Finally, a mobile phone to upgrade to

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I love the iPhone. Everyone I know who has one loves theirs, too. I differ from most people I know, though, in that I rarely use it as a phone: for me, it’s an app platform exclusively, not a phone at all (you can see me waxing uber-lyrical about the iPhone and apps elsewhere in this blog).

So I have another device that I use for phone calls and text messaging – a Nokia N95 8GB. It’s what I call a mobile phone rather than a mobile device as I tend to refer to the iPhone (when I’m not calling it “the iPhone”).

Anyway, I’ve had the N95 8GB for nearly three years and have resisted any upgrade option offered by Vodafone, my mobile carrier. Why? Simply because I’ve not been impressed enough with any other phone to upgrade yet.

One of the big things for me with the N95 8GB is its outstanding capability as a camera and video-recording device. It’s just brilliant (it beats the iPhone 3G hands down in this area, with that device’s crappy 2-megapixel camera, no auto-focus and no flash).

For me, a successor device must be at least as good as the N95 8GB in this department.

And Iâ’e found that successor, as an email I received yesterday from Vodafone showed me with details of the HTC Desire – a device I’d already marked out as the potential successor to the N95 8GB.

One conversation later with the helpful folk at Vodafone’s 191 service, and I’m on a new plan and expecting delivery of my HTC Desire next Wednesday (it would be earlier if it weren’t for the Easter holiday).

And that already exceeds my expectations, having phoned Vodafone expecting to only pre-order the new device for delivery in a week or so when it’s officially available. They told me they just received an initial delivery of 600 Desires from HTC, so the first 600 customers to order one, gets it immediately.

And what about my iPhone? What’s next for that? Well, my answer would usually have been what I’ve been saying to anyone asking that question: nothing. There’s nothing out there that, in my view, would make me move from the iPhone. Not even the HTC Desire.

Of course, that was before the iPad which launches in the US tomorrow April 3 and here in the UK later in April. That looks me to as the natural successor to my iPhone, given how I see it (an app device, not a phone).

But thatâ’ a different story, one yet to be told. Meanwhile, you can read a terrific story now about the iPad by Stephen Fry in the current issue of Time magazine (as I described it, Stephen Fry’s excellent adventure).

As for the HTC Desire, I’ll let you know how I get on and how my expectations go. I see it as a phone, of course, and a digital camera and video recorder. But it will likely offer me an appeal for apps given the development of the Android platform as an app platform. So I have an open mind as to what this device will end up being for me and how it will complement the iPhone (and its successor).

If you’re considering an HTC Desire, or have one, I’d love to know what you think of it.

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. owen Cutajar

    As an Android user I can hardly recommend the OS enough. It’s highly usable and has an awesome community behind it. The Desire is comparable to my phone in terms of hardware so I know it will be a joy to use.

    Sent from my Nexus 1 ;)

  2. Chris Green

    It says a lot that the Desire is the device to convince you to upgrade after a three year hold-out. I had a similar situation prior to getting my BlackBerry Bold 9000 – I think I was on three and a half years before that upgrade.

    The Bold has been very good (so good I wrote a book about it – The Ultimate BlackBerry Guide http://bit.ly/aJajh6) but it has failed to evolve well to the next stage. RIM’s app store is poor, and the apps quickly cripple the 9000. It’s successor, the 9700, has more horsepower and works out many of the 9000’s bugs, but it too has usability limitations due to a desire to make the hardware smaller, lighter and more handbag-friendly.

    Hence why I too am planning to migrate to the Desire. I’ve had several long plays with one and it does indeed tick all the boxes for what I need it to do and more. App support is also growing at a pace, with household names including Sky and Ocado bringing apps to the Android platform, having previously launched apps for the iPhone. The phone, PIM and media features are also very strong, providing a definite alternative to the iPhone for a touchscreen integrated smartphone experience.

    As for my iPhone, I too now use my one exclusively as an application platform – so much so that it hasn’t even had a SIM in it for the last month – I’m running it exclusively over WiFi. With that in mind I am very tempted to migrate either to a high-end iPod Touch or to the iPad later this month.

    Knowing me I’ll end up with both, but the iPad is, on paper at least, the logical migration device from the iPhone for me, while the Desire is the logical migration device from my BlackBerry Bold 9000.

    • neville

      That’s a pretty good assessment, Chris. Look forward to hearing what you think of the Desire once you have one in your hands.

      I think this device is excellent. It certainly will give the iPhone a run for its money although I’m now even more convinced that Apple has it nailed down totally as to what ease of use is all about. The HTC Desire is easy to figure out and use, to be sure, and it’s a delight to use. But so is the iPhone, and that’s even easier to figure out.

      With just over one day’s experience with the Desire, I’m still getting to know it. I’m definitely convinced that seeing this as my upgrade evolution from the Nokia N95 8GB is the right way to look at it, certainly from my own perspective and what elements of the device are important to me.

      Among all the good things about the Desire, two negatives stand out:

      1. Using the HTC application to synchronize the Desire with a PC for things like calendar, contacts, etc, is a total disaster. Unsucess so far with weird error messages. I see lots of people talking about this online so clearly it is a genuine issue. No easy solution in sight. For some people, this will be a show stopper.
      2. You wouldn’t believe the rigmaorole to go through if you want to take a screenshot on the device. Just read this guide: http://is.gd/bizck. That is ridiculous compared to the simplicity of approach on an iPhone.

      Minor gripes really. But I’ll see if they stay minor as I get to know the device a bit more.

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