Entries Tagged as 'HTC-Desire'

and the review continues #telstradesire

Well it will continue for me, why because I get to keep the phone.  This was the most controversial part of the project by a few very vocal critics.  Whilst I was lucky to be on holiday at the time all of that fuss blew up and in some respect over, I thought I would just add my thoughts on that.  I knew of some of the reviewers… and I have actually meet some of the reviewers and they are the people I would have gone to and asked about the phone before this came along.

One thing with most of the reviewers running blogs is that the review process will not stop because of the “two week limitation” of the actual review. I know that already some of the reviewers are looking at Android 2.2 on there devices, I can just keep following them and see what they do.

I think that the guys and girls and Telstra do deserve a big stiff drink after this experiment and I think it has been really interesting.  The reviews have been more indepth and critical than any other Australian Media review that I have encountered and yet people were saying that the reviews would be tainted.

Yes I have been up and down with the phone and I am still working on the final review this weekend, however I am using the phone.  During the first few days I kept going back to my N95-8gb, mostly out of familiarity and in a few cases for a feature.  I’m still cursing under my breath entering text on the keyboard and bumping the volume control way to often.  Even now I am much more familiar with the device to the point I would recommend it, with the caveat of a few tweaks here and there.. some by adding new default apps,  some by Telstra removing Wap Links that look like apps.

This recommendation comes from two weeks of playing and learning (more like 9 days from when the phone arrived).  In a few more weeks I will have refined the Apps list, worked out a few more tips and tricks and maybe just maybe have found a decent keyboard.  Then it will be like most computer reviews… because really this is a computer that makes phone calls and fits in your pocket.  Great computer.. needs the following software.

I’ll be tweaking the blog as I move over to Android.. keeping the old N95 stuff but adding some new categories…

A suprise near conclusion for the #telstradesire

When I started this, I was thinking would I use this phone to replace my Nokia n95-8gb and whilst the answer is a qualified yes… there is a different item it may well end up replacing.

The Car Computer for the Road Trip My UMPC, the Asus R2H which I use primarily as my car computer these days (yes I am that sad I have a car computer).  I’ll need to trick it up a bit.. like with a bigger SD card or two but it could be possible.  The main things I do with the R2H are make time-lapse driving videos (eg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwjbluNF3So)  and run OziExplorer for offline detailed topomaps to see where I am and where I want to go.  Google maps just doesn’t cut it when you get off the beaten path. And have some music to sing along badly to.

With a few well choosen Apps I could do this.  It is going to take sometime to work it all out, but I really think that this is possible.

There are a few things that the R2H can do that the Desire can not.. storage and downloading photos from my D90, but I can still take the computer for longer trips, just not mount it on the windscreen.  One of these weekends I’ll get a decent screen mount, and I already have a lighter to USB power supply, plug in my FM transmitter to the headphone jack and I think it can be done.

I really wish that I could get offline navigation for free like I can on my Nokia with Ovi Maps (well not free $10 because I have an old phone) but still… the fact I am even considering this I think is noteworthy about the device.


a week on #telstradesire

this is more of a quick ramble than a well thought out and cognitive argument…

Ok it has been one week since I started playing my HTC-Desire.  A week that has seen me change points of view on more than once occasion.  From pure joy, to frustration, to relief and back again.  Which to be honest is not what I should be going through.  You don’t see people looking at an iphone and going na.. but I think I can get it.  And that may well be the biggest problem with this phone.  Sure I don’t get the iPhone myself, but you only have to look at people and how they use it and I just don’t think they are struggling as much.

But that aside… and moving on as it were.  I still really like it.  It has taken me a week to get used to the keyboard and that is coming along, even starting to get used to using it on the bus and train.  The haptic feedback is helpful but still I make more errors than I would just using an SMS keypad.

I really want to like this device.  It is so powerful flexible and with so much potential.  But a lot of that potential is coming… oh the app store will get easier to use, oh Flash 10.1 is coming, oh DIVX is coming, oh you just need an app for that it isn’t built in.  And this is a major issue.  Some of these things may well be fixed in the next month if rumours are to be believed and I sure hope that when Froyo comes out Telstra stick on it everyphone they have in stock before they sell it out the door.

Being part of the review has meant that I have had access to minds that are a lot smarter than mine so I could “steal” their tips and tricks and yes I have found the apps to get around some of the issues.. but there are a lot of things that Android just needs a bit of polishing on.

Take ringtones on my Nokia.. I just select a song to listen to.. one of the options there.. make it a ringtone.  Simple.. but not on the Android, why not?  Where are those things.. those extra bits of UX UI that companies like Nokia have been thinking about for years.  This is just one example but can be applied across the whole device. (Correction… you can…. but I missed it…  when a song is playing you have to press the menu option then it can be set as a ringtone… but only when the song is playing.. the Nokia doesn’t need the song to be playing)

Of course there is a lot of good things to be said for it.. and I do feel I’m just nay saying in some respects. But I shouldn’t have to be, I said I would be comparing this phone to my 3year old Nokia and it comes so close and yet strangely is so far away.

One thing that has been amazing has been the coverage on the Telstra network, strong and coherent even down the bottom of Tassie where I went for a few days along with strong coverage for watching Foxtel Mobile on the train. I have a Telstra phone for when I get out of the city and head bush and must say the Next G coverage even out the back of Bourke has been amazing.  But then that was with my Blue Ticked Phone with an aerial and this is not a Blue Tick Phone.  I’d love to see a full HTC Android Blue Tick phone because that would really interest me.

I think I will grow into this phone and I think the Android OS is growing up real fast and that holds hope.

But then why am I complaining I have a 1ghz mobile computer that can see the whole world that fits into my hand….

another GPS trace from the #telstradesire

This time I took the bus and train to work. Electric Trains are notorious for getting a GPS signal even with a window seat it can be tricky to get a solid lock. I was very pleased with the strength of the signal and the trace. Once again I just used the GPS and not the WIFI positioning. There are a few drop outs in the signal when the train passed through some cut outs and some big road bridges. However the trace is still good enough to see where I went. Another advantage is that the trace actually has the broken lines. The traces via Sports Tracker fill in the blanks. Having the Gaps lets me see where the signal did drop out and most software for geotagging photos will let you infer location from gaps in the traces so this is not a major problem.

So here is the trace.

View Larger Map

Geotracing and the #telstradesire

One of the reasons I put down as my interest in the #telstradesire was my interest in Geotagging and Geoawareness…   So here is the blog post covering that…

First things first.. the bad.  There is a known issue with the GPS on the Desire and the Telstra HTC setup.  One hopes that all the people buying the phone from the shop from now on don’t have to do an Over the Air Update to get the GPS working… it needs to ship with the correct firmware. Mine didn’t, but then mine was not factory standard, so I can’t comment on that.

Now on to the good stuff.

WOW… the GPS on the HTC-Desire rocks.  Not just a little, but a lot.  Time to get a fix (even without Cell Tower prefixing) is simply fantastic.  This is the fastest GPS that I have now.  I have 3 others… two Nokia Phones (n95-8gb, N78) and my Asus R2H.. the HTC leaves them for dead.  Time to fix is often under 1 min even when it is a long distance from last fix, strength of fix is always great and it holds it fix very well once you move out of optimal GPS signal range, ie slightly indoors and in built up areas.

Although it took me a while to find the app to suit my needs.  What I was after was something that created either a KML or preferably a GPX file and stored that on the memory card.  No surprise really that the app to do this the cleanest was a Google App called My Tracks http://mytracks.appspot.com/ (See the website for a slightly tacky but helpful introduction.

Once I had the app that suited my need…  It was then easy to show a comparison to my most commonly used GPS (the Nokia N95-8gb) and the HTC-Desire.  So what I did was trace the drive into town I do I both devices.  Now they both were set to GPS only (no wifi) and I hit go within a few seconds on the trace.  Also both phones had a fix approx 2km away the night before.

The embedded file can below can be downloaded here.. n95-htc-samples.kmz (right click save as) to show you the detailed path.  The HTC-Desire got a fix before I had even turned the car on.. the Nokia took a couple of minutes to catch up.  To many this time frame may not seem important, but it means I can fire up the GPS on the Desire much faster to get a trace to log my road trips or just to tag photos on a photo walk.

Of course this will suck battery… but once I managed to turn off all the power and bandwidth sucking default settings battery life is once again acceptable.  Whilst the new iPhone may have the ability to do background apps.. the current ones don’t.  And a background task is what is required to do decent GPS logging.  The HTC did that perfectly.  As a test for a some other apps.. on the way home I ran two different background tasks doing logging to see what I would get, what I got was two different trace files 🙂

So here are the traces… Blue is the Nokia, Red is the HTC.  Overall I’d give the more accurate trace to the HTC as well, but I still have to play with the software to get the most out of it.

View Larger Map

This blog post that I did covers how to take a GPX file and marry it to the shots from your DSLR to geocode your photos.

Given that this is a Google App, I really think Telstra should look at including Apps like this on the default setup on the phone, not just fill the phone with apps that are just WAP links.

Video Comparrison for #telstradesire

Kind of sad when you think… I’ll just go up the road on my holiday to make a video to test out my HTC Desire for its video making abilities to realise that you had on you 4 different devices capable of making HD (or near HD) video…   I was annoyed I forgot to take my wife’s phone so then I could have made 5 videos :-)…. ah well… 4 will just have to do.

All of these sample Videos are on default settings for recording only, where I walked part way up the Elizabeth St Mall in Hobart repeating the same walk 4 times (yes I did get some looks :-))

Devices used were a Nikon D90, a HTC-Desire, a Nokia n95-8gb and a  JVC GC-FM1 PICSIO

Output formats and files Sizes

Device Native Format File Size Frame Size FPS Audio
Nikon D90 avi 112mb 1280×720 24FPS 176kbps-mono-11kHz
HTC-Desire 3pg 7.46mb 640×480 26FPS 12kbps
Nokia n95-8gb mp4 15mb 640×480 27FPS 96kbps-mono-48kHz
JVC GC-FM1 PICSIO mov 57.8mb 1440×1080 29FPS 130kbps-Stereo-48kHz

D90 Video

HTC Desire Video


Nokia N95-8gb Video

Now one thing I did try was to upload these videos via the YouTube app on my phone as a way of testing upload speeds… guess what… you are not allowed.  The YouTube App says no you have to upload large files via wifi only.  I really can’t begin to describe how wrong that is.  What if you don’t have wifi, what if you are on the road in the middle of no-where taking photos and have 3g coverage (like this shot).  I’ve had Telstra 3g coverage in some amazing areas.. but certainly no wifi… so how do I upload video?

What happens when someone sees something amazing or even breaking news and wants to upload it… well they can’t.  If this is going to be a true social device that has to change and change fast.

Day 1 – Quick Impressions of the #telstradesire

Ok…. this is one of those quick and dirty blog posts that show quick impressions only…. and not a great deal more.. but is a way of me putting these thoughts down before they get lost after using the device for a while.


  • It feels nice in your hand.
  • It feels fast, but then given less than 10 years ago this was the fastest processor for home PC’s it should :-).
  • It works…  one of those you can pull it straight out of the box and hit go kind of devices, which it should be.
  • It doesn’t work… the app store whilst easy to use still just doesn’t have that slick ordering system.. if you know what you are looking for it is fine.. but hunting can be tedious and there doesn’t seem to be a sense to the order of things in the store.
  • I have fat thumbs… the onscreen keyboard is just tedious still… I’m sure it is just me coming from a non touch screen device but I am having trouble typing on it.
  • Flash 7 video means that I can watch all the ABC News stories… which for me is a huge win. (and with Flash 10 coming soon an even bigger win)
  • Charging from USB is kind of a last resort really… unless you are going to tether the device for the day.. plus it into power.
  • Having to do a firmware update to get the GPS working well that kind of sucked… one hopes that the general public shouldn’t have to go through this.
  • 2Gig SD Card… well that is a joke… it is a step down for me from my 8gig storage on my N95-8gb.  Sure it is upgradable.. but why should I have to.  Your average Joe public is going to see a phone with 2gig of storage and a phone with 8gig of storage and say that the other phone has more “RAM”.
  • The SD Card is tedious because you have to remove the battery to access it.
  • The Battery is Removable.. another battery is on my list to buy next week… if you are going to power use this device all day you’ll kill it… so more $$$
  • I already worry that I am going to break the back just accessing the SD Card, HTC NEED to make this a slot.
  • I miss my dedicated buttons on my Nokia for the Camera on the side.
  • I miss my TV out option that my N95-8gb had… sure it was only analogue quality but it was better than nothing.
  • I’d like a front facing camera please…
  • The headphones with mic work very nice.
  • Once I get my head around tweaking all the Scenes better I’m going to love them…
  • The GPS is really good.  Very fast to get a lock on the first time, very impressed with that.

Now comes the real test… 4 days holiday and lets see what the phone does and more importantly whether I can get used to it…

First impression is that is a very nice device…

You can see which Apps I have installed here


and I’ve created a new Flickr Set here for photos from the Device

where I am coming from for the #telstradesire

There have already been comments that all(most) of the people doing the Telstra HTC Desire review are  basically just taking a bait.  Given the people that are on the list I’d have to say  that is very disingenuous to those folks.

That aside, I thought I would take the time to write down where I am coming from.

I’m not primarily a Telstra customer… I have a backup Telstra Phone that I only use on my extra long road trips, say twice a year (if I am lucky).  This phone just sits in a draw the rest of the time without credit as there is no way to keep long term credit on prepaid without it expiring.  Funny thing is that stamps don’t expire, but phone credit does.

But then I spend most of my time in a large city with access to basically blanket coverage anyway, so coverage as never been a major issue for me. I am a free wifi hunter, data rates in this country are to put it kindly criminal.  Sure sending a few tweets here and there is nothing, but when the SMH home page weights about 1 meg and refreshes… that starts to add up very quickly.  More when you consider that if I was to use data it would be for storm chasing and uploading high-res photos from my D90 the cost is way out of my budget.

And I am not an iPhone user, and to be honest the iPhone has never attracted me.  Sure it is a very nice looking device, but my trusty 3 year old Nokia N95-8gb still out performs the iPhone for the task I use it for.  Those tasks are making calls, using the camera and GPS tracking primarily.  Nor have I been a big application installer. I kind of tend to find a series of apps that do what I am after and stick to them.  The background recording of GPS traces has meant that I could never use an iPhone as that is what I consider a base requirement for a device is the ability to mulitask.  Neither is the camera and use I use the front camera for video calling occasionally as well.

I did play with a Nexus One for about 5 min over a beer and must say that is was the first phone that made me stop and think about jumping ship as it were.  The N97 whilst an improvement over my N95, just wasn’t the huge leap I was looking for.  The N900 still isn’t on plans in Australia and with the changes to Symbian has a real risk of being technology that is going to be OS Redundant by the time it hits our shores.

So I have been plugging away with my phone which I can use very easily with one hand with it’s 8gig of on-board storage, tv out, replaceable battery, multitasking, damn fine camera e.t.c quite happily. The other main thing I do with my phone is interact on twitter in the evening, with the phone connected to my home wifi using dabr.co.uk as my primary web app.

It is going to be interesting to see if I can not only move to a wholly new platform but a new way of interacting with a device and yet still keep the things that I count as my minimum requirements.

To really it put the phone through its paces I’ll use just the HTC Desire whilst I am in Hobart for four days and see what I can do about video, photography, GPS, calls and social networking, then I will see how it goes through day to day real world use as well.

It should be interesting, I’m willing to look at something new it just has to fit my “old” requirements as well.


I’ve set up a Twitter list for all the other people on the Social Review here as well which you can follow.


I'm part of the Telstra HTC Desire #telstradesire

For someone who’s best ever win in anything was $200 on a horse race, I’ve actually won something a bit more valuable to me..  2 days ago I got the call say I was one of the 25 Telstra HTC Desire Reviewers.

Kind of feels like I have been chosen to go to the Island.. but with less organ transplants and less Scarlett Johansson.

What this means is that I get to play with the new Android 2.1 HTC Desire and see if it is any good or not.

Should be an interesting few weeks… with the added bonus that I am going to Hobart for a 4 day holiday next week, which gives me lots of time to put the phone through its paces…

So I’ve files this post under a new Category in HTC-Desire and will file related posts under this for the next few weeks.

To see who else  is on the list it is now live on the exchange blog on telstra

* insert yada yada yada bit here… *

I have been given a HTC Desire handset by Telstra free of charge to review. The comments expressed by me reflect my user experience and personal opinion.