It all started on a fine summers day. My Nokia N97 was once again having problems, this time the slider button which locks/unlocks the phone had fallen off, seemingly not enough glue was used to hold it together, the result of which was a phone which was not able to lock.
So I took a quick trip up to Santry to have a look at phones, I was planning on just getting mine fixed, it was my girlfriend who was the one really looking for a new phone (Her LG was having major problems for the umpteenth time and she had had enough of it).
We went into carphone warehouse, had a look at some phones and finally I went up to the counter and asked the sales staff what the craic was with getting this phone fixed, given that all it required was probably a piece of glue. He told me what a piece of shit the phone was and how his dad had gone through five (something that I could well imagine, would of been a quality phone if it just worked properly). He then told me how Carphone Warehouse (his employer) had a trade in value of €150 on the N97 and as such I can get a brand new phone for next to nothing. As I’m a bill pay customer on o2 and have an upgrade available, I was able to get the HTC desire for 20 quid! Bargaintown!
Now I don’t know a lot about phones, I know that the iphone is supposedly amazingly brilliant with lots of useful and not so useful apps available for it. I also know that I’m not touching another nokia smartphone with a rubber glove on the end of a bargepoll again unless I hear of huge improvements and the final piece of pertinent information that I know is that HTC are supposed to be really handy phones, and that HTC manufacturer the Nexus one for google. All in all it sounded like the HTC Desire (the top of the range HTC) was the phone that I wanted.
Done and done! I walked out of their with a new phone.
On first glance it was great. Nice and light, incredibly quick and great looking touchscreen. Then I started looking into the apps you can get for it and this is where I feel it started getting really good.
Having had a Nokia, I had use of the Ovi store, a terrible piece of infrastructure that never worked properly for me, and don’t even get me started on the Nokia player and Ovi suite which I installed on my desktop. In stark contrast the android market looks great. Obviously it doesn’t have the volume of apps that the iphone had but (and it’s a big but) as google operate android it means that apps, such as google goggles, appear on the android market place first, meaning that it is quite possibly the first place to get some of the sickest (in a good way) apps.
So here’s a run down on what I’ve downloaded so far, two days after I first got the phone.
Air Horn – an app that simulates an airhorn when you press the screen (mainly used to wake up friends etc)
Barcode Scanner – Really impressive little app which recognises barcodes allowing you to look up the product online and compare prices etc. Also, the android market has developed their own barcode (As you can see on the right), which allows you to scan a screen and it downloads the application automatically to the phone. Very handy.
Doubletwist – A music playing application, dubbed the android itunes. Allows to synch music with pc application. Does the job, the stock music player on the HTC wasn’t great.
English-Spanish Dictionary – pretty self explanatory, haven’t used it yet really.
Evernote – I love evernote, I have it on my pc and use it all the time, having it on my phone is just going to make everything so much easier, I can now take pictures and file them onto evernote, sync them with my pc and keep them their forever and ever. If you don’t know what evernote is, you should definitely check it out.
Fring – Global IM application, allowing you to login to all instant messaging accounts simultaneously, also allows for skype calling, an independent app of which is still not available for android.
Gmote – Very impressive remote app, which allows you to control your pc via the wifi network it is on, meaning that I can now lie in bed and play videos/music on my pc, and then turn the pc off without having to get up. Very cool in my opinion.
Google goggles – one of the google apps which I was referring to, ridiculous technology must have gone into it and if it works as it says it does it should be fantastic. I tested it on a book and it worked properly. I feel I should leave it to google to explain what it really does, so here is a link to the video.
Google Sky Map – another pretty useless, but cool none the less, app which shows you whats in the sky. Using GPS (presumably) you can point it up to the sky, and find out exactly what is that star you are looking at. Or alternatively, if you are looking for Uranus, you can find it with a scan of the sky through your phone.
Next Train Ireland – Allows you to see realtime information on when the next train is arriving at any given station. Particularly handy for dart users.
Qik – Cool piece of technology that allows you to stream from your phone online, I have it linked to my twitter account (@lteeling) so that whenever I stream a link is sent on twitter to all my followers.
World cup footmob – An app to help me keep track of the World cup, updates scores, tells me when matchs are on, who is playing who etc.
As well as these apps which I’ve downloaded, there are also pre-installed apps for facebook and twitter which do the job great. Also the obligatory map software which allows for gps navigation. And all the other stuff you are likely to find on a phone, Camera/Radio/E-mail/Weather etc.
I could very well be leaving out some of the capabilities of this phone, but needless to say I am delighted, nay, I’m in love with this phone.