HTC Desire Review – Part 7 – Applications

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HTC Desire Review - Applications

We’ve already seen the powerful telephony, multimedia and camera features of HTC Desire. Now lets have a look at the connectivity features and some of the applications comes with HTC Desire. Part of this article also contains numerous performance and battery tips to make your HTC Desire more useful and snappy.

Lets see what makes HTC Desire a useful device for your everyday needs.

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Connectivity

  • Desire offers USB v2.0 connectivity via a microUSB port, Bluetooth v2.1 (including transfers) with A2DP support and Wi-Fi.
  • HTC Desire is equipped with quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE securing worldwide roaming capabilities and dual-band (900/2100 MHz) 3G with HSDPA. The HSDPA is performs at 7.2Mbps and the HSUPA can reach up to 2Mbps.
  • Internet tethering is also available via the microUSB port and it’s really easy to activate. Just select tethering when the handset prompts you to select how to connect to your computer and that’s it.
    HTC Desire - Internet Sharing
  • HTC have also kept in mind about the people without a data plan and allow you to explicitly forbid the handset to access the mobile network for data.
  • The built-in microSD card slot can also be used as a data transfer tool (like a card-reader) with some pretty impressive speed.

Powerful and Effective Web Browser

HTC Desire - Preview of RuhaniRabin.com

  • The address bar is locked at the top of the page and when you scroll down it hides itself for more screen space. You don’t need to scroll to the top every time you want to insert a new address. Simply press the menu button and the address bar will be there for you.
  • Android platform always offers great web browsing skills. Now with 2.1 things are even sweeter with the intuitive user interface even more polished and the functionality reaching new heights.
    Browser Bookmarks
  • The user interface is pretty much minimalistic at first sight. With pinch-zooming enabled you don’t even need the zoom buttons which I have seen on most other Android devices.
  • HTC Desire browser also comes with double tap zooming and text reflow. Which make it extremely easy to read even longer texts on the phone display.
    HTC Desire - Browser Text Flow
  • The minimalist UI is still pretty powerful. Hit the menu key and six keys pops up. You can open a new tab, switch tabs, refresh the page, go forward, open bookmarks and so on. The last button extends even more options (text copying, find on page, etc.).
    Browser "More" Menu
  • Even more, HTC Desire has Flash support in its web browser. Its performance is much better than the Legend. Sadly it is not perfect and you can expect it to run simpler flash animations or games only. Metacafe and Vimeo videos are not working in this version of Flash.
  • Also remember, Android 2.1 browser supports HTML5 and its video tag.

Productivity Applications

The HTC Desire pre-loaded with the usual set of organizing apps. Such as document viewer (which handles office files just fine) and PDF Viewer.

  • The Quickoffice app which supports viewing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, including the Office 2007 versions. If you need to edit documents then you need to get a paid application though.
    HTC Desire Applications - Excel Viewer HTC Desire Applications - Powerpoint Viewer
    HTC Desire Applications - Word Viewer HTC Desire Applications - PDF Reader
  • The Document viewer is integrated with you email application which makes it very useful when you want to view an attachment.
  • The calendar has four different types of view – daily, weekly, monthly and agenda. Adding a new event is quick and easy, and you can also set an alarm to act as a reminder. The calendar can integrate itself to your Google Calendar.
    HTC Desire Applications - Calendar View
  • There is also a nice touch optimized calculator included. It has nice and easy to hit buttons.
    HTC Desire Applications - Calculator
  • The HTC Desire comes with an alarm cl
    ock application. This application allows you to set a lot of alarms, each with its own start time and repeat algorithm.
  • The Desk clock app turns your Desire into a Desktop clock. It displays the current time and date and allows you to switch off the display backlighting to save battery power.
    HTC Desire Applications - Desktop Clock
  • The World clock app allows you to quickly check the time in different time zones. In addition to that the stopwatch and timer apps might come in handy when doing sports.
  • The Stocks application grabs the quotes from Yahoo finance.
    HTC Desire Applications - Stocks

Social Media Applications

  • Facebook and Twitter fans will appreciate the preinstalled Facebook and Peep apps. These allows you to update your profile on the social networks in a snap. Yes I know you could’ve downloaded it by  yourselves but it’s nice that HTC saved you the time and effort.
    HTC Desire Applications - twitter HTC Desire Applications - Facebook
  • HTC Desire is also empowered with an independent YouTube application which performs very well even on a 3G connection. One click upload video is integrated too.
    HTC Desire Applications - YouTube
  • There are tons of Social Media/Network applications available at the Android Marketplace too.

GPS Navigation

HTC Desire Applications - Google Maps HTC Desire Applications - Google Maps Directions

  • The HTC Desire comes with a built-in GPS receiver. It can lock itself to the satellite in just under two minutes without the A-GPS on. Well, that isn’t bad at all.
  • Google Maps is a standard part of the Android package so it does make an appearance on the Desire. Its voice-guided navigation version is not available to the rest of the world (Only in US).
  • Pinch-zooming works like a charm in Google Maps, but you also have the on-screen controls and double-tap zooming.
  • You can plan a route and track your current location.
  • HTC Desire does support the Street View mode in Google Maps but most of the Asian countries won’t be able to make use of it.
  • There are many other navigation applications in Android Marketplace.

Gaming

HTC Desire hardware is well equipped for performance gaming experience. With enough RAM, GPU and 1Ghz processor; gaming in HTC Desire is simply a pleasure. Here is a video with complete 3D gaming experience (Found it at YouTube). Having said that, due to limited user application space you might not be able to install many games at once.

The game “Raging Thunder” make use of all the 3D hardware features, RAM and processor power. As you can see it runs seamlessly with accelerated experience.

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Android Market

HTC Desire Applications - Android Marketplace

  • HTC Desire runs Android 2.1 and the Android Market has quite a lot to offer. With the number of applications growing by the hour, the choice of apps is quite impressive.
  • The Applications and Games sections are divided into multiple categories (e.g. Communication, Entertainment etc.) so you can filter the apps that are relevant to you.
  • Searching is very easy – simply tap the search button, type what you’re looking for. From then on, it’s pretty easy to choose. Each of the app has a rating, a short description by the author, user comments and screenshots.
  • Android market is the one with the largest percentage of free apps across all platforms and thousands apps are waiting approval right now.

Application Storage

Usually Android apps on the Market are generally small (0.5 – 2 MB), not to mention the games are bigger than the usual apps. It’s a bit disappointing that a high-end device like the Desire to have limited internal storage. The Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 comes with 1GB, almost half of it is available to user. HTC could have done somewhat better for the Desire.

The HTC Desire has 512MB ROM. Almost 80% of it is used or reserved for the Android OS. This leaves you with 120MB free space for all your apps and games. The Android OS still doesn’t support installation on memory cards or even extended inbuilt storage (such as the 8/16 GB of the Samsung I9000 Galaxy S, which are listed as internal drive). So you have only 120MB to install what you need.

There is only one workaround for getting apps to install on your memory card and it starts with rooting (hacking) your device. However success is not guaranteed and that could void the warranty of your device too.

When it comes to hacking your Smartphone, don’t do it unless you know what you’re doing and that you have a backup plan.

 

Optimization Tips (including battery life improvement)

  • Disable sync your contacts with Facebook, Twitter and Google contacts. You might save a lot of space by doing so. If you have a lot of contacts in these social networks, syncing them with your address book will make your phonebook too bulky. (You can find these options under “Settings > Accounts & Sync”
  • Calibrate the G-Sensor when your phone started for the first time. Access the options “Settings > Sounds and Display > Scroll down to the very bottom”
  • Turn off your GPS whenever you are not using the GPS feature. This improves the battery life (use the HTC Power Control Widget).
  • Press and hold the menu button for a task switcher screen (such as Alt+tab in windows)
  • Disable animated wallpaper (at the home screen click menu and use a static wallpaper, the options are at “Settings > Personalize” )
  • Check for all your third party application settings to confirm whether they are starting up when the phone is booting. If so, uncheck the option to load that application at system startup.
  • Disable window animations (inside “Settings > Sounds & Display”)
  • Turn Vibrate Notification off: Settings > Sound & display > Un-check Phone Vibrate (inside “Settings > Sounds & Display”).
  • Turn Off Haptic feedback: Settings > Sound & display > Un-check Haptic feedback : Vibrate when pressing soft keys and on certain UI interactions (inside “Settings > Sounds & Display”).
  • Add the “Power Control” widget to your screen. This widget allows you to quickly switch on and off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, Auto Refresh and Screen brightness.
    HTC Desire - Power Control Widget
  • Reduce Screen Timeout Interval: Settings > Sound & display > Screen timeout (default 1 min) > Reduce to less than 1 min (e.g. 30 seconds) can be found under inside “Settings > Sounds & Display”
  • Disable Unnecessary Running services: Settings > Applications > Running Services > Select and Stop any apps that you are not using
  • Customize Data Options of Individual Apps : normally in Setting options of each app. Change intervals / frequency of data pulls or disable background syncing altogether. Specially keep your eyes on Twitter clients, RSS apps and mail.
  • Disable Auto-sync : Settings > Accounts & sync > Un-check Auto-sync
  • Disable Background Data syncing : Settings > Accounts & sync > Un-check Background data. (note: this will improve your battery life a lot but this is also required to be ON when you want to use Android Marketplace)
    Disable Background data
  • The HTC Desire battery life increased over time, at the beginning when you get the phone you might need to charge it more often.
  • You can check your battery level on your HTC Desire. Go to – Settings > About Phone > Battery. That gives you Battery Status, Battery Use, Battery Level, Up time and Awake time. It breaks down battery usage nicely too.
    Battery Status

Well, this is pretty long enough already. Now it is the time for the final verdict with some pros and cons about HTC Desire. Yes, that is the final chapter of this long review. So don’t go anywhere.

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