With the Tattoo on Vodafone and the Hero on Meteor, HTC has its Android OS all set for the Irish market, but yesterday at a press briefing it announced its intention to bring the shiny new HTC HD2 running Windows Mobile 6.5 to Ireland early in the first quarter of 2010.
A relatively unknown mobile brand in Ireland until the arrival of the Android-based Hero, HTC said its intentions were to be "quietly brilliant" but one hopes they won’t be so quiet about the HD2 because if you’re looking to impress, the whopping great 4.3-inch screen with crystal-clear resolution and capacitive touch is a stunner.
A couple of surprises
The HTC Sense user interface, which is also on the Hero and Tattoo, brings an interactive and animated edge with its weather widget, where the rain drips down your screen to match the nearby window.
Another surprise about the HD2 was how seamlessly HTC’s own UI blends into Windows Mobile 6.5.
The menu system consists of a dedicated menu button but also a touch-navigation strip along the bottom of the screen.
HTC also demoed the new Tattoo handset that is aimed at the "youth" market – 15 to 25-year-olds – but with a slightly stripped-down version of the Hero’s Android OS and interchangeable and customisable covers to boot, this is going to bridge over into the 20s to perhaps early 30s, especially where the female market is concerned.
At €19.99 a pop for a customised cover, teens and hipsters in their 20s will probably charge at this phone that brings some smarts to the mass mobile market.
The HTC Hero, however, is where HTC is really packing a punch. A direct rival to the iPhone, the Hero is a smart phone with personality and the rich developer community behind Android Marketplace.
It may only come in black and white and not have snap-on covers, but it can transform where it counts – on the inside. HTC’s Sense has made it flexible and easy for the user to do anything, from keeping the HTC widgets the way it came out of the box to utterly transforming, re-skinning and adding custom icons, having weekend profiles, and getting a good mix of what feels right to the user without finding it brain-bustingly confusing.
After two weeks of using the Hero you kind of see how HTC’s slogan is not so cheesy after all: "You don’t need to get a phone, you need a phone that gets you."
By Marie Boran
Photo: The HTC HD2.