Despite spending the last few years following the mobile scene and trying out lots of different phones the Blackberry has remained somewhat of a mystery to me. On many occasions when taking the train I would go past smart looking business people reading their emails on them while I trying to find a seat and this reinforced the idea in my head of this being a business phone, but it seems teenagers quite like the Blackberry too, a fact which both surprised and intrigued me. To end my ignorance of this brand I have been trying out the Blackberry Torch 9800; a touch screen phone with a slide out keyboard. It is also the most expensive phone I have ever reviewed, weighing in at an eye watering £40 per month on a twenty-four month contract.
Just over a week ago I walked into a mobile phone shop and handed over my own hard earned cash and bought myself an HTC Desire. I'd thought long and hard about what phone to get. The HTC Hero I had on trial last year was great, but had a few problems that put me off. The Desire has addressed these problems though and added more features, so after reading up on it and seeing one in real life I knew this was the phone for me. A few people have been asking about the phone, so I thought I would share some first impressions.
Just before Christmas I had a delivery of a large mysterious black box. There was no obvious way to open it, on the top was engraved “Nokia – connecting people” and on the front a mini usb socket. Also packaged was a USB lead and a card telling me that this was a Nokia “hackerbox” and telling me a web site to visit for clues on how to open it. I managed to connect up the box to my computer and got a terminal session going to “log in” to the box, admittedly I used Google to find out how to get in (as I am not very good at puzzles!). Dramatically, when the right command was issued, the top of the box popped open and a puff of smoke emerged. Inside was a the Nokia N900, a Linux powered mobile phone, accessories, a plastic fox and a nice bit of cake.
Today Samsung announced that they are launching their own smart phone operating system called “Bada” (which is Korean for “ocean” apparently). No Android or Symbian for them, instead they have decided to go their own way with an ambitious new platform all of their own, and it is proprietary too (possibly an odd approach now?). When I heard about Samsung's plans I was curious so I went along to the launch event in London to find out more. There they outlined their vision for the platform and announced a developer competition but curiously did not show us any Bada handsets.
Smartphones are computers that happen to be able to make phone calls, and that leads to some interesting possibilities. I've been trying out the new HTC Hero thanks to the lovely folk at 3MobileBuzz who sent me one to have a look at for a week. The Hero uses Google's open source operating system Android, which is based on Linux and is optimised for smaller devices. HTC mobiles are available on many of the mobile phone networks, and they are not alone in using the Android operating system on certain models, manufacturers such as Motorola have recently joined them. The Hero is 3's first Android device and the model I looked at also has a bundled Spotify subscription (worth £9.99 per month), it currently costs £97.86 upfront with a two year contract that will cost you £35 per month, so this is toward the premium end of their range. Quite a bit of cash to hand over, but what do you get for your money?