Thursday, June 18, 2009
Posted by Jason Dunn in "HTC-based Microsoft Smartphones" @ 10:50 AM
Since I have to ship the HTC Snap [Affiliate] back to Expansys today, I thought I'd do one final video (here's my unboxing and first impressions video). In this video, I talk about the hardware and software on the Snap, focusing on the functioning of the trackball and some of the software that HTC ships on the device. This is the first device I've seen that has had Internet Explorer 6 Mobile on it, which is interesting to use on a phone with a trackball - it definitely speeds things up in terms of navigating. Unfortunately, even with a 528 Mhz CPU and 192 MB of RAM - which is more than the last-generation iPhone had - browsing desktop-formatted Web pages feels slow. Oh Microsoft, why can't you understand the importance of fast mobile browsing?
I didn't talk about the keyboard much in the video, but overall the keyboard seems like it's well-designed...except for the position of the tab key. On pretty much every QWERTY phone keyboard that has ever existed, the "A" key is at the far left - the first key in the row. On the HTC Snap, there's a tab key in front of it. I don't think I've ever needed to use the tab key on my phone before, so I'm baffled as to why HTC would include it. This key also functions as the pound (#) key when combined with a function key press, which is certainly used more often. I think it's something I can get used to, but I find it very curious that HTC would design the keyboard this way. On the plus side, the keys are nice and large - much bigger than the keys on the Samsung Jack. They also have that rubberized coating on them, which gives you a little extra grip when typing.
One of the other things I've noticed since shooting this video is that because HTC used the call end key as the power button, you can't press and hold that button to lock the phone. I've grown accustomed to doing that because nearly every other Windows Mobile smartphone works that way, so it's unfortunate that HTC went that route. After consulting the manual I found that if you press and hold the Home button, you'll get the Quick List, and from there you can lock the phone, or get into the Comm Manager to turn on WiFi, etc.
Now that I know about the press and hold on the Home button, it addresses a few of the problems I mention in the video. It doesn't help with that mis-placed "A" key though - it's a real puzzle why they put a tab key there instead.
Jason Dunn owns and operates Thoughts Media Inc., a company dedicated to creating the best in online communities. He enjoys photography, mobile devices, blogging, digital media content creation/editing, and pretty much all technology. He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his lovely wife, and his sometimes obedient dog.
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