phone phreaks

June 10, 2010

W00t! My HTC Desire has arrived at last. It took a bit longer than I’d hoped, but that was just because the UK suppliers ran out of stock. It clearly is a phenomenally popular phone.

The Voight-Kampff Test

And my cunning plan to defeat a certain evil Oz telco has worked perfectly too. Seriously, any Australian readers who want a non-Telstra Desire, all you have to do is order it over the internet from here or here. A hundred Oz dollars cheaper and FedEx will get it to you in under five days. The British phones run on the right frequencies for the Optus and Vodafone 3G networks here.

My phone configured itself correctly from the Optus sim card; 3G voice and data came up without a hitch when I turned the phone on. WiFi and GPS, of course, are true world standards, so no problems there either.

And would you like a review of the phone? Remember Arthur C Clarke, the science fiction writer, who once made the remark that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”? I guess these phones must be pretty advanced then; they do have a magical quality as far as I’m concerned. It’s the first thing I’ve yet encountered that really makes me feel that I’m living in the 21st century.

I’m still adding apps and sorting out the configuration of the thing. Trouble is, everything I install I then want to play with. I spent a couple of hours yesterday playing with Google Goggles. Not perfect yet by any means, but insanely great, nonetheless. I’ll post a list of the apps that I consider essential, just as soon as I’ve figured out what they are.

And I want to try a mobile blog post too. The phone does voice-to-text that works pretty well; that should save a lot of the typing. One of my main concerns was that I’d need a physical keyboard. And indeed, if you’re planning to write War and Peace II on the thing then a keyboard is a must. But the beauty of Android is the close integration with the Google cloud. A lot of data can be set up in the cloud using your PC, and sync-ed over to the phone. I got all my browser bookmarks, RSS subscriptions and personal contacts onto the phone without typing a line.

Other options include cloud-based note-taking services like Evernote.

Meanwhile I hear that another company has just released an upgraded iProduct thinggy. Yawn… Why are they even bothering? Aside from anything else, it’s Android that has the geek street cred now. Remember back in the Mac vs PC days, the Apple computer was the minority taste and you got certain bragging rights by having one.

Now, in Australia at least, everyone has an iPhone and the Android phones are the minority. How good will it be when you pull your new Desire out of your pocket and all your friends say “Oh, is that the latest iPhone”?

Of course you’ll have your response carefully rehearsed – the quick pitying glance, the condescending smirk, the just-so tone of voice as you reply “Oh no. I’ve gone with Google. I didn’t want to be… like… evil.”

I think you can imagine how good that will feel. Hop to it then.

UPDATE: There is an issue with the phone picking up the 3G data link after turning off the WiFi. This seems to be common to all Desires and not just the UK ones. The workaround is here.

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