a telephone named desire

May 17, 2010

So, the second week of my holidays and another pleasant distraction. This time I’m working on joining the smartphone revolution. I’m still carrying an old Nokia 5-series, since none of the 3G phones have really done much for me. The basic problem is screen realestate – Google maps or GPS navigation on a postage-stamp sized display never seemed a lot of use because you couldn’t see enough context with your location. And the killer app for me is mobile web browsing; not being a chatty teenager I don’t actually make that many outgoing calls.

Plus I’m becoming increasingly annoyed about gadget overload. A phone, a camera, a GPS, an MP3 player… They’re all just microcomputers with displays and sensors. Where is Sauron to forge the one gadget to rule them all?

Well in fact he’s in Cupertino, California. And so you may well ask “but Zardoz, why not just buy an iProduct?” This is why not. Apple have produced the goods, sure, and they have the first-mover advantage, but we’ve seen this movie before. The original Mac was the be-all-and-end-all, but most people went with DOS and the odd how-to book from the local techie bookshop and got by just fine.

I’m expecting that the smartphone revolution will play itself out in the same way. Just replace QDOS with Android. So I’ve been looking it the Android phone-o-sphere for inspiration instead.

And inspiration has struck. I’ve decided on this one – the HTC Desire.

Desire… Oh dear… Hey, Stellaaaa….

There really should be some sort of consumer protection law that stops companies naming sleek and sexy gadgets desire. Or, just call it lust and be done with it. Just writing this post is making me think of taking a cold shower.

However, as is the way with these things, the path to the fulfilment of my desire is narrow and winding. From another point of view, we know lust is one of the seven deadly sins. And sins do seem to travel in packs.

In this case, the other one in the mix is avarice.

The Desire is on sale in Australia, but through Telstra, Australia’s national “phone company”. Although it still majority owned by the guv’mint has the government as a shareholder, Telstra is the sort of rapacious dollar-per-bit carrier that my US readers probably know only too well. It makes ol’ Ma Bell look like your favourite  grandmother. No thanks.

But there is another solution, which I discovered thanks to Whirlpool, that wonderful online resource for Australian internet and gadget lovers. Order the phone from the UK and ship it out, FedEx, for £30 and a seven-day-more-or-less-delivery (barring the odd Icelandic volcano). The British phones are on the correct UMTS frequencies for the Australian networks that compete with Telstra. And over a hundred Oz dollars cheaper. The smart money seems to be ordering them from here or here. I think I’ll be joining them in a few days.

Hopefully I’ll be able to make my first ever mobile blog post in the next couple of weeks. Oh I love living in the future!


Android’s off and running.


6 Responses to “a telephone named desire”

  1. HoHo Says:

    Did you consider N900 too? I bought it a day after it was released and I’m very impressed by it still. It’s awesome to have full-blown Linux in your pocked that has no stupid virtual-machine limitations for apps and can run pretty much anything ported to ARM. I’m fairly certain it’s one of the few (only?) phone you can download torrents and host websites with 🙂

  2. zardoz Says:

    I did look at the N900 and yes it’s very tempting. I want to start by seeing how practical a phone without a physical keyboard really is. And I can’t help feeling that the history of the desktop PC will be rerun here – where the OSes get narrowed down to one or two winners – Android (which I know is a sorta Linux) will clearly be one of them. I think that if I wanted a mobile computer – which I see as slightly different to a mobile phone – I’d gofer one of these types of devices to get more screen realestate and just keep my old dumbphone. Only some experience will tell if I understand things rightly.

  3. Vitorio Says:

    Hello, sounds like you’re enjoying your vacation, especially with, what, two more weeks of it to go?

    While you’re gone, I’d be terribly interested in exploring your data for guild-specific trends: things like what sorts of characters are in guilds, what level breakdowns the guilds have, maybe how active those guilds are (perhaps via aggregate last login time or percentage of stale characters?), officer to member percentages, etc. If it’s interesting enough to you, I’d be happy to make a guest post about the results.

    Thanks, and keep up the excellent work!

  4. zardoz Says:

    Thanks Vitorio. I’ll send you an email to establish contact. Two weeks to go is right; I’m out and about a lot so it might take a little while to get the email out to you.

  5. Chris Adams Says:

    Actually, the government now owns only 10.9% of Telstra. They haven’t been majority shareholders since 2006.

    The reason Telstra still fucks the Australian populace in the arse is a combination of inertia and cable monopoly – Telstra still owns the infrastructure that everyone else operates on.

    If the original privatisation had left the infrastructure assets in government hands and sold off the service side of the business, we’d all be a lot better off.

  6. zardoz Says:

    Yes, I should have checked the wikipedia article on Telstra. Thanks.

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