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the switch..


when it comes to brand loyalty, i don't think i have any. er scratch that. i do have a preferred petrol station and i support arsenal. but apart from that i don't think i have any real brand loyalty.

nope nada.

so it shouldn't come as a surprise when i switched to the htc hero just before raya. well when other's were buying baju raya and decorating their houses with new curtains and what not, i got myself a raya handphone. woop ti doo.

i had been eyeing the hero ever since it was rumored to come out. it runs android, the open source mobile os championed by google. i figured i've gone as far as i can with the s60. don't get me wrong. function wise, the s60 in all its iterations did the job well. what it lacked in eye candy it made up with straight forward functionality. the only complaint that one can make is that the UI is just getting a bit boring.

so what were the alternatives?

i. the all conquering iphone aka the phone with the app for everything.

the main selling point for the iphone would be the apps. i think the hardware is pretty much standard. although the 3gs manage to speed things up a bit. without the app store, its just a phone pretty much standard hardware. but i dunno about the content of the malaysian app store. maybe someone can shed some light on this? regardless, most iphone users know where they can find apps, legal or otherwise.

ii. the pre that's supposed to save palm.
my second pda was a pam m505. my first pda was a philips nino running wince. since the m505, i've gone to a zire72 and tungsten t5. so i've always have a soft spot for palm. there were a lot of buzz over them developing a new os to run their smartphones. but as history have shown, palm track record on new os is not that good. since the whole split between hardware and software,opting for winmob on some of their build, the whole foleo debacle. it seemed like they were on the right track with the new webos. the pre reeked freshness. but its taking them soo long to come up with a gsm version suitable for our local market. i've heard the gsm pre is hitting europe this october. some say we'll be getting it by the end of the year.

iii. the n900 - maemo comes with phone and other nokia goodies.
when nokia announced the n900 it seemed that finally nokia has taken a leaf out of apple's book and gone with something that is more pleasing to the eye. the hardware specs is pretty impressive. they're marketing it more as a computer that is also a phone. in a straight shoot out between this and its nearest competitors, i'm sure the n900 will win it hands down. but the hardware will only be as good as the software running it. maemo5 has been in development for a while and we have seen it or its predecessor running in nokia's internet tablets namely the n800 and the n810. and from the videos and screenshots available, the ui is way better than ur standard s60 offerings. well maemo is not symbian. there has been a lot of developments on the symbian front as well. and i'm sure in a couple of years time we will be seeing some changes in the symbian ui.

i'm sure ya'll might wonder why i didn't consider any winmob devices. hehe. call it bias. but i still wouldn't touch a winmob device with a long pole. there are some news on the potential of winmob 6.5. but its still winmob. its just not for me.

after researching a bit on android, and finding out about what models are on offer, i decided to check the hero out personally. more and more handphone manufacturers are turning to android to power their handsets. htc was the first to introduce android via the G1. we have samsung galaxy, motorola cliq and even sony is getting on the bandwagon. but at the point in time i fell in love with the unique design of the hero.

home screen..

i've had it for a week now and lemme be the first to admit that android is still far from perfect. the hero lacked a few staple offering i was used to from my nokia days. no video calls. and bluetooth is only for pairing with headsets. imagine buying a phone for more than 2k and u can't even send or receive files. iphone users probably know the feeling. the malaysian htc hero also didn't come with android market. which sucked balls big time. what we did get was slideMe, with less impressive app repertoire.

a quick google and i found a remedy. which leaves the bluetooth file sharing bit not sorted. at the moment, the solution available doesn't seem to work on the hero yet. i guess i can wait. android is still growing up. the hero is running a heavily htc customised cupcake 1.5. the 1.6 donut release is currently out and we can expect more improvements from that release.

do i miss my nokia and the s60 scene? i guess in a way yes. but the prospect of fiddling around with android and finding out everything it has to offer is tempting enough. the senorita is betting that i wouldn't last the 2 years warranty the phone came with. meaning that i will probably switch again. dunno about that. hehe.

anyways, to summarize, here's the good and bad points of the htc hero from my usage so far..

the good
- contact sync and linking with facebook
- selection of cool apps from the android market -fxcamera, twidroid to name a few
- snazzy UI
- webkit based browser that supports flash - who am i kidding, been getting this with my 5800 ages ago
- integration with google apps - maps, gmail,
- htc sense UI - comparable to touch flo on winmob
- heavily customisable - u can set up ur home screen any way u want.
- 5mp camera
- vibrant development community

the bad
- no bluetooth file exchange out of the box
- no video call supported
- data intensive - drain on batteries
- no access to paid apps on android market - no support for msia yet i guess.
- 5mp camera - no flash and no dedicated shutter button - trackball implementation a bit iffy
- non standard mini usb connection port

this is by no means a comprehensive review. i'm such a noob with android. but luckily ur only a google search away to finding out more about anything these days. in the end i guess it just go down to ur personal preference. since more often than not the functions of a smart phone is pretty much standard across all the different operating systems. some might just do it better than others but again thats debatable.
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