Tag Archives: HTC

Windows 8 future potential

 Windows 8, how’s it going to go.

Very shortly Windows 8 / Windows Phone 8 will be out; what’s going to happen?
I assume on the computer side of things, as new machines arrive with Windows 8 pre-installed the operating system will naturally spread through the user world. Microsoft has already ended its mainstream support for both XP and Vista, and XP’s extended support will end in the not too distant future, so corporations still hanging on to XP are going to have to upgrade soon.
Microsoft has already announced that its service pack support for 7 will end next year, so again, more reasons for looking towards 8.

What about the phones and tablets, will it break into the Android / Apple duopoly.
One thing that could give it an advantage is that it’s relatively free from the legal arguments going on between the Android and Apple communities. This could make it very tempting for the business world that does *not* like getting involved in other people’s legal wrangles. At the moment they don’t have much choice, Blackberry seems in terminal decline which really just leaves them looking towards the two arguing ‘big boys’.

So if Microsoft can come along and provide a user system with some quality phones and tablets (devices announced by Nokia, HTC and Samsung seem to be getting some good press) that will seamlessly integrate in with their desktop machines and without these Apple / Android uncertainties, then I could see business being quite tempted. Combine this business use with those individuals who want to give it a try and this should provide a more than big enough user base to get developers interested.

So I would not be too surprised if in a couple of years time it had sorted itself out to be something like 40% Android, 40% Apple and 20% Windows 8, and (unless they can do something quite amazing really quickly) RIM / Blackberry seriously struggling.

One thing to remember; before the iPhone came along, in places like the USA those earlier Windows Mobile based phones had about 40% of the market, so if they’ve done it before then there’s a fair chance they can do it again.

What next for the iPhone size. Big, small, or indifferent?

At the time of writing this Google has just announced the Nexus 7, and this has got me thinking about the iPhone and its future size.

Over the last few years there’s been a vast range of smartphones around the 3 to 4 inch screen size. Currently HTC have their Desire phones including 3.7” and 4.3” models. Motorola, Nokia, Sony, all have devices around the 4.3” size. The Samsung Galaxys go from 4” to 4.8” and their Note comes in at 5.3”.
Moving up the scale to the tablets, there’s the Kindle Fire at 7” and the Galaxy Tabs going from 7” to 10.1”. There’s the Motorola Xoom also 10.1” Within the last 6 months Acer, Asus and Toshiba have all brought out 10.1” devices, and now we have this new Google Nexus 7 at 7”.

But what about Apple. We have various iPhones at 3.5” and the iPad at 9.7”, both running an operating system which was amazing when it first came out, but now (even with updates) is looking a bit dated.

Time for something new from Apple? An updated iPhone (iPhone 5) at 4.3” plus a totally new device to catch the mid-size market. Maybe target the mid-size with a 5” iPhone leaving the 4S for those wanting to stay small. Perhaps ignore this mid-range and just do the new iPhone at 4”.

I currently use a Samsung Galaxy S2 (4.3”) and an iPhone 3GS (3.5”). I’ve had a play with Galaxy S3 at 4.8” and am quite happy with that size. I’ve also played (if only briefly) with the Note at 5.3” but find that just too big. So I’d be really happy if the new iPhone came out at 4.5” to 4.8”.  (Anything less than 4.5” and they’ll have to do something quite amazing with iOS to get my attention.)

Apple being Apple, they’ll do their own thing their own way and in their own time. Plus what ever they bring out the dedicated Apple fanboys will buy. I personally have no particular loyalty to any one system, so if the next Apple device appeals to me then I’ll probably give it a spin. If not, then I’m not too worried. Also there is the unknown factor of Microsoft and how will Windows 8 be received – will their desktop system efficiently scale across to portable devices.

Interesting times ahead for the summer.

What do I want from a mobile phone?

Well, what do I want from a mobile phone?! The least important thing is it as a speech communication device, the most important thing is it as a data communication device.

I do have an iPhone 3GS and I’m happy enough with it, however it does have its limitations. (One thing that has started to happen recently is that its battery life has fallen off. I don’t know if it’s because it’s now nearly 2 years old, or because of Apple updates, or both, but it is irritating.) Something I would find useful would be to have a device that could be used as a Wi-Fi hot spot, and I was actually on my way down to the shops to get a stand-alone MiFi dongle when by chance I bumped into a friend and mentioned this to him. He showed me his HTC Desire and said that the newer Android phones had that Wi-Fi service built in.

Being reasonably happy with my 3GS I’d not kept track of what had been coming out new onto the mobile phone market recently, so was quite surprised at how nice his Android phone was. (My only real experience of this family of phones had been with an early Google phone, and that had NOT impressed me!) This chance meeting got me into doing a bit of research into what else was around, and was impressed with what I saw. Although I have various Apple products I am not an Apple FanBoy, but I had assumed that my next phone would probably be whatever comes out to replace the iPhone 4. However it may well be time to switch across to Android.

So what do I want.

A 4.3 inch screen – big enough to be useful but still keeping the device pocket-size.
Dual core processor – I don’t want to spend a lot of money on something like a single core machine that’s just about to become ‘old generation technology’.
Front and rear cameras – I do like to make the occasional YouTube vlog using my phone, and a front facing camera would make that sooo much easier.
Wi-Fi hot spot facilities – the easiest way for me to have mobile internet for my lap tops and other devices.

So at the moment I’m just waiting for the HTC Sensation and Samsung Galaxy S II phones to hit the phone companies, and then we’ll see how things go.

New phone – update

Getting used to finger scrolling, but it’s not up to iPhone quality. A bigger screen, not so much for improved viewing area, but to give more room for finger swiping could have improved things. It’s just not good at reliably differentiating between Finger Moving, and Finger Selecting on the screen. Using its built-in stylus as a touch device gets it working soooo much better, but then that defeats the objective of the finger-compatible screen.

Worked the battery through a few full charge followed by full discharge cycles. If I avoid the seriously heavy power users like CoPilot, but still doing general stuff and have it checking my e-mail every now and again, then a couple of days out of the battery. However although I’ve set it to check my e-mail every 30 minutes, it’s not doing that properly.

Still not impressed with CoPilot. Changing its settings to ‘Walking’ has helped the screen updating while wandering around, but despite being set to Walking it really wants to lock you onto roads. This is such that if you are walking through a park it will track you through the park while you are moving. About 2 seconds after you stop moving, regardless how far you are from a road, it jumps to a road. Not necessarily the nearest road, though it usually is. At one time my nearest set of roads were on the other side of a large river, so when I stopped that’s where it said I was – amazing!!! I’d jumped across a river without getting wet!!! A few seconds after I started moving again it put me back into the park – until I stopped again!
Also once it has put you onto a road, it does not want to leave that road, even if it’s the wrong road – as in where there may be two or three roads all close together.
There’s a few other niggles in the way it updates things like speed and direction.
The first phone I got with sat-nav on it I got about 4 years ago, and despite its age its sat-nav (Garmin-powered) pisses all over this.
Overall this really is a bit of a gimmick, a bit toytownish, CP not so much standing for CoPilot, but Crap Product.

The camera’s O.K. for your head & shoulders or couple of friends filling the screen, but the focusing (still picture or video) is crap at long distance stuff. I must see if there is some way of turning off the auto-focusing when trying to photograph general scenery.

When playing with the sat-nav I spent 10 minutes walking across a park, then 10 minutes walking back. That 20 minutes took the battery down from ‘half-full’ to ‘low battery warning’, the phone’s about to die level.

It’s works very well as a modem for my lap-top. My old HTC required to you open a connection box on the lap-top to ‘dial out’, but this is much simpler. Tell the phone I want to ‘Connect’ – as in use it as a modem – and then plug in the USB cable, and it just seems to work. (I’ve not tried it wilt Bluetooth.)
It’s also more reliable. My old system had a habit of the phone disconnecting if it went off to do something else like a scheduled routine e-mail check, or even receive a text message. This one stays connected.

Ha!!! I’ve just noticed some network traffic going up and down on its data monitor and it’s just alerted me to a new e-mail message. This message I know was sent at 13:44 and I know it got to my account at 13:45. It’s now 16:25, that’s nearly 3 hours – for a supposed check every 30 minutes (and yes, I have been in a good signal strength area for the last few hours).

More later.

New phone

Got a new toy – HTC Diamond. (T-Mobile MDA Compact IV). First impressions were a bit disappointing. But then in reality had perhaps over-high expectations, so overall, neutral.

No instruction manual! So I know everyone is trying to save every penny they can in production costs, but this is quite a complex bit of kit, and an expensive one too. For something of this price, relying on the user to print off their own copy from the CD is really not good enough.

Poor menu layout and navigation. On my older HTC phone, when I selected the battery icon, the battery meter appeared. On this new phone a sub-menu appears and from that you then get to the battery display. So many other things are now (unnecessarily) one or two menu-levels deeper than previously, and much harder to find.

Clear high resolution screen, shame it could not have been physically larger. (The button area below the screen could have been smaller and still perfectly workable.) Too often when swiping your finger across the screen to shift the display it thinks you want to actually select an icon. This is really annoying when trying to scroll through a long list of items, say your contact list. Sometimes this scrolling can be fast and continuous, but when you touch the screen wanting to stop the scrolling it will then immediately jump to the name that happened to be closest to your finger.

The phone is sensitive to whether you are holding it in Landscape or Portrait and the display switches accordingly, sometimes, depending on which program is running, and it can take a few seconds to switch by which time you’ve moved the phone back to its original position…. It can get confused if you have it lying flat on a desk.

The main ‘Settings’ display seems to be text only, scroll sideways to the ‘Programs’ display and that’s all icons. No consistency. You can select ‘All Programs’ which gives a list (mix of icons and names). As with the Contacts list, if you try to use your finger to scroll through the programs, it scrolls such that it runs through a whole mass of program selections, usually over-shooting the one you want. If you move your finger slowly to make it scroll slowly, then it decides you want to actually select all the programs you’ve moved your finger over and starts them! A bit crap.

I’ve been using the stylus rather than my finger more and more, which is rather against the whole idea of this sort of touch screen.

I’ve set the Mail to check a couple of my e-mail accounts every 15 minutes. It’s definitely not doing that. There’s often a couple of hours delay before it alerts me to the fact that there’s new mail there.

Mine has Google maps built in. I find this one of the more useful (and fun) things. Seems to work well. The Search found all the different post-codes I put into it. When searching by street name, then you need to do street name, town name, rather than just street name for it to work well. It has a ‘My Location’ function which tries to find your present location using the mobile phone signals. Not particularly accurate, but gets you to the general area.

I tried the Copilot sat-nav program. Very *Not Impressed*. It finds where I an with reasonable accuracy (but not as good as my Garmin Quest). However once I start walking around a small text display at the bottom of the screen updates, so I know the system’s working, but the main map display does not follow my movements. If I do something that forces the main screen to re-display, then the map updates, but not otherwise. The display options are crap too. It tries to make things too fancy (even in its 2-D mode). I’d much rather have a plain simple 2-D map, clutter-free, that moves with me and actually reflected where I was. This is NOT a substitute for even the most basic stand-alone sat-nav device. I can see its main use as a function to quickly flatten the battery – this I can see a use for as I’d much rather do a good lenghty charge on a flat battery than top-up a half charged one.

The camera seems O.K. (no flash) and the video also works O.K., assuming you just want basic ‘show your mates’ happy snaps. If you want nice pictures, buy a proper camera.

The FM radio’s useful, I’ve not played with the MP3 music side of things (yet).

It has the Opera browser built-in. That does work well, especially considering the small size of screen it’s got to work with. I see under All Programs, there is Internet Explorer. I don’t think I’m even going to bother to try it, more than happy to stick with Opera. The phone also does YouTube videos O.K.

If you’re going to use this phone even half-aggressively then you’ll be lucky to get a full day out of the battery. I may get a spare battery to carry with it, but to start with I will have to carry an old phone around with me so if it’s battery does fail I can shift the SIM into the other phone.

A phone for geeks – yes.

A phone for the general masses – no.

Will update as I get used to using it.