HTC Desire

The HTC Desire received its official blessing today, addressing two things that had been gnawing at us regarding the current king of the hill, the Nexus One: What would it have been like if it had HTC's Sense UI? And is there a more elegant solution than a trackball?

The Desire answers both of those things -- and then some -- with the introduction of an all-new version of Sense running atop Android 2.1.

That sound good? Click through for the details.

For all intents and purposes, the HTC Desire -- heretofore known as by its codename, Bravo -- is the Nexus One. Same 3.7-inch capacitive AMOLED screen at 480x800 pixels, same 1GHz Snapdragon processor, with only a minute difference in size.

The most obvious change is that the trackball has been excised, and replaced by an optical trackpad. But it's more than that. The black dot in the center of the silver circle is the actual trackpad, ringed by a physical button. An elegant solution to a nagging problem on a keyboardless phone. And the button itself is ringed with concentric circles, a nice attention to detail.

While we're in the Southern Hemisphere of the phone, the four buttons at the bottom also are physical -- not capacitive as on the Nexus One. That's going to make pressing them a more conscious decision, and make them less prone to accidental touches.

But the buttons suffer from a growing problem with Android in that they're out of order from sibling devices. On the Desire they run, from left, Home, Menu, Back and Search. That differs from the Nexus One and Motorola Droid, and returns to the layout of the myTouch 3G, another HTC device. While most Android users aren't likely to hop from phone to phone the way we do, that lack of consistency breaks the continuity of the Android experience.

Other key physical traits:

  • An ever-so-slight chin. It's almost imperceptible.
  • Five-megapixel camera with autofocus, flash, face detection, widescreen shooting and geotagging.
  • 3.5mm headphone jack.
  • Standard microUSB connection.
  • Accelerometer.
  • Digital compass.
  • Proximity sensor.
  • Ambient light sensor.
  • 1400mAh battery.

Software and the new HTC Sense

And the other big break from the Nexus One is the addition of the Sense user interface. Whereas the Nexus One is Google's baby, this one is HTC's, and they've brought their best stuff to the table.

The e-mail client in Sense has been greatly improved, and there's a new e-mail widget, bringing any and all of your e-mail accounts into a master list. There's now an agenda view for the calendar. The clock and weather widget now goes full-screen.

The browser also has seen improvements. You can now long-press on a word or whole paragraph and manipulate the text. Look it up in a dictionary or Wikipedia. Or send it directly to Google for translation to another language. It's all built in and quickly accessible.

Availability

Bad news for those of you hoping for an American release -- the HTC Desire is a European/Asian device at the moment, sporting the 900 and 2100 bands for 3G. It will be available in March.

 
There are 12 comments

Anonymous says:

this seems like the type of phone i'd like. sad to see it's only going to Europe and Asia for now

magnum#AC says:

It appears all the things that we dreamt about the Nexus Phone has been infused with the HTC desire, hopefully this one
can live up to the expectation of the users: More: http://bit.ly/htc-desire-nexus-on-steroids

Neofire says:

Aside from having the latest software updates, why buy a nexus now!???

Dilbert says:

Because not everyone likes the look of HTC Sense. I for one prefer the stock Android OS look and therefore would rather buy a Nexus One.

I'd buy the N1 over this because the N1 does not have Sense.

I want only stock Android.

Anonymous says:

Why are all the good phones not on "American" 3G bands? Nexus One and the Desire both... Come on! Why can't we get one of these sexys working on AT&T 3G or Verizon already?!

Anonymous says:

The problem is not with HTC making phones on those bands but idiots in USA from T-Mobile and AT&T who decided that they need something different... Instead standard global 900/2100 3G we have 850/1900 on AT&T or 1700/2100 on T-Mobile.

Because of them world is divided.

ChiefDroid says:

There are a lot of rumors that this phone will be coming to the states; even more rumors that it'll be coming to Verizon in CDMA form. But, when it's all said and done, they're just rumors, no concrete information right now. The only thing close to concrete is from XDA Developers, which always seems to be in the know, say that the phone is coming ton Verizon. The question is when...

As far as the phone software is concerned, I really love this phone, I love the Sense UI over the stock Android UI; personal preference. The little hour-glass lookup feature was sampled from the iPhone, IDC, I liked the feature on the iPhone, so I'm sure I'll love it on this phone.

The question between N1 vs Desire: for me it's the Desire (if released by Verizon) 1) Sense UI 2)In-store Support 3) known good customer service. Everything as far as specs is a wash, they are pretty much the same phone.

Anonymous says:

My contract with Verizon is up in May. I've been holding out for the Nexus One but after hearing so many bad things about it, I may have to switch to AT&T and get an Iphone. Honestly, this "coming in spring" stuff is crap, why can't they give a firm release date? It's not like they aren't already mass producing the hand sets in their Chinese factories. Now that I've asked the question, I'll answer it. If the release was soon, they'd have said that. The release won't be till May or June because those months technically are included in "spring".

Problems I've heard with the phone:
1) You can't get it subsidized with a family plan.
2) Google charges you $350 if you early terminate. This pretty much ruins Verizon's 30 day return policy.
3) Customer service sucks.

I've been holding out for the N1 but after reading about these issues and more, I've become leery. Today I hear about this great new phone, only to find out that we're not getting it in the US until the end of the year (if we're lucky). I'm tired of waiting for Verizon to get a good phone.

You know what I see in Verizon's future? I see the same thing that they've been giving us in the past: a great network with a bunch of blackberries and texting phones (that they call "multimediate phones").

All these great phones that are coming out seem to be in the distant future for Verizon or not at all (as they seem to all be going to T-Mobile).

I'd prefer to stick with Verizon but they better give me one of these great new handsets soon and not another Black Berry or the EnV 25.

Anonymous says:

You hit the nail on the head with most of that. I've been a customer with VZW for 8 F'n years and I'm so tired of their sh~t. Yeah, their network is great, but so are my legs. But I'm paralyzed and in a wheelchair and I can't use them to their full potential. So verizon... even though you will never listen to me or any of your customers who line your pockets with cold hard cash, Stop requiring so much f'n control over your devices, and let the cards fall where they may. I know your network kicks ass because I tether my laptop to my Env Touch and get SCREAMING speed. I dont see how ATT can claim their network is the fastest when my sisters iPhone blows chunks... now talk about be being disabled... the iPhone on ATT, Webster should update it's definition.

Bottom line, VZW... stop f*cking us, we want MORE.
(and sorry, that droid is a sack of shit with that keyboard... you should have just left the damn thing without one.)

Anonymous says:

BTW... when you say there are problems with the "phone" you should talk about the phone... all the things you mentioned are about the carrier, and to be honest, your list takes me from 100% wanting a nexus one on VZW to about 99.999%

claustin says:

I completely agree on the keyboard thing. I hate it. Only used it when I rooted it. Other than that it's just wasting space. As soon as Verizon gets an N1 or Desire, I'm selling the Droid and buying one straight up. Who needs a physical keyboard when you have Swype? Not to mention the Droid is ugly as hell.