The last few days I have been using the HTC Hero again. I was thinking about selling it last week but following my less than successful foray back into Symbian land via the Nokia E72 I had a change of heart.
Android is an OS that I find very simple to use and to set up from scratch, particularly if you are a Google user. In that respect it is the same with the Palm Web OS. Upon first firing up the device just enter your Google details and biff ban whizz, all your email, contacts and Calendar stuff just appears. It is that simplicity that puts me off using the likes of Windows Mobile and BlackBerry as you get accustomed to the sheer convenience of being able to keep things up to date on both the desktop and smartphone and the thought of reverting back to having to manually sync things like the latter two becomes less appealing.
My main bug bear with Android is the on screen text entry. I can get by okay with an onscreen keyboard if it is on a par with that on the iPhone but I find the Hero one tricky to use and find myself having to type more slowly in order to maintain the same level of accuracy. If there was a treo shaped Android device on the go now I’d switch to it immediately and would happily trade the screen size for the physical qwerty pad. Still, this thing is quick and I never get any slow downs plus it is super stable.
A year ago I was still using a Treo 680, having just purchased the white one I bought off eBay but a year later I now finally admit I couldn’t go back to it. I think this is partly due to the fact that I have tried plenty of smartphones this year and so many of them have been excellent. I don’t think I could say the same thing about any previous year for a good while. 2009 has been a vintage year for smartphone excellence. The BlackBerry Curve 8900 I had and used for about 3 months was good, a nice svelte shape, superb keyboard, great screen, amazing battery life, fine camera and it had some decent applications too which was not the case when I had previously last used a RIM device back in mid 2007. I feel that RIM has made big strides in the last year or so to make their phones more consumer friendly and will continue to do so next year.
Android has been great this year too. The Hero is one of the best smartphones I have ever used. You have to think that 2010 will be an even bigger year for that platform both in terms of software and hardware as more players try to get a slice of the Android pie. Apps can be a bit flaky, without the fabled Apple dictatorship telling you what can be installed on your device a lot of Android stuff can be very buggy and “force closes” are all the rage. A bit more quality control wouldn’t go amiss.