HTC Legend…..some software stuff

It’s still very early doors with the Legend and I am still working my way through the software, trying to find out if much has changed behind the scenes with some of the stock applications. Those of you in the UK, like me, who had problems getting the HTC Sense weather widget to work will be delighted (and relieved) to know that it now finally works reliably!

On my Hero I used the Gmail software to handle my email stuff as the HTC Mail app wasn’t up to scratch, I could never get any html email for starters plus on top of that it was just a bit buggy. The version on the Legend of Mail is much improved providing as it does html email and several other enhancements. On the bottom of the front list page are 5 tabs for List View, Conversation view which shows threaded emails, if you like, a la Gmail, a favourites view, an unread email view (quite handy to avoid scrolling through big lists to find those annoying unread ones) and then a list that shows all attachments available for downloading or which have already been downloaded. It’s a much better version than on the Hero and I can see myself using this instead of the Gmail app to handle my Gmail email. Tapping and holding on an email brings up a big list of options that should provide enough options for most users. Also available in any screen is the ability to switch between accounts via the drop down arrow in the top left hand corner and the sync button lets you know when the last sync was done. It can all be set up using Exchange too and will also sync contacts and calendars or in my case, I just set it to check for email every 30 mins to save battery life.

The Android Marketplace has had a makeover in Android 2.1 and now has a light theme plus, when you tap on an application to read the details it now provides screenshots of the software…hoorah, catching up with the iTunes AppStore at last. Most of the other functions of earlier versions of Android  store are there too such as search, categories, your own downloaded apps list (makes it easy to re-download previously purchased applications on a new device….hello Apple) and you can view (also just like the AppStore) software by most recently added, top free and top paid. I just think the whole thing looks more professional. Oddly, and rather uselessly, when you access the Menu in Marketplace the only options available are two items that already have their own screen tabs anyway! Nonetheless the ability to access the market on a new Android phone, find a list of all the apps you have purchased and then be able to download them all via the phone is something that makes Android rather splendid.

For Twitter access I was a bit of a Twidroid type of chap on the Hero but for some reason I can’t get it to work on the Legend with a perpetual connection error message, it can download my profile and followers list but then claims there is no internet connection available to download tweets…hmmmphhh. Luckily, one of the strengths of HTC and Android is that the former has developed some staple apps, such as Twitter, which are built right in and available to use from day one. Another bonus is that they are actually rather good. On the Legend you have Peeps for pure Twitter stuff and also FriendsStream which combines your Twitter and Facebook updates under the one roof. the latter sounds like a great idea and it works just fine but I find that my chums on Facebook, which I don’t actually use very much, do a lot of updating and as such tend to monopolise the app, dwarfing Twitter bits. I soon abandoned it but for those who are active on both social applications, it would be a great bit of software.

Peeps is perfectly adequate though for the more casual or less anally retentive Twitter fiend, offering as it does most of what is accepted to be needed in a decent Twitter app…notifications, picture uploading, re-tweeting and all that stuff in a simple to use and clear interface. I’m not bothered anymore about being Twidroid-less. Other HTC apps that some may find useful and which on other platforms you would expect to have to fork out for are their News RSS application (haven’t tried it yet as I use Newsroom which is superb), Stocks for share price monitoring and the free Google podcasting app Listen, which actually needs to be downloaded.

This is the fourth Android phone I’ve used in the last 6 months so I am well used to how they work and getting through the relative myriad of settings options is now not nearly so confusing. Google has tweaked the Settings menus with big icons giving an idea of what to expect within each heading. It’s all pretty comprehensive, certainly compared to the iPhone’s settings anyway and it gives you an inkling of how much more tweakable and configurable Android is compared to the iPhone OS. I’m not convinced though that the more casual and new-to-Android phone user would find it all so simple straight out of the box.

Okay, that’s it for tonight. I must say howver that I do really like the Legend but I sort of knew that I would in advance having really liked the Hero. This is really just a better specced and nicer form-factored  (in my view) update that does everything I had hoped for, it retains the bits that I liked about Android and the Hero and adds some stuff, like a FM Radio, better camera with flash, AMOLED screen, gorgeous aluminum housing and more…it’s almost ideal for me.

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