The HTC Desire is the latest big player in the Android smartphone marketplace, and will launch in Australia in April.
Those disappointed by the announcement of the Google Nexus One phone, and the subsequent news that the Nexus would not be coming to Australia through regular retail channels, will be pleased – the HTC Desire is the ‘almost twin’ sibling of the Nexus One.
The HTC Desire was previewed at the recent GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and locally it was shown off at Telstra HQ in Sydney. Why Telstra? Well, it will have the HTC Desire exclusively for a time. There is no time yet given on how long that exclusive is for, or what other retailers are lined up to carry the phone.
The Desire looks to carry on the recent HTC tradition of making phones that are a little more usable than the ‘vanilla’ version of the platform on which they work. This was shown on HTC’s last big Android phone, the Hero, with the debut of the HTC Sense user interface. In essence Sense allows you to customise a number of screens for particular purposes and apps – such as news, sport, social media. On top of this is HTC’s extremely nifty People widget, which ties all of your friends and contacts together in terms of their communication with you on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and saved voice and SMS messages. The FriendStream app lets all of your online friends know what you’re up to, casting your status updates and photos to your Twitter, Facebook and Flickr accounts.
Another nice new touch is the ‘polite ringer’. With this, the volume of the ringtone automatically lowers when the Desire is picked up. And leaving the phone face down also automatically mutes the volume of the ring tone.
So, the Desire looks to be another Android winner from HTC. The big questions is, in its initial life as a Telstra exclusive, is how much will the freedom of the phone and the operating system be nobbled by the enforced attachment of Telstra apps and services.