Both phones were released and quite a bit of reviews are available in the market. So as always I will provide you with links to some of the best reviews I’ve read on both devices.

This write-up is more about my experience using the two phones.

Much to Desire

The HTC Desire is billed by some as the top of the Android line for the phone maker. It resembles the Google Nexus One phone, and why not? Google commissioned HTC to build the Nexus One.

Physically the Nexus One is smoother and looks a little sleeker than the Desire. The sharp edges on the Desire are not good for your pocket if, like me, you have a tendency to slip your phone into your front pocket. Both phones have the same processor and battery rating.

As a communications device, Google got it right to include built-in noise reduction technology on the Nexus. This is very important since most mobile phone mics pick up literally everything around you, making it often hard to listen to the person speaking. So I wonder why HTC would want to drop this one technology so many other phone makers seem to ignore but is a common concern across all mobile phone users (Nokia, Sony Ericsson, LG, Samsung, Apple, HTC – are you guys listening?).

Anyway, let me go back to the HTC Desire. I observed that the back of the HTC Desire gets very warm very fast if the screen is on. So if you are surfing the Internet on the Desire or watching a movie, chances are you will need to buy a case to wrap the Desire in… Otherwise be prepared to get first degree burns if you hold the phone long enough. The only other phone I’ve ever handled that does this even worst is the Samsung Omnia i800 – in my view one of the worst phones I’ve ever had. I did speculate that the use of a plastic backing meant the Desire had no way to dissipate heat. You really must like what you are doing to keep holding the phone when it’s scorching your hand.

The second and only other, real gripe I have with the Desire is the lack of option to upgrade the OS. Apple may not listen to its customers when developing new products but once you’ve invested in one, Apple lets you upgrade the operating system as and when it becomes available, as long as the hardware supports it. In practical terms this means that you don’t necessarily have to upgrade to the next iteration of the same series unless you have a very compelling reason to – like you got money to burn. In contrast, with HTC to experience Android 2.2, I will have to buy a new phone. And when Android 2.3 (or whatever next iteration after Froyo), I will have to throw away my just recently bought phone to get an OS upgrade.

How stupid is that?

I understand that with the Nexus One, you can upgrade to the next OS.

Ok, I realize this is not a simple matter and may have to do with the proprietary HTC Sense UI that sits on top of the OS. But to be honest I can’t believe vendors are this insensitive to the financial predicament of customers.

Beyond these two showstoppers, the HTC Desire is all it’s hyped up to be… a very desirable phone that leaves you truly addicted to it. The Android is a superb operating system and its burgeoning community of open sourced apps built for the OS emulates what Apple has done with iPhone Apps, without the strings that Apple uses to strangle the iPhone developer community with. Which is strange if you think that the iPhone’s (and iPad) success comes in part to this expanding community of software developers that build application to extend the usefulness of the iPhone.

I’m down to my last few lines for this sort-of review. So before I forget, the HTC Legend is an updated version of the HTC Hero. I suspect HTC was experimenting with the Hero trying out what Apple did with the MacBook Pro, using a single slab of material to enclose the innards. I like the look of the Legend but it felt very slippery to the hand (no gripe) so much so that I had to give it a lot more attention than it should when I was using it. Confused? Sorry about that.

With most other phones, you hold it on one hand, make a call or send an SMS without thinking too much about the physical process of holding the device. This allows you to focus on the message you are trying to convey and the person you are talking to. With the HTC Legend, it felt like you are holding an expensive device that could easily get broke. It’s like taking your boss’ expensive Rolls Royce out of the parking lot. You love the opportunity but are scared shit that you’d scratch the Rolls.

At the same time, it’s a nice glitzy phone that wrapping one of those silicon shells is like the collection of expensive that millionaires buy and then store in lock behind a vault.

A friend suggested I scour the Internet and jailbreak the HTC Legend to upgrade the OS. As for the HTC Sense, it’s a great interface but if I have to turn it off in favor of an OS upgrade, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

IMPORTANT: Sony Ericsson’s Xperia series all use the Android OS. The Xperia mini, for example, runs Android 1.6 with Sony Ericsson’s UXP user interface (much like HTC Sense). In the case of the Xperia series, Sony Ericsson is offering an OS upgrade path for existing customers. If Sony Ericsson can do that, why can’t HTC?
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