HTC Sense and mobile phone user interfaces

My first mobile phone in 2002 was a Nokia 3310. It was a hardy beast and hands down, the most reliable mobile phone I have ever owned. I don’t remember playing the in-built games that much, but its screen was easy to read and the phone was dead simple to use.

I recently bought two Samsung i780’s for friends and upgraded them, after purchase, to Windows Mobile 6.1. I use a Blackberry Bold and have a Apple iPod Touch at home, which is the same UI as the Apple iPhone, which I’ve toyed around with a lot but never had the inclination to buy. I’ve also used the Nokia N series and the Symbian operating system in addition to Nokia’s own OS for its other phones. And for a short time, I also had a Sony Ericsson phone – that I hated enough to forget the model – and a Samsung X820, at one time the world’s thinnest phone.

Each of these phones came with a different operating system and UI, some with more bells and whistles than others. Not a single one of them were as stable as my Nokia 3310. In my experience, the greater the complexity of the OS and features on the phone, the more unreliable and unstable the OS was.

This is one reason I support device agnostic SMS as the best way to send and receive mission critical information – like election monitoring reports from the field. With the exception of apps for the Apple iPod Touch, which ran well, I have not encountered a single J2ME app or app for Symbian that has not at some critical moment just crashed and buggered the phone’s OS to boot.

If only because I know I will not be able to resist buying it, I really hope the recently announced HTC Sense UI in their new Hero phone works as well as it looks.

scaledhero_home_hires_05-05_jun17_2009

On another note though, with my Blackberry Bold, I hardly ever use my laptop when I travel long-haul or when I am in the field in Sri Lanka. Even basic phones today are capable of photo and video recording, some even voice. Phones like this new HTC model blur further the distinction between a mobile phone and features traditionally associated with the PC.

4 Comments on “HTC Sense and mobile phone user interfaces”

  1. Cricket Tragic
    June 25, 2009 at 10:33 pm #

    I’ve read about so many people having had their phones crash…however, none of my fones (Samsung D500, Nokia 6233, Nokia 5320, Samsung U600, Motorola E8 and the Nokia 5800) really crashed as such. Actually, the 6233 did crash once in a while, but it was so infrequent that it was never an annoyance.

    However, I am really disappointed by the UI on my 5800. With such a big screen, I really expected to see some widgets on the home screen. Imagine my surprise when I unbox it and switch it on. The homepage only has some user-defined shortcuts and a shortcut to a search engine!

    Looks like they have rectified it with the N97, hope that they bring some firmware update in order to get widgets on the 5800 as well!

    By the way, Sanjana, do you know where I could get an HTC at a reasonable price (anywhere around 30 – 50?). I haven’t seen one in any shop here! :S

  2. Sanjana Hattotuwa
    June 25, 2009 at 10:45 pm #

    Hi,

    Your experience mirrors mine. Dialog’s stopped selling HTC’s. The few models they have in stock are early HTC models, already discontinued in other markets. I am told that smartphones in Sri Lanka, especially running Windows Mobile, don’t sell well and haven’t found the newer Windows Mobile based smartphones in SL.

    The i780 is a good buy if not for battery life, which is very poor (which is perhaps why Samsung gives two batteries and a spare charger with the phone!). Windows Mobile 6.1 has a good UI, but the wretched thing is still too slow for me and tends to crash. On the plus side, if you use it, Skype on 3G works as well as it does on Wifi on the i780 – not something Symbian based phones can do to date, or Blackberry’s.

    I’ve played around with the N97. It’s an impressive kit, but at its price point, I can’t really see any justification for preferring it over an iPhone or once available, the Hero.

    S

  3. Sanjana Hattotuwa
    June 25, 2009 at 10:46 pm #

    Sorry – meant to say Skype voice on Windows Mobile. The Symbian Skype client only allows chats.

  4. Cricket Tragic
    June 25, 2009 at 11:10 pm #

    Ah, Sanjana, now that is where Nokia always emerges trumps. They have a very good brand name, which has been built through years of reliable products (dating from the Nokia 3310 you mentioned). Therefore, any phone that they release will be super-hyped.

    Yes, I too find it difficult to understand how the top phone of any mobile phone company could only have a 5 MP camera, as an example. I mean, SE and Samsung have already started on 12 MP cam phones.

    Yes, the N86 is set to come with an 8MP, but there aren’t a lot of other impressive features other than the cam.

    Still, it’s just one of the many eccentricities of life. I got myself a 5800 only because it was the cheapest touchscreen out there. Otherwise, I tend to steer clear of Nokia as other companies have better offerings at more competitive prices! :)

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