Using a phone regularly for a few weeks allows you to get used to it, not just the good things but also the small or sometimes bigger things that can get on your nerves. After nearly 4 weeks with the HTC Legend it is difficult to find any major gripes with it, certainly not the phone itself in terms of hardware anyway although you can’t say the same for Android. Well, I can’t anyway.
The Android system is open as most people know…in fact it is wide open and some might say it is too open at times. If you listened to some of the pure Android sites, some of whom are turning into rabid fanboys, (Phandroid) you’d be led to believe that such a system is infallible and that any other OS that is not as open is either extremely evil or extremely outdated or even worse, both. Not so sure myself. I can see the advantage on paper sometimes and there is the issue of “openness” meaning that anybody and their 87 year old mum can stick an application on the Android Marketplace but a drawback is that sometimes, the quality of 3rd party software is such that you kind of believe it might actually have been made by someone’s 87 year old mum.
I look at it this way as the bottom line. Apple’s system is very closed yet the quality of 3rd party software that Apple have deigned to allow me to purchase through their draconian and communist style App Store is superior, no make that way superior, to the stuff available via Android’s wonderfully open set up. Some of the apps on my Legend are good and almost on a par with software on other platforms but overall, in my view the Android 3rd party scene, for the apps that I use (and I emphasise the “I” part there), is behind Apple and behind Web OS for quality. Heck, it’s also probably barely better, if at all, than Windows Mobile stuff. Just my opinion. There may be 50 000 plus apps on Android but there is an relatively high percentage of guff there, apps that have nothing in common with the UI or OS except that they there were built on it…if that makes sense. On the iPhone and Palm Pre there is a feeling of uniformity between the device and software and I’m not sure that Android has reached that stage just yet. I’ll give you an example….I have Newsroom RSS reader on both the Pre and the Legend. On the Android version, when you are viewing a feed and then have finished it you have to come out of that feed by going back to the main screen and then open the next feed. On the Web OS version, you can go to the next feed within the current feed without having to go back to the launcher page. A small thing perhaps but it makes using the same software easier on Web OS. On Android, I’m never quite sure after downloading a trial application whether or not it will hog memory, force close, look like it was designed by that 87 year old mum again or generally cause some grief behind the scenes whereas on the iPhone and Pre, I don’t have that same concern.
Anyway, you can’t argue with the quality of the Legend hardware. Nothing has broken so far in terms of buttons or whatever and neither do you get the impression that anything is going to be falling off/out anytime soon either. I still think however it is too easy to turn the device on by accidentally and lightly tapping the power button which was also an annoyance on the Hero with its front facing power button. Plus, the volume up and down buttons are a bit too easy to hit too and I find myself constantly having to adjust them following inadvertent presses mainly because they are quite sensitive, quite large and are placed right where you tend to hold the device with your left hand.
It also annoys me the way that on start up every single application seems to have free rein to launch itself even though some of them, such as Footprints, can’t open because I’ve disabled all that GPS location stuff. It’s a bit sad that a good application task killer is required even on a supposedly cutting edge OS although to be fair, I’ve noticed very little slow down even with all those start up apps running. Still, it would be good, without having to root, to be able to stop software from launching at start up of its own accord. Before I got the Legend I had been back using the iPhone 2G for a few weeks. One thing I have noticed is how much quicker the HTC phone is in comparison. Over the weekend I used the iPhone 2G again for half a day and found myself irritated by delays in apps opening and switching between menus. The Legend is the fastest device I have ever used, which doesn’t necessarily make it the greatest, but certainly makes it very nice to live with. It’s hard to believe that the Desire is supposedly quicker as the Legend is well quick enough for most people’s general useage.
I wrote the above bit about 2 weeks ago. Since then I have moved back to Web OS and my Palm Pre and I’m not sure why really because on the face of it Android is quicker, is going places, has loads of app (most of it pap) being released and the hardware is better. However, I find it all a bit soul-less, which is a silly way to describe it but I can’t think of anything else to describe it. It’s all a bit functional/robotic whereas Web OS is more like a living breathing OS with a personality. I like it, I like the apps, I like the font, I like the colours and with the HP takeover of Palm I like the way I will be able to say “I told you all so” in a few months time.