory" the Palm "should" be able to do X, Y, and Z or because the Palm was "so close" do doing what I needed... and yet with all the hours and evenings spent trying to "just make it do this one little thing" that would make my life easier, the Palms always fell short. I always fell back into "well, what are you going to do, those are the trade-offs of mobile devices" thinking.

    Seriously? On my old Treo 650, I installed Chattermail and instantly had real push email with my existing IMAP email account. It took me less than 10 minutes to get it running and I absolutely loved it.

    I *still* can't have it with my iPhone. STILL. No goddamned IMAP IDLE. The closest thing is msgpush.com, which requires me to give a third party my login to my email account so they can fetch my email and share it over an Airsync/Exchange mechanism. Absolutely retarded. And Apple of course won't let anybody release competing email apps. I find the email on my iPhone to suck and it's the one, huge absolute frustration.

    Also, I had AIM chat on my old Treo when I wanted it. It would actually notify me if somebody IMed me. iPhone has IM applications, but at least until a few months ago, couldn't run anything in the background to get notifications (I don't really use IM anymore, so I haven't checked this out lately - I suspect that you can now get IM apps that run in the background with iPhone OS 3.0).

    Shit, I remember when iPhone came out and Apple said nobody needed a native app SDK at all! They said everything should be a web app. They had no intention of even creating an SDK and App Store until they got petitions from users demanding it!

    iPhone is doing well now, but let's not pretend it hasn't been an incredibly rocky trip getting there. And let's not pretend that Apple's absurd restrictions on apps don't have real impact on usability of the device. They do, for anybody who wants more than the limited drek that Apple spoon feeds you.

    Now that Android is maturing a bit, I'm seriously considering trying it again. At least I can run a real third party email client there (or at least a fork of the included email app), k9mail, that supports IMAP IDLE. I tried a G1 when it first came out but it was very half-baked compared to where iPhone was. I think that's changed at least somewhat now.

  • Re:Here's the review (Score:2, Informative)

    by carrige (1798166) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:24PM (#31986942)
    I own an HTC Desire. Must address some of the points you brought up: The screen, when turned up to full brightness, is manageable in bright sunlight. I'm from Malta, we have sun practically all year round, and I don't find this an issue. Sunlight is a problem with all smartphones, you just have to get used to tilting it at an angle every now and then. My touchscreen ALWAYS turns off during a call when the phone's next to my ear via the proximity sensor. Takes a fraction of a second to turn on once I move it away, but have never experienced any ear-presses, accidental or otherwise. Sound quality is equally very good. I've never used an iPhone, so can't compare directly, but the speakerphone and earpiece volume is more than sufficient even in a noisy environment. Flash actually works, and well. You can actually visit a website with flash content (perhaps not to the extent of Miniclip-type games) and it'll render perfectly. Heck, even just clicking a YT link somewhere or listening to an audio stream via flash works well. No lag at all. As for the keyboard, it learns pretty quickly and autocorrection is quite frankly amazing.

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