I get asked what I think of my Android phone – I seem to have a wave of friends whose contracts are now up and are looking to move (predominantly from a Nokia!)
My first observation is that the moves are typically away from a Nokia and the question is Apple or Android? A second observation is that none of the phones being considered are cheap and people are signing up to spending £850 or so over two years, including the bundle, on a handset that they are almost certain to want to churn at the end of their contract. Such is the pace of development. That’s the equivalent of buying a new 42″ plasma/LCD TV every year!
My two month old HTC Desire HD is the best phone I have ever had. Before that I had a Nokia N97 which was also at the time the best phone I had ever had but the HTC is streets ahead of it.
The biggest leap forward is in usability. Everything is intuitive and easy. Next is the huge range of apps you can download for the device. This is not unique to Android but it is collectively for the industry a big step up from where we were before. There may well have been apps available for older generation handsets but today it is more natural for people to use them. If anything the difficulty is trying to decide which app to use – there are just so many of them.
The apps are also better designed for their environment. For example on the N97 I had a Facebook App that used to give me problems when leaving the house. The device didn’t easily switch from WiFi to 3G and the Facebook app kept complaining about “not having a connection to the network” – a nuisance when I had just set off in the car and didn’t want to fiddle about with the phone. It was easier for me to use the 3G connection most of the time rather than keep switching back and fore from WiFi.
On the HTC Desire HD this is never a problem. It isn’t a problem on the iPad either so I imagine this is a “generational” improvement in software. Using 3G does pose battery life problems though so I do take real steps to prevent this, normally by keeping the phone disconnected from any data network unless I particularly need to use it. With careful management the battery lasts me a whole day and if I know I am going to be “hammering” the phone I take advantage of any opportunity to recharge it.
The Apps I use are TweetDeck, Voice Recorder, Mail, Camera, Messages, Search, Gallery, Internet, Four Square and AudioBoo. I also have Skype on there but more from the notion that I feel I ought to have it than because I really use it. In fact I very regularly use all but Skype and AudioBoo and I’m planning on doing more audio posts.
It isn’t a phone anymore. It is clearly a personal communicator – it’s just that the PC acronym has already been taken.
If I had to make a criticism it is that the sound quality of the HTC Desire HD doesn’t match up to the quality of the rest of the device. The speakers don’t anyway. When I use the headset it is great. Also because it is a touch screen phone I sometimes find that my cheek has “ended” a conversation.
The only other gripe is not phone specific and that is the spelling auto-correction sometimes leads me to including words that I didn’t mean so send in a tweet or text. The benefits of the function outweigh the problems and I am happy to live with the added overhead of having to check what I have a written before sending.
From a parental perspective I fear that a new bar has been set in terms of a child’s expectation of a mobile phone. It’s all about money these days. Whilst I realise that I make a living out of technology, part of me yearns back to the days of my youth where nobody had a mobile, the internet hadn’t been invented and I used to put two pence in the phone box outside school to call my mum to come and pick me up from cricket/rugby etc. In fact I didn’t even need to spend the money because as soon as the pips went mum knew I was at that phone box.
Of course I could always become a monk! Click on the header photo and you will see a boy waiting outside a phonebox in the snow for his mum to pick him up. I suppose there are benefits to technology :). He should have used his Android! (he does have a HTC running Windows mobile 6.5 and an iPod Touch!!)