Between HTC, Google, Apple and Nokia


Recently, after using a number of cool and latest smart phone gadgets, it’s really time to share some insights to each of these devices.  Granted, the thoughts here are really my personal experiences but it should be fairly representative of these different classes of devices.

I hope you will find this useful as you consider spending some money on new and nifty devices.  I am comparing the HTC Touch Pro 2, HTC Hero, iPhone 3G and the N97.  They should be representative of their own classes of gadgets.

Enjoy!

HTC Touch Pro 2 – Windows Mobile

The richness of Windows Mobile in this nifty gadget is a joy to use.  The device itself is solidly built with perhaps the best QWERTY keypad amongst its peers.

If you are a business user and syncs with Outlook or even Lotus Notes, this is an excellent device for you.  There are lots of great apps, much more than for Symbian or Android phones.

The phone function has come a long way together with SMS and email handling.  Top marks really.  No complaints at all.

The overall user experience is excellent.  HTC builds some of the best Windows Mobile devices, if not the best.  The camera is quite OK, very useable.

HTC Hero – Android

Interestingly, HTC has built some of the best looking Android phones.  The Google Nexus One also comes from this manufacturer.  Since I couldn’t get my hands on a Nexus One, I made do with the Hero.

The interface looks a lot like HTC’s interface for the Windows Mobile devices with more home screen widgets that seems to make it an iPhone combo.  Then again, it does have nice user interface that mimics the iPhone more than Windows.

Alas, the availability of apps are not quite there yet.  Since the Android OS is relatively newer than the Windows or iPhone counterparts, there is far fewer useable apps.

You also have to be using Google’s calendar to sync with Hero.  The sync interfaces for Outlook and Lotus Notes must be purchased separately.  Once online, you will hardly notice the device syncing with Google.

The overall user experience is good.  If you are looking for out-of-the-box and don’t want to install anything else type of device, Hero is just that phone.

Otherwise, check out the rest.  Honestly, the Android-base phone is still a long way off from the competition but is very useable in its vanilla state.  Good if you want to show off a totally different type of phone from your peers. The camera is just as good as the Windows Mobile phones.  After all, this comes from the same HTC factory.

Apple iPhone 3G – OSX

This one needs no introduction.  Based off a proven Mac OS X, this nifty gadget is really the best non-techy, most intuitive device.  Apple knows how to build it for the general folks.

Besides, Apple has created quite a cultic following with this iPhone.  It’s really cool to be seen using one.  From the CEO to the school going teenager, everybody loves the iPhone.

There are lots of apps available but mostly have to be paid for.  So be prepared to register to the Apps Store with your credit card and enjoy!

If you sync with Outlook, it is standard.  Ask Lotus for their solution for Notes.  It is available for purchase.

The more adventurous will go for jailbreaking but be forewarned of the dangers!

If you don’t know which to buy, this is a natural choice.  The camera is not fantastic but is very useable.

Nokia N97 – Symbian

I have not been a fan of Nokia’s devices and this N97 baby has changed my mind.  Functioning like the HTC Touch Pro 2 with a QWERTY keyboard, Nokia has a long way to go to compete with HTC and Apple.

The phone functions are expected to be complete.  However, the lack of apps for S60v5 is quite disappointing.  You will also soon discover that S60v3 apps will mostly not work.  Then there is the case of having to sign these apps.  Some will find it worth their while to get a signing app to overcome the shortcomings.

The N97 can sync with Outlook and Lotus Notes (with PC Suite).  To my horror, the new Ovi Suite dropped Lotus Notes support.  It seems that newer software does not support older functions.  Very strange indeed.

The N97 has a not so great QWERTY keyboard, can’t even compare to the HTC Touch Pro 2.  The layout is not intuitive and quite cumbersome to use.  I’ve since given up and will only use the keyboard when the apps require of me to use it.  Overall, the N97 is not quite that stable and tends to reboot itself occasionally.

It has quite a simple interface and does look quite cool in white.  The 5MP camera with Carl Zeiss is the best in this class but the video camera sucks.

Conclusions

Amongst the few phones I’ve had the pleasure of using on a daily basis for a few weeks each, I believe that the leader of the pack is still the Apple iPhone 3G for a no-brainer decision.

The second will be the HTC Windows Mobile devices, followed by Android phones if you like simple or the Symbian phone if you want familiarity.

The HTC Windows Mobile phones are great for business use and are very rich with business apps.

However, the Apple iPhone combines the best of iPod Touch that will make it an all round entertainment device too.

As for Hero and N97, follow your heart when you are at the shop.  You may not miss them if you don’t have them at this point in time.  They need to grow up first.

Overall, you need to like the phone as each carries their own character that will define your character.

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