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The thoughts, opinions, happenings, and just plain ramblings of a seemingly boring person.

New Mobile: HTC Desire S

HTC Desire SIn what is probably the shortest intervals between new mobile phones since I started using them, and barely a year since I got my last new one, I have a new mobile.

After going up to Bribie earlier this month for a break, my Vodafone based mobile had no access to data at all, and I found myself having to use the Mrs' iPhone to check emails. During the last year on my small Android phone, I have noticed a lot of developers neglecting the small screen size (and associated resolution) in terms of developing apps and features. Plus the older 2.1 version of Android, without built-in tethering etc meant I was pretty reliant on rooting and using these apps.

After using Des' iPhone for the days to check emails and such, the size of it grew on me, and i resigned myself to the fact that I would be getting a (now) regular-sized smart phone. Still, most were too big for my liking, so after a brief inspection I ended up going for the relatively small HTC Desire S at 115mm tall, compared to most other smartphones being 120mm+.

Unfortunately the Desire S is a Telstra exclusive in Australia, and I don't want to go with Telstra so I imported the European/Optus/Vodafone model of it via MobiCity. Funny aside: for those that don't know, most smartphones are made in two models, with one of two 3G sets of frequencies: one for the American market, and in Australia compatible with Telstra's 'NextG' network; and one for largely the rest of the world (including Europe) and compatible with Optus' and Vodafone's 3G networks. Either model will work fine for voice/text on all Australian networks, but high-speed data won't work at all.

In viewing the Telstra model of the phone at a JB Hifi, the saleswoman kept trying to tell me that after unlocking the phone it would work for high-speed data on Optus/Vodafone. Despite me saying that I work in IT and know what i'm talking about, and that it's a manufactured hardware thing that you can't change, she still wouldn't believe me. *sigh* I wonder how many poor people on Optus/Vodafone she's sold handsets to that won't have a proper data connection (and are probably blaming Optus/Vodafone for crappy speeds!).

Anywho, I got the phone and am really loving it so far. I have pretty quickly gotten used to the size of it and the HTC Sense interface. The little things like being able to set different notifications for different applications and built-in quick settings in the notification bar make it great compared to my older phone.

The one thing other than the size that I was expecting to be a pain was solved rather easily. On the SE x10 Mini Pro I loved the physical keyboard and was dreading having to use a touch one. I ended up installing the SwiftKey keyboard on the new phone, and after barely a week I find that I'm not having to type much at all due to SwiftKey's fantastic personalised prediction engine: it learns from what you've previously typed in SMSs, Facebook etc, and usually after typing a few letters (and sometimes none at all) it knows what word you're wanting to type and easily suggests autocompleting it for you. I really can't recommend it enough for Android users.

It was a bit more difficult to root the Desire S compared to the SE phone (due to HTC's largely locked bootloader), but I got there in the end. I've found I haven't really needed the root except for Titanium Backup and to fix the below big issue.

The was one huge annoyance with the phone. There is this weird bug in the currently available version of incoming SMSs being delayed by anywhere from 10 minutes to 2+ hours. Apparently there is a bug in the phones radio software (which controls most external wireless communications), but is fixed in the latest updates which haven't been rolled out to my phone's version yet.

I thus had to quite stressfully manually update the radio version (which always runs the risk of bricking/turning your phone into a calculator) using instructions from the incredibly helpful XDA forums. Thankfully it all went fine, and all is now good with the phone and the SMSs.

So far i'm pretty impressed with the Desire S overall, but I think i will have to get off Vodafone to see the full benefit from it, especially when going up to Bribie.

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