Yesterday on Twitter I mentioned that some devs over on XDA have managed to get hold of a test version of Froyo for the Desire and now made it available to the public – link. I managed to install it without issue, and after trying it out for a full day here’s a review of it!
NOTE: Click any of the images to view in full size
Even though there’s no massive new features, there were a few nice things I found useful:
270 degree rotation – before you could only rotate your phone anti-clockwise to view in landscape. Now you can turn in clockwise and the screen will rotate in that direction too.
App Sharing – this an application which lets you recommend applications that you’ve installed to your friends. It doesn’t actually send the app itself, but a link to the Market where the recipient can download and try the app. I see this is as being a very handy feature for quickly sharing a new app I discover including a download link via Twitter.
WiFi Hotspot – this lets you turn your phone behave like a wireless router. It shares the mobile internet you receive from your network with any wireless device that connects to your phone via WiFi. You can set secuirty on the network so that you don’t get strangers connecting and using up your data allowance. Of course this is only useful if you receive fast mobile internet.
Flashlight – this app lets you use your phone as a torch with varying brightness settings, plus an option to make it flash or set it in SOS mode.
New look messaging application – It now always shows the characters you’ve used and the message number you’re on. Plus there’s a little menu that slides in which quickly lets you attach various things to your message: Photos, Music, Contact card, Calendar event and slideshow.
720p Video Recording – The new ROM now supports video recording at 720p (1280×720) resolution. I tried recording a video on the train and it came out at 16FPS according to VLC. I’m sure the rate varies according to the surrounding conditions though.
A few more things I won’t go into much detail about, and no doubt plenty more things which I’ve missed!
- Talk looks a bit better
- Plurk – additional social networking service which I hear is popular in Asia
- Dedicated shortcut to Videos in the menu
- Recent apps now shows 8 apps, and looks better
Applications to SD Card (A2SD)
I know a lot of people were waiting for this and it is included.
Although it saves the application to the SD card, part of it (the dalvik-cache I’m told) is still stored on the phone memory and as a result you’ll still see your internal memory going down though each app won’t occupy as much space as it did so you can still install a lot more applications. Additionally, when you mount your phone to your computer in Disk Drive mode, your applications are temporarily unavailable until your dismount the phone from your computer – this makes sense considering that the SD card can only be accessed by one thing at the time, if your PC is using it then your phone can’t. On top of that, any widgets that come with an app you’ve installed on your SD card will disappear when you connect as Disk Drive, and you need to restart your phone to restore them.
The workaround is to install essential apps to your phone (it’s very easy to move them between internal and SD memory) and extras to SD. This way your required apps/widgets are still available when you mount your phone. Hopefully HTC will make it so that widgets are refreshed when you unmount the phone.
Verdict – it works. You will save space and be able to install more apps. It does have the downside of being unable to access apps on SD when you connect as Disk Drive but as explained above that can’t be helped – it’s a hardware limitation.
Bear in mind that I already found my Desire really fast. With this new update it does seem a bit faster and quicker to respond. It opens apps a wee bit quicker too. Flicking through homescreens doesn’t lag, and scrolling up and down the pages of applications is very smooth. Tried loading up a couple of games on Snesoid and that seemed VERY responsive too. In the web browser I tried loading up this site and it was the quickest I’ve seen it load up on my phone!
I used the phone a lot more than usual today:
- made quite a few calls varying between 5-25 minutes
- Played Earthworm Jim and F-Zero for an hour
- Read a book on Laputa for an hour
- Connected to mobile internet (no WiFi at work) to browse sites and test browser speed
- Checking 11 email accounts regularly
- Checking Twitter regularly
- Generally playing around with this new ROM
The amount of battery left is a similar amount (22%) to what I used to get on 2.1, but the difference being I used the phone more than normal today. Also bear in mind that being on a train for 2 hours uses more battery because of it constantly losing network due to tunnels and going through rural areas where the phone is trying to find reception. The battery life would be even better if I put it in Airplane mode during the commute or on a weekend when I’m more likely to have a reception.
Remember, Flash 10.1 is an add-on for Froyo, and it also isn’t officially out yet. It’s still in beta. I tried two sites: mochigames (site dedicated to phone optimised Flash games) and BBC iPlayer (you get redirected to the mobile version of the site). For both sites the content loaded up very quickly. The games were very smooth on mochi, and the iPlayer video was played without any skips at good quality. The only downside was that after a couple of minutes and lot of clicking the content did seem to become less responsive to screen-touches.
Something I personally found very useful for quickly viewing websites on my phone. It basically lets you send information from your computer to your phone at the click of a button. For example, I found a site that contains Flash games and wanted to view it on my Desire. All I had to do was click the little button pictured below in Firefox, and the link appeared on the Desire within seconds for me to open and view in the phone’s Internet browser. You can also use it to send image links from your browser, or to send map locations that you have open in Google Maps on your computer.
It works on Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. There’s a bit of setup required but it’s very easy and only takes a couple of minutes – I’ll post up a guide in the near future.
I’m very impressed with this new software update! Considering that it’s just a test version means that the final version will be even better with optimisations and extra tweaks making it smoother and quicker than it already is!
It adds quite a few new features, performs well and I can honestly say that it’s lived up to my expectations. Also, looking at how stable this test version actually is I have to credit HTC for being so quick to get a Sense version of Froyo within a couple of weeks of it’s official release for the Nexus One and hope that the final version isn’t too far off.
Finally, credits go out to udK who got hold of this leaked ROM and made it available for people to download and install!
If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments or via email.
If you want to install this and try for yourself then you’ll need a rooted phone and to follow these instructions
Here’s a review written by spritey of HUKD of his experience with the HTC Desire after using it for 2 full weeks:
A hugely important part of any phone – and while all the bells and whistles are exciting at the beginning.. It’s really how it performs over time.
Well i can tell you know – it’s been fantastic..
It’s never crashed, never slowed down.. It does the exact same job as when i got it 2 weeks ago..
The keyboard is still unbelievable, with the scarily intuitive corrective text being nothing short of a godsend. Lets face it, we all hit the wrong buttons half the time on a touch screen phone.. This almost eliminates that problem.
The general User Interface has just been a pleasure to use, with everything feeling like it’s in the right place.
The thing i’ve also noticed, every friend i’ve shown it to just knows how to use it.. I guess it’s built off the same elements as an iPhone.. You have a similar structure – yet everything goes just that little bit further to create a more substantial experience.. Such as facebook and Email integration into contacts etc.. It just goes that extra mile.
Web Browsing – by far the best phone to do it on..
With the AMOLED screen quality, resolution and general stability / speed of the Android Browser. It’s unbeatable. Text reflow is the stand out – and while they’ve had it since the HTC Touch Diamond.. The other elements hadn’t come upto scratch.. I could not go back to a mobile browser without text reflow, it’s just such a huge benefit. (Text reflow is when you zoom it, the text displays adjusts to fit your screen.. So you are not panning from right to left all day to read an article etc).
App Store – i’ve mentioned it before on here.. When you buy an app, you can simply refund it within 24 hours if you don’t like it.. If you decide to buy it again, you are unable to refund it.. Why on earth are Apple not doing this.. It protects developers by only allowing one refund – and allows me.. The consumer.. To try out all the paid outs i like, without the fear of wasting my money..
I see other phones goimg up going sale on forums, people wanting to trade their 16GB/32GB iPhone 3GS for a HTC Desire.. This is the first time i’ve never been tempted to offer my phone in trade in order to go back to an iPhone, it really has hooked me in that much..
Even if the iPhone match’s this in terms of hardware in the next revision – i think anyone would be insane not to buy the HTC Desire.. From a price point alone, it’s such an obvious choice.
Tomorrow Apple are doing their regular iPhone software conference – showing off 4.0.
This is going to give everyone a pretty clear indication on what to expect from the next iPhone – will that extended functionality be part of the next iteration.. Apple isn’t known for making gigantic leaps with their product line, it only ever happens on occasion. But it’s going to be interesting to see thats for sure .
Cheers spritey for the permission to post this review
Here’s a direct comparison between the iPhone 3GS and Nexus One. Bear in mind that the Nexus is pretty much the same phone as the Desire! Click here for full-size
There’s another great article on here, describing how the Desire is better than the Nexus and the iPhone.
Thanks to bykergrove for both of these
Here’s links to some reviews for the HTC Desire. I’ll keep adding more as I find them so stay tuned!
TECHRADAR REVIEW LINK: (thanks to spritey)
HTC DESIRE NOW NUMBER 1 ON TECHRADAR TOP 15 CURRENT MOBILE PHONE LIST: (thanks to spritey)
Last updated: Friday 2 April 9:44am