It’s quite a while since I bought myself a gadget. My trusty old Dell Axim PDA finally gave up the ghost and I also needed a new MP3 player. PDA’s seem to have been subsumed into cellphones over the last few years, so it seemed that the best upgrade/replacement path was to opt for a smartphone.

HTC Desire CellphoneApple’s iPhone gets rave reviews, but there have been a lot of complaints recently about their draconian control over what apps are allowed onto the iPhone platform. I’ve been hearing that apps that currently available are actually being removed from the marketplace because Apple deems them unsuitable for whatever reason they deem appropriate. It’s that old monopolistic ethic at work again…”It’s our way or the highway; you’re either with us or against us.” (imagine the only place you could buy books published by HarperCollins was their designated store).

I prefer platforms where such strict controls aren’t in place which is one reason I never strayed into Apple Mac territory when developing software applications. Now I’ve never used a Mac, don’t know anyone who’s owned one or who’s ever written software for one. I’ve only seen them up close in high-street stores and didn’t like what I saw (design-wise). Nothing about Apple’s products has ever enticed me (in fact, they just put me off).

The iPhone does look good though but it’s expensive and, from what I can see, you need to be tied into a contract to use one. Not for me. Things have moved on now since the iPhone was first introduced and it’s revolutionary interface isn’t that revolutionary any more.

So, since I wanted an unlocked (sim-free) phone that would double as a PDA/MP3/Video player, I looked around at what was available. A friend brought the HTC Desire to my attention as he’d just bought one. I guess I fell in love with it ‘cos I went out and bought one! I found the cheapest offer on Pixmania (€469) but cheaper prices might be available on eBay.

It’s a lovely piece of kit. The screen is fantastic – AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode) – crisp, bright, 480×800 pixels, easily read in daylight and doesn’t suffer contrast drops when seen at an angle.

The HTC Desire has a built-in MP3 player and video player (though it only plays MP4 files, so AVI’s and other video formats have to be converted for playing). It will sync with my Outlook calendar and contacts, can be connected to my PC as an external drive, can piggyback on my wi-fi connection for surfing the web, has a digital compass and GPS, and on and on. In other words, it’s a techie’s dream.

So, this is a phone I own (I’m not tied into a contract with it) which will probably get used more as a PDA than a phone. There are many places to get software for the phone. The iPhone has seniority here, but the HTC cellphone’s are proving to be very popular and getting great reviews and that means more and more apps will become available for the phone over the coming months. 🙂


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