Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Touch of Heaven Definitely (a geeky stroll through the phones of my past and today)

HTC Touch HD Retail Box I took the plunge on my birthday,  18 months after I received my Nokia N95, the most versatile of all my gadgets and one that I carried more places than this Tablet (and it goes virtually everywhere. 

In what I call doing a Miller I ordered a phone just coming onto the market.

Not just any phone at that, no sir-ee, it had to be the HTC Touch HD.

In the UK the phone is exclusively available via the Orange network until 2009, except...

Expansys UK have a great scheme whereby they will sell a SIM free i.e. an unlocked phone and sell a coresponding mobile contract.  By using this route I have been able to obtain the phone on a T-mobile contract and pay no more for the phone than I would have to when (I feel sure) T-Mobile added the phone to it's line-up next year. 

The purchase from Expansys UK was fairly straightforward, I say fairly straightforward for no reason on their part, just that the theft of my wallet complicated things unnecessarily. Having ordered I received a series of clear emails talking me through the various checks that the network makes and clarifying what the order tracker would display until my order was despatched.

Being an impatient sort of geek, I kept checking the tracker on the Expansys UK site on a daily basis.  Initially I was horrified to find that my expected 5 days to delivery suddenly shot up to 18 days but 3 or so days after this it suddenly said shipped!  I clicked on the very clear link to their chosen transport firm, in this case ANC/Fed-Ex UK, and saw step by step what was happening.  The very next day the phone arrived in the village and I collected it from my parents after work.

I have owned in the last few years, a Sony Ericsson P800 followed by the P910i and latterly by the Nokia N95.  Each of these phones has been a revelation and joy to use.  With each one improvements in technology was very noticeable and I found that they enabled me to work in a more mobile and eficient manner.  I did miss handwriting recognition when I first moved from SE to Nokia but a Dell Axim x51v filled the gap.  Handwriting recognition became an extremely quick way to enter data and I I eventually got up to dictation speed using the P910i in meetings.  The Dell was ideal, but for one thing, it didn't have a camera. 

The P800 and P910i were a great opportunity to bring me back to photography, something I had enjoyed in the past.  Being able to take photos and quickly and easily add them to my computer or email them was a clear boon for work.  I could make up directions to offices using photos of the locations, copy items of interest and email them to interested parties, photograph problem areas such as building damage or equipment issues and email them to support staff.

Moving to the N95 was a big leapt in photographic terms, one that compensated for my giving up the touch screen.  With high capacity mini-SD cards available I could snap away at the full 5 megapixels and not have to worry, trimming down the size when necessary but having the ability to choose.  Quicker wifi and features such as AGPS meant that I could start using the N95 in place of solutions such as the Axim and TomTom. 

Constant use and the rough and tumble of every day use meant that gradually gremlins started to creep in, the odd SIM not found or unexpected reset suggested a need to invest in a newer phone.  I saw the iPhone come and it didn't move me, the N96 was good but not good enough.  I thought it would be into Spring next year before I would find a phone that appealed to me; one that offered the best of both worlds from my phone past, a touch screen, faster wifi, gps, WM 6 to integrate with my other Windows devices,  at least a 5MP camera, lighter weight than the fairly hefty smartphones I had been using, a large screen area.  I saw a friend's Samsung Omnia recently and thought it a smart phone but wanted more screen space or a higher resolution.

Something caught my eye when googling the Omnia, someone mentioned or compared it to the HTC Touch HD.  I naturally did a search on the Touch HD and fell for the phone, (not sure how else to put it - geeks will understand, Apple Fanboys will comprehend).  It seemed to have everything, 5mP camera, the highest resolution touchscreen, agps, b & g wifi, Windows Mobile 6 (no, I don't think it as bad as some make out), light and with a decent battery.

It has arrived and I hope to take some shots of it and with it and do a follow up post but, for now I wanted to cover the background that brought me to this point.  18112008044

Inside HTC Touch HD retail box

The phone came in the very robust and, I think, stylish box (see photos adjacent to this paragraph),   inside the sleeve that is shown at the start of this post.  The phone lay on top of a inner box that held cables, battery and 8GB micro-SD card.  In the bottom of the main box lay the manuals on CD and a trial version of OneNote 2007.


The phone is as gorgeous as i hoped and I will post examples in another post.  As a taster I can say that the things that impress me most at this point are:

  • the way the stylus is grabbed by the phone when only a few millimetres are left to push in (sad though this confession of impression might be); this is a great feature as it ensures the stylus is fully seated and not liable to dropping out when put away in a rush. 
  • The excellent display of the weather, though Microsoft please add cities to the choices, the nearest forecast I can currently get is 75 miles away! 
  • The speed of the wifi, my network doesn't slow much now all devices can access at 54g minimum.
  • The ability to use my fingers to type and that the keyboard can tell even though the keys seem (to my novice eye) too small. 
  • The phone battery came partially charged so that, within 3 hours, I was up and running. 

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Cornwall, United Kingdom
A married Cornishman who is getting an inkling of what he wants to be when he grows up. I currently work for the NHS. [See bottom of page for Blog Archive and Links.]