Recently I acquired an HTC Desire, when seems to be the de-facto Android phone of the moment__. Generally, I love this phone - I wrote part of this blog post on it, and the quality of the hardware is frankly astonishing. Irritatingly, one can’t help but feel a little smug comparing it to the iPhone. However, I don’t want to become yet another mindless gushing fan. So instead of raving about it, I thought I’d provide some provide some constructive criticism on the aspects of the phone I don’t like so much:
The battery and power management needs some work. Like all smartphones, the Desire has plenty of battery-sucking components, such as GPS and WiFi. I spend more time than I should really have to turning these off and on manually to conserve power. For example, Google Maps should be able to turn the GPS on by itself, rather than rely on me to do it. Most software based solutions, such as Locale, JuiceDefender, and so on, simply don’t work reliably enough (for example, mobile data connections frequently won’t turn off or on): it’s obvious that Android isn’t exposing enough APIs and these applications therefore have to rely on hacks. Better built-in power management would be welcome.
The volume switch is really annoying. In theory, it’s nice to have a hardware control. But I find myself hitting it accidentally when holding the phone, and reducing the ring volume down to vibrate. Sometimes I don’t even notice. I’d prefer to see a soft volume control, less easy to hit accidentally.
The openness of the platform is in question. I can install whatever applications I want. However, I still have firmware on the phone that’s been mangled by both HTC and (in my case) Orange. The HTC modifications are fairly nice, but the pre-installed Orange applications are just irritating, and cannot be removed easily. Orange has a bad habit of mangling phones they ship; presumably they think they need to do this to ‘differentiate’ themselves. Worse still, it turns out one can’t simply ‘reinstall’ the firmware: the closest process is to root the phone - an awkward and unsupported process I’ve yet to be brave enough to attempt.
Many of the pre-installed widgets are far too large (witness the SMS widget, which consumes an entire screen), with a lot of unnecessary chrome.
The Music app is a bit flaky and crashes once or twice a day.