Friday, 16 April 2010

Why A Google Android Smartphone, And Why The HTC Desire?

As I was reading back through the few posts I've done on this site, I realised that I hadn't fully explained why I decided to buy a Google Android Smartphone, and why the HTC desire was the handset I went for.

First, a little back story. I used to use Smart-Phones - Windows Mobile Smartphones to be precise. I started off with the o2 XDA, then moved on to the XDA 2. Great devices for their time, they were Pocket-Pc's with built-in phone functionality. They synchronised nicely with Outlook, so my Calendar, Contacts and Task-Lists were up to date, but the Internet Browsers were rubbish.

After using them for a few years I went back to a plain old mobile phone, and had given up on the idea of a really useable phone / PDA combination. I also started to use Google Apps for my email, calendar, tasks and documents, so anything Windows specific was looking more and more unlikely.

Then the Apple Iphone was released. I don't think any gadget in the history of computing has had such a radical impact on how we use our mobile devices. Here we had a phone that was a Pocket Computer, but that was also tightly integrated with the Internet. Thousands of "apps" were (and are) available to make the device more capable, but most importantly the User Interface was simple, straightforward, and anyone could use one. They also looked very, very cool. Unfortunately they were (and are) too expensive for me.

I played with Iphones at the phone shops, and a friend of mine has one, so I could see the potential for how I could use one. I wanted to be able to access the Internet from anywhere, so I could post to my Blogs on the move, post photos to Flickr, update Twitter and Facebook more regularly, record Podcasts, read my RSS feeds, and generally have in my Pocket the device I'd always wanted. (Oh, and make the odd phone call!)

Then Google released Android - their free operating system for mobile / cell phones. Over the last couple of years we've seen lots of handset manufacturers create Android Phones, and the operating system has had several updates. The phones still weren't on my Radar until a certain Mr. Leo Laporte anounced that he was swapping his Iphone 3GS for a Google Nexus One Android Smartphone. (Here's an article comparing the Nexus One with the Iphone 3G.)

All of a sudden I was thinking that the Google Nexus One, and the Android Phones in general, could be a real competitor to the Iphone, and they had the advantage of using Open-Source Software, have changeable batteries, have Multi-Tasking, and are tightly integrated into Googles Web services.

However, the Nexus One was only available in the States, and was just as expensive as an Iphone to buy anyway, so I kind of pushed the idea to one side, until I heard that HTC (who make the Nexus One for Google), were bringing out the Nexus One under their own HTC badge, and calling it the Desire. (There are a few minor differences).

I was intrigued, and started to do some investigating, although I thought that the Desire would still be too expensive for me. My Son, Oliver, uses a Pay-as-you-go mobile with T-Mobile, and as they were going to be the first to get the HTC Desire in the UK, I checked their website out.

I was amazed to see that you could get a HTC Desire for £95, if you took out a 24 month contract at £15 a month. For this princely sum you get 100 minutes free (I don't call many people!), unlimited Texts (as part of a free booster) and unlimited Internet (well, 1gb worth). This is much, much cheaper than any Iphone deal - so I jumped at the chance. (I have a feeling this may have been a mistake on T-Mobiles behalf - they've since put their prices up, and the cheapest you can get a Desire at £15 a month is £157).

My darling Wife, Suzanne, offered to buy me the phone as a "giving up smoking" gift, so I ordered that phone and got it within a couple of days. Fantastic! Within a few minutes of playing with the HTC Desire, I knew I had a brilliant device that rivalled, if not bettered the Iphone.

The Internet Browser is super slick, and includes Flash (unlike the Iphone), the integration with Google apps (apart from docs) is brilliant, and the way the phone links together all the social networking stuff has to be seen to be believed. I can blog on the go, upload images to Flickr, track my location and get directions from Google Maps, read my RSS feeds (no need to buy another Photo Magazine!), and do countless other things.

The battery life maybe poor ( I've come up with a solution, I'll do a video soon), but apart from that, this small gadget is marvellous. It really is the Internet in your pocket, and so much more. To say I'm chuffed to bits with it is an understatement!

Thanks, Rob.


  1. I totally agree with you, Rob. I've had a similar experience over the years, and I believe that I have finally found THE phone that does everything I want. I love this phone. Have just given up the HTC Hero to get this one and I don't know what features could another phone have to make me want to replace the Desire.

  2. Hi, I ordered my Desire back in March. I was told I would receive it at the beginning of April. It is now nearing the end of April and I still haven't got my Desire,