Sorry Apple fanboys, but the HTC Desire is set to bitch-slap the iPhone back to Cupertino.
The phrase iPhone-killer gets thrown around a lot,
usually about phones that have a spec sheet as long as your arm but are
butt-ugly and horrible to use. Clunky Windows Mobile 6 and Symbian S60
phones might have more bells and whistles than the iPhone but, once
you've experienced the touchscreen joy of the iPhone OS it's impossible
to tolerate such cumbersome devices. I know, having ditched my bloated
i-mate JasJam for an imported iPhone 2G and later upgraded to the iPhone
3G - still my day-to-day phone.
I've been an iPhone fan for a long time and I'm
eagerly awaiting the iPhone 4G, but the new Android-powered HTC Desire has thrown down the gauntlet. The iPhone 3G S was merely Apple playing catch up, but Android has been improving in leaps and bounds. The
next iPhone must be far more than an incremental upgrade to keep pace
with the new crop of Google-powered smartphones.
initial strength was usability, something which it certainly lorded over
the HTC Dream, HTC's first Android outing which
still felt like a proof of concept. The HTC Magic was a significant improvement, but
it wasn't until last year's HTC Hero that we really saw HTC's Android
phones come of age. The secret ingredient - HTC's Sense UI interface.
Initially designed as lipstick for the pig that is Windows Mobile, HTC
ported the Sense UI interface to the HTC Hero running Android 1.5 -
giving the smartphone the one-two punch of a beautiful interface
combined with a strong feature set. Suddenly Apple had some serious
competition on its hands.
So we come to the HTC Desire running
Android 2.1-update-1 with the Sense UI interface. HTC comes up with some
pretty wanky names for its phones, but whoever named the Desire was
spot on the money. It's one of the few smartphones that makes an iPhone
feel cumbersome. At 135 grams it's exactly the same weight as the iPhone
3G S, although I swear the Desire feels slightly lighter. It's probably
just an illusion due to the fact the Desire is slightly thinner (11.9mm
v 12.3mm) and narrower (60mm v 62.1mm). The pronounced chin on the
earlier HTC Android phones is all but gone. The dimensions are so close
to the iPhone that you can even squeeze the Desire into some iPhone
accessories, such as the Navigon iPhone car mount.
In Australia the Desire is available exclusively on Telstra's Next G for the next six months, selling for $0 upfront on a $60 plan or outright for $779. (It's worth noting though, that the $60 plan is not a cap plan, unlike other telcos, so you get minimal calling and data usage allowances.)
The Desire is 3.5mm
longer than the iPhone, but HTC has put that extra space to good use.
The boffins in the lab have crammed in a big 3.7-inch AMOLED display
offering a very impressive 480x800 resolution (compared to the iPhone's
480x320). It's meant sacrificing the Hero's dedicated answer and end
buttons, plus the trackball has been replaced with a tiny optical