Thursday, 27 May 2010

It's here

Yesterday I collected the new HTC Desire phone from the post office and I now have an android powered headache from playing with the phone too much yesterday and today.

First Impressions
Even taking the phone out of the box you can tell that it is of very sturdy construction. The phone, although covered in plastic is incredibly strong. I would guess almost as strong and probably more durable screen wise than other phones which are coming out in aluminium and glass.

It is interesting that HTC has not provided software with the phone, but rather relies on users to download the software from the support site. This is not a problem for the vast majority of users, b
ut could present a problem for those who don't have internet access on their computer. The phone is very well connnected to the internet, so everything is also available in cloud form from Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, Photoshop online, LastFM or Google docs, hence it is unlikely that you would actually need to connect your phone to your computer.

Despite some of the twits I have heard, the user interface is incredibly user friendly, and I have trouble using an iPhone. The options are easily accessible, the Android marketplace seems to be the place where I have spend the last 24 hours straight. If you don't like the way the phone is handling something, just download another app to replace the one you are using.

Telstra's additions to the UI including a plethora of shortcuts to websites hidden both in pseudo applications and modified default HTC applications such as the media player are just annoying. Yes occasionally I might check the news through the Bigpond home screen, but why would I do that when I have the ABC News application installed.

Of all the Social Reviewers I don't know a single one who is anything but irritated at the Telstra pseudo apps. Also using wifi none of the Telstra Apps work at all, including Foxtel mobile, useless!

Multiple home screens which you can scroll between, an invention of Android is such a great productivity gain that the new MS Windows mobile is poaching it for mobile 7, albeit implemented poorly so quick modifications cannot be made. The ease of widget and shortcut placement on the multiple desktops is amazing. And you can remove all of the Telstra pseudo apps from the home screen very easily :) (They remain in the apps menu).

Social Network integration is seamless, to the point where you start wondering where all of your friends info came from. I found that I have not even needed to transfer my contacts from my old phone because almost all of them are already there due to the desire automatically updating info. The constant updates of email, facebook and tweets is an incredible drain of time. It is however very easy to place the HTC power app on the home screen to disable auto updates throughout the work day.

It was dissapointing to see that Telstra distributed the phone without fully testing the phone after they made modifications to the software, it was only today that I did the update and got GPS working. I have not worked out how to use Voice Search yet.

I am dissapointed with the way the phone handles SMS and messaging. I would have expected that there would be a gmail like 'threaded conversation' application for SMS, but instead by default the inadequate HTC SMS application. I have replaced it with Handcent SMS manager for free.

I have linked my phone up with email from both Gmail (Personal) and Microsoft Exchange (Work). I also work from home a bit through the Citrix Client app (Fantastic!). I have also been reading and working on documents using quick office and adobe PDF reader which are installed by default.

Gmail integration is seamless. All contacts, attachments and of course emails are very fast to access and read. One gripe however is that pinch zoom does not work in the gmail app which makes reading emails which are made up of mostly images very difficult.

I already have my exchange calendar synced with my exchange calendar at work through the google sync application. I am finding that the 'Agenda' view of the Calendar application is invaluable. Displaying meetings, time, location and contact details of those at the meeting.

Exchange integration (HTC designed) is great. I can access my work phone directory through my contacts (go to corporate directory) as well as read and reply to emails quickly. Downloading and reading document attachments is very easy also. Allowing me to do quick analysis and shoot a reply off almost as quickly as if I was at a computer.

Google docs sync is currently only by a 3rd party application, which I am disappointed with. I would really like to see a native application which you can download and edit documents without using the docs HTML interface. For all other documents the office application installed by default is quite good, but no google docs integration.

True Multitasking (Not apple) is brilliant, holding the home key allows you to jump back and forward between application and copy and paste info between applications.

Must Have Apps
I have concluded that there are some applications that everybody should not go without.
  • Aussie Weather Radar - Especially during cyclone season.
  • Google Maps - Rooted Version allows turn by turn voice navigation
  • Gesture Search - Brings old school transcription back to search
  • You Tube - Fills in much time
  • aLastFM Player - Streaming music
  • ABC News - Essential News Headlines
  • Bluetooth File Transfer - Nice interface and FTP server for bluetooth
  • RealCalc - Being an engineer a scientific calculator can come in handy
  • DataCounter Widget - Keep track of your expensive mobile data use
  • ES File Explorer - Tried a few file managers. This seems to cut the mustard
  • Epicurious - Recipies Galore
  • Google Finance - Forget Bigpond Finance, useless app.
  • GDocs - Integration with Google Docs
  • Gesture Search - Old school transcription
  • Google Translate - for working internationally
  • Handcent SMS - Replace the HTC SMS UI
  • Photoshop Mobile - Photo management and manipulation
  • Pkt Auctions ebay - Good eBay search and track tool
  • WiFinder - for when you are out and about. Avoids high mobile data charges.

For fun
  • Billy Goat Test - Best ever brain game
  • Google Sky Map - Brilliant astronomy tool
  • Invadroid - Space Invaders
  • Listen - Podcasting for android
  • Metal Detector - Actually works. I am using it as a wall stud finder for mounting frames
  • Paper Toss - Fun game, just like work
  • Google Scoreboard - Cricket scores live (no footy :( )
  • Shazam - Music identification
  • Google Shopper - Lookup products online by taking a photo
  • Total Footy - Live scores and ladder.
I am still looking for apps which provide:
  • Tide times
  • Fish identification
  • GPS Tracking Secret fishing spots
  • Map application that caches - used for 4x4 driving outside of mobile coverage
  • Good Golf game tracking and course info
  • Voice Transcription into text
  • VNC client
  • More Games
I will be posting more information about the actual use of the phone as a continue using it from day to day. I am expecting that as I explore more applications I will find new ways that the phone can come in handy.


  1. Found this on facebook from the HTC Desire page. Tell the bloke who commented on your post that a former iPhone owner says the desire is everything the iPhone should have been and then some!

  2. secondly, voice search... you need to download the application package (link ) and install it with Astro or something similar. After that it's all gravy, you can use it any time you need to search, and if you install the HTC_Ime mod from here: you can use the voice capabilities in any text field.

  3. Yay, you finally got it! I just looked up where you are.. I knew you were remote, but wow, that's amazing :)

    Like I mentioned yesterday, the only problem that I really have is the keyboard (raawwrr) but the rest of the UI is awesome for me too.

    Can't wait to see what you think of it over the coming days!

  4. Monnie,
    Thanks for the response, and yes, I am pretty much as far away from an urban centre as you can get. It also floods here, so there is currently no road access in, only boat and plane.

    I have found that the keyboard when vertical is usable but slow. I find that I always turn it sideways to get a bigger keyboard.