HTC Hero and HTC Desire – smarter phones?

How could you possibly ever consider a mobile phone to be a ‘hero’? Never, I would have said, until I read about the new HTC Hero, which is an ingenious embodiment of three of the most fundamental characteristics anything with ‘heroic’ status transmits – make it mine, stay close, and discover the unexpected.

Standing superiorly aloft from the throng of mobile phones desperately grappling to be technologically innovative and aesthetically desirable, you can be sure to discover the unexpected with the HTC Hero. With a band of widgets available on the home screen, you can conveniently personalize the Hero to match your personality with simplicity and perfection. But it is the multiplicity that this phone offers which really gets the pulse racing, the way that only true heroes can. Embodying a new profile feature, known as ‘Scenes’, the HTC Hero enables users to change the phone’s profile to work in conjunction and reflect a different scene in their life. Weekends away, for example, are made instantly more convenient as the HTC Hero becomes an immediate travel guide, providing information about the weather, local time, and maps. Weekends, of course, were made for chilling out and relaxing, an achievement which is made infinitely easier with the Hero, by enabling users to catch up with friends, amble the afternoon away listening to their favorite tunes, and capture precious memories with HTC footprints.

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Consisting of a multitude of communication channels and applications, the HTC Hero allows its users to stay close to friends and family with an effortlessness and instantaneity many other mobiles neglect. Instead of a sifting through a laborious list of emails, the HTC Hero brings to life a library of emails and attachments which prioritize those of higher important, a catalogue of conversations, and a photo album which provides an instant getaway to Facebook, Flickr and Twitter contacts. And this is just for starters. In short, the HTC Hero takes mobile phone technology to new heights, the same heights only heroes like Superman can reach.

Similarly as impressive, is the HTC Desire. This sleek little handset, like the Hero, comes jam-packed with innovations and sustains a streamlined internet experience. Leap between 100 pre installed apps, exploit Friends Stream, a social network aggregator which delivers updates from different sites, or take advantage of Newstand, a powerful and much needed tool which manages RRS news feeds and filters out any unwanted information. With a 5 megapixel camera and GPS satellite navigation, the HTC Desire, a virtually limitless mobile phone, leaves users desiring nothing.

But perhaps my favorite feature of this extremely multifaceted, multipurpose, and seamless invention, is its ability to mute unwanted ringers by simply flipping the phone upside down – at last putting an end to students red faces when their phone’s untimely ring blasts out across the lecture theatre!

HTC have really pulled out all the stops with these two hot mobile phones, with intuition and innovation the boundaries really are limitless with the HTC Hero and the HTC Desire.

Samsung smartphone takes us to a whole new Galaxy

Samsung have lifted the lid on the latest addition to its family of smartphones, the Galaxy S. Powered by the newest version of Google’s Android operating system, the Galaxy S incorporates a beautifully vibrant 4-inch Super AMOLED screen and a whopping 1GHz application processor to enable HD content. The handset also comes with 16GB of memory; a hefty hard drive for a smartphone but essential if you’re going to store all of the HD content that screen is made for.

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Alongside the Android 2.1, Samsung have added some nice features including some rich augmented reality content and advanced LBS (Location Based Services). Social networkers are also well catered for with the ‘Social Hub’ feature which connects all of a user’s profiles into one place allowing them to enjoy communications with their friends, colleagues, and families whenever they want and wherever they are.

Wireless N networking is accompanied by Bluetooth 3.0 and standard 3G and HSDPA will be on hand for all of your mobile internet access needs. They’re impressive specs and weighing in at just 118 grams the Galaxy S is also light, especially when you consider the hardware it’s packing and the large screen.

The Galaxy S is no slouch in the looks department either. As with all touch screen smartphones it has got a little bit of the iPhone about it, but it’s impossible for anything to look bad with a screen that looks like it belongs on a widescreen TV rather than a phone.

A release date for the Galaxy S hasn’t been announced yet but Samsung have hinted that it’s likely to hit UK shelves soon, so watch this space.

Come As You Are – The Nirvana Smartphone

In a world of increasingly sophisticated and even pointless developments in mobile phone technology (yes I’m looking at you translucent phone) it takes more and more for mobile phone ideas to stand out. The Nirvana phone concept from Citrix, whilst not exactly new, does manage to do this by taking some of the more interesting possibilities of advancements in mobile phone technology and marry them to solid real world usage scenarios.

The Nirvana smartphone, which is still at the concept stage at the moment, harnesses the raw power of the modern smartphone, plugs it into an external monitor, keyboard and mouse and allows the user to experience the joys of low powered net-top computing without having to shell out for an additional net-top.

As a smartphone owner, I love the combination of power and portability that they provide and the ability to scale this up to a desktop experience at certain locations – when hot-desking, in a cafe or at a hotel is appealing. The increase in the number of people working in the cloud using remote desktops, web applications, and the possibilities opened up be emerging web technologies such as HTML5 means thin-client style processor-lite computing is set to challenge the bigger, faster, better! paradigm that has dominated computing up until now.

The current crop of smart phones all have the processing power to be extended into low powered computers and with the next generation already looming around the corner processing power is no longer a major hurdle.

However, a few small things need to be take care of to make the Nirvana phone a reality instead of a tantalisingly close dream. Video out needs work – I wouldn’t really want to work on anything less than 1024*768 and HD out would be ideal. Both current models of Nokia N95 and iPhone have video out – but not at a high enough resolution to be helpful for prolonged work.

Keyboard and mouse support is also a must. Bluetooth is clearly an option. Bluetooth connectivity is possibly on some existing smartphones, and even iPhones if you are willing and able to jailbreak and install the BT stack (which took me well over an hour last time I tried).

A Nirvana docking station, similar to the iPad keyboard accessory, that charges the phone whilst it is on the go and connects to the a mouse and monitor would be ideal – especially if phone companies could put their collective differences aside and settle on a standardised interface. A wireless interface for docking – ala Powerstone charging devices would also be great but pushes the device back into the realms of vapourware.

The Citirix blog throws out a couple of interesting usage scenarios beyond the regular roadwarrior in a café ideas that sprung to my mind (I’m writing this in a café so my imagination is limited.) These usage scenarios include being able to dock your phone to a TV, which would enable simple yet powerful web connectivity, media viewing and video conferencing.

Whilst still a dream at the moment, the good people at Citirix have provided this video to highlight some of the possibilities available.

First Else Smartphone: Something else?

Tech heads have been awaiting the launch of the new First Else Smartphone for months now, and small wonder. If it’s half as good as its makers Else (formerly Emblaze) say it is the iPhone had better watch out.

The biggest selling point is its new linux-based operating system, named Else Intuition. The much vaunted sPlay user interface is designed to be intuitive and allows the user to access all of the phone’s many options with a simple flick of the right thumb.

It is packed with nice touches such as one feature called ‘Silent Interaction’. If you’re busy the phone simply notifies you of the call. You can then ask the caller to decide whether it’s urgent or the kind of thing that can wait until later.

On top of that comes a lorry load of technology: 32 GB of memory, 3G and WiFi, GPS, bluetooth and a five megapixel camera.

In fact to call it a ‘phone’ seems to be something of an under-sell. Else certainly seems to think so. “Imagine a device that is not a phone surrounded by gimmicks you will not use,” says their CEO Amir Kupervas, “where the camera literally replaces your digital camera; you get real-time push email wherever you are on the globe; almost every song and film in the world is one click away; and any one of its multitude of features is reached with no more than one light gesture of your finger.”

Impressive stuff even if the right thumb operation is a little harsh on us lefties. That, though, is a minor complaint. All in all it looks mighty amazing and while it does have a name that only a mother could love, it looks set to become the big hot new gadget of 2010 – or at least it will when Else finally gets it to the market.

As yet there are no firm details about release date or indeed what it will cost. From our point of view that’s never a good sign. But at a rough guess, Else says it will be here in late spring. Until then you can allow yourself a sneak peak at www.firstelse.com.