updated 11:20 am EDT, Thu October 7, 2010
HTC Sense service active, Desire HD seen in US
HTC today switched on HTCSense.com, its online service for its smartphone owners. The service closely follows the path set by Apple's MobileMe, as embers can locate their phone and remotely wipe it if they suspect it's been stolen or permanently lost. It builds on the formula by using two-way interaction, such as checking messages remotely or using Android 2.2's "intent" support to push mapping directions directly to a phone.
Media downloads are also an option, although the service isn't a store. The service attempts to undercut Apple's through cost and is free to use worldwide, although it currently only works with the Desire HD and Desire Z. The T-Mobile G2 is likely disqualified as it uses stock Android rather than HTC's Sense UI.
As the service was becoming active overnight, Electronista had the opportunity to see the Desire HD make its first real public appearance in the US at the MobileFocus event late Wednesday. The Android flagship still doesn't support US 3G and was seen running on 2G (EDGE) at the show, but we came away largely impressed. It has the same large, vivid 4.3-inch touchscreen as the Evo 4G but is much better constructed: it's a sleek metal body that is much slimmer than the Sprint phone and simply looks more attractive.
The Desire HD also extremely fast. It still uses a 1GHz processor, but it uses the latest generation of Qualcomm's Snapdragon and should significantly outperform its American cousin. We hope HTC can make a deal with a US carrier to bring the international phone overseas, since it could go a long way for those who want an 'ultimate' Android phone.
It's not for everyone, however, and we're not entirely convinced iPhone owners would switch over. The 4.3-inch screen still makes the phone almost comically oversized compared to an Apple device or even Samsung's Galaxy S. We could ee it still fitting in many pockets, but women and anyone else likely to have tight pockets would simply have to pass. Also, those spoiled by the iPhone 4's 960x640 display may have a hard time using 800x480 at a larger resolution. There are benefits, such as easier video viewing and a much larger surface for the on-screen keyboard, but getting to a sharpness near print is hard to match.