Like many Mobile Phone users in the United Kingdom, I signed up to a long-term monthly subscription contract with a network operator in exchange for a heavily subsidised version of the coolest, latest mobile handset. It’s pretty much a form of Hire Purchase.
For me, in late 2009 I signed a two-year agreement with T-Mobile to pay £25/month+ in exchange for a bundle of cross-network minutes, SMS, MMS and a shiny new HTC HD2.
At the time of it’s release the HD2 was not only the best Windows Mobile 6.5 handset on the market, but one of the best handsets on the market full-stop. With it’s very large 4.3inch display, 1GHz Processor, and strong connectivity features, it was a strong competitor to the iPhone – and back in 2009, most people had never even heard of Android.
This was all *despite* the fact that it was a Windows Mobile 6.5 device. Let me make one thing clear – I’m no WinMo fan-boy. There’s no doubting that Microsoft’s Operating System for Mobile devices, from it’s earliest versions onwards (all of which I’ve had the horror of using) was far from perfect. Clunky, un-intuitive, and ugly – it could be a real chore to work with WinMo.
The HD2 bucked this trend, thanks to HTC who did a bang up job of hiding the majority of WinMo 6.5 with their HTC Sense interface. This is the same sort of interface you’ll see on most HTC devices today – a touch-screen interface that focuses on making most tasks intuitive. You occasionally see a horrible WinMo 6.5 error message or user prompt to remind you that it’s still there, being ugly in the background – but for the most part I love HTC Sense, and lots of other people do too.
Fast forward to 2011, and my contract with T-Mobile is at an end and in exchange for a new long-term contract, I’m now able to pick and choose a shiny new handset to play with! There is so much choice – with latest iPhone, a slew of Android handsets, and even Microsoft have gone a long way to helping us forget earlier versions with the sexy new Windows Phone 7 OS, written from the ground up.
So which one am I going to go for? The answer. None of them – I’m sticking with my HTC HD2.
For me – mobile Operating Systems have come a long way in the past two years, but the HD2 still remains competitive to them all. There is no doubt that the iPhone looks fantastic, and is very intuitive to use. Likewise for the Android, which I’ve tried and is a joy to use. But neither of them add a “killer feature” that I’d trade up my HD2 for.
- My HD2 is *fast*. It’s rare that it crashes or I get frustrated with speed.
- The HD2 has a great high resolution camera, which I use often.
- Battery life isn’t perfect, but I get a full working day out of it and it’s easy to carry a spare battery and swap them over quickly.
- The e-mail interface links with Exchange and GoogleMail (my e-mail hosts of choice) flawlessly.
- It has a strong built-in GPS device, which I use with both my very responsive Sat-Nav and Google Maps.
- It has great connectivity to Social Media, so I find it easy to use Twitter, Facebook and Flickr from the HD2.
- My HD2 has a lot of memory, so I can store and listen to MP3’s on the go.
- It has a built in Wi-Fi Router, which has come in handy more than once for getting laptops and other devices on-line using 3G.
In comparison – After seeing Windows Phone 7 in action at WPC in Washington, DC last year – I had high hopes for it. Whilst I’m not discounting it as a potential choice in the future, everybody I’ve spoken to who is a WinPhone7 user now bemoans the lack of some feature or other that is promised in a future update. I’ll look at it again in a few months time when it’s had chance to catch-up with those updates.
And what of Blackberry? Well, let’s just say that in the same way I no longer use Teletext to get my information anymore – I prefer the Web – I’ve never “got” Blackberry.
Moving swiftly onwards – there is an area where I’m tempted by both Android and iPhone handsets, and that is with 3rd party Apps.
Windows Mobile 6.5 has the Windows Marketplace for Mobile – which is almost (but not quite) a waste of time, with so few Apps for WinMo 6.5 available through it, and missing most of the best compatible Apps you can find out on the web directly.
Apple have a TON of apps available, and Android are fast catching up. My heart does sink every time I see a cool new App and know it’ll *never* be released for WinMo 6.5. But at the moment, all these apps are cool – but they aren’t must have for me.
At the moment…
Windows Mobile 6.5 is pretty much a dead Operating System. The more time goes by, the less 3rd Parties are going to support it – both for new Apps (hardly any of which we see already see!) and for updating existing apps.
So there will come a time in the very near future I will be tempted (or forced) to move from Windows Mobile 6.5 to Android, iPhone or Windows Phone 7 – but it’s not just yet. For now, I’m going to seek out a SIM only deal to save myself quite a few quid each month, and continue to use my HD2 handset.
Are you still using Windows Mobile 6.5? Are you tempted to upgrade, or like me, sticking with WinMo for the moment?
My next blog post will cover the applications that I use on Windows Mobile 6.5 – which if you’re a WinMo 6.5 user, many of which I’m guessing you’ll not have come across before!