My HTC Desire arrived this morning. Since then, I have used my iPhone twice. Once to set up call divert to the unit I will be testing for the next two weeks, and then to get the Exchange sync settings for my work email.
I never thought I would say this in a million years, but it has not been missed.
I suspect this is as much about me as the device itself - I manage most of my life with the Google suite of productivity apps, and have done so for several years. One of my biggest frustrations with the iPhone has been the way it has handled feature rich apps like Gmail. The built in Mail.app offers only a basic means of managing email - advanced functions that I rely on such as starring and labelling mail are only possible in the web app version of Gmail, and this has been too slow to use on my ageing 3G model. My experience has been the same with Calendar, Contacts and Reader.
My first impression of the move over to Android is that it has simplified things for me. The iPhone has almost too many brilliant apps available for it. In the productivity/GTD space for example, I have moved constantly between Things, OmniFocus and Remember the Milk, depending on my mood. Put that down to my particular combination of flightiness and OCD.
On Android, Remember the Milk is the only service that I have used that has an app available. So while the array of apps is fewer, the small selection of choices would seem to simplify things for me.
So - a couple of initial experiences and impressions.
The process of setting up the device was simple enough that it could be done while two inquisitive 15 month olds hovered around me, trying to get their hands on Dads bright new shiny toy. Powering up the phone, I was first struck by the quality of the display - it makes the iPhone look dull when the devices are placed side by side. This is a high quality device, that really feels like a competitor to the iPhone.
Which leads me to my first criticism - if Telstra, HTC and Google are trying to pitch this device as being as good or better than the iPhone, why in the hell are they hobbling its potential by only including a 2GB MicroSD for media storage? My iPhone is the base model 8GB 3G and I can just about get by with the built in storage for my apps, photos and music. I refuse to believe that consumers of high end devices will enjoy the experience of shelling out $800 for a device, to find a 2GB media card in the box. The great selling point of this phone should be its openness and extensibility. Getting your customers to ‘extend’ the phones functionality by making a second trip to their local electronics store and purchase a tolerable amount of storage on the day they get their phone, is not a good look.
On the topic of openness, I do not understand why Telstra has to pollute the Desire with so many of their proprietary applications. It seems like every second app on the device is a Telstra product or service. To make matters worse, and unless I am mistaken, there is no way to uninstall them. I find it frustrating and annoying to be continually confronted by Telstra apps and branding. I received my Desire for free and see the branding as a small price to pay for the privilege. I am not so sure that others who pay for their phones would agree.
Ultimately, these are small quibbles in what has been a really enjoyable first day with this phone. So much more to say, but that can wait for tomorrow.