Tuesday, September 21, 2010

HTC London event

This is part two of a series of tech and social related posts relating to events I attended last week. I debated whether to post them as one whole long post, but I felt better breaking them up into separate posts. The previous was about Nokia World 2010 - this is about HTC London event.

The HTC event in London proved to be a little more exciting, if for all the wrong reasons. I arrived at Old Billingsgate to be greeted not by HTC representatives but by a team of Nokia employees (or models) carrying red balloons advertising the virtues of Ovi Maps.

Those who have followed me on twitter will know what I am talking about, but those who haven't - well I was given a Nokia lunch box which they dubbed the HTC survival kit. Inside contained a ham, tomato and cheese sandwich (HTC sandwich, geddit?) and some other little toys, like an eye mask that read "I am dreaming of an N8". Well I am *still* dreaming of an N8.

I've seen some criticism and defences on the web about how Nokia behaved at the HTC London event and can respect both sides of the argument, but I will be honest here - when I first saw the balloons I chuckled. I knew nothing about the bus that HTC sent to ExCeL (I was on Internet blackout when riding the DLR from ExCeL to Monument).

Other than that I have absolutely no opinion whatsoever about whether Nokia was right to send lunch ladies to greet us or whether HTC was right to send buses to Nokia World. At event launches like these it is all about the devices.

HTC announced two new devices at the event, the HTC Desire HD and Desire Z. Both runs on Android kernel 2.2 (aka Froyo). The Desire Z is a great looking device with neat looking sliding QWERTY keyboard that feels better than the E7, and features a 'Z' hinge that is said to improve typing experience. The hinge looks sturdy enough and the device passed by squeeze test.

The Desire HD has a 4.3" screen, which makes the device a little too large for my liking. It is fast. Well both devices felt quick. The Desire Z has a lesser processor but honestly I did not detect any slowdowns compared to the Desire HD.

Both these devices will be ready to go on sale in the UK from next month, when the N8 hits the market, and when the E7 doesn't... A HTC UK rep told me that they expect both devices to be available for free on a £35 a month 24 months contract, but wouldn't be able to commit on it. I expect it to be true, but you would be crazy to lock yourself into a 24 months contract. I yearn for a time when 12 months contract were the norm.

In any case, I am seriously considering getting a Desire Z next month. While not a five row keyboard, it feels better than the one on the Nokia E7. I will publish a more detailed hands-on in due course once I have the time.

There is last thing I want to add before I sign this post off. Something I will forever remember at the HTC event (besides the Nokia stunt) that irked me so badly I actually live tweeted it the moment it reached my ear and my inner self exploded in rage. It was when a HTC designer blurted out that people do not want plastic watches. This is quite simply the stupidest comment I have had the misfortune to hear (apologies to the guy seated next to me when I moaned loudly).

It is nice that HTC thinks we all need premium metal in our phones - lord knows we need our phones to be more expensive and use up more battery to hold onto a cell signal - but they ought to pay more attention to hardware quality control. All my past HTC devices, either HTC-branded or OEM have failed one way or another (XDA IIs, the all metal Palm Tungsten T3, imate JAM etc. - usually the touchscreen). My £10 Casio and £30 Swatch lasts way longer than any of my past HTC devices!


HTC sucks said...

HTC were wrong to schedule the event. Two announced devices did not warrant an event!

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