I’m upgrading and flashing my O2 XDA Diamond (HTC Touch Diamond), in the hope that I get some improvements. I’ve recently been using an Apple iPhone 3G a lot and, although I at first was very impressed with my XDA (see Still a gadget geek from 13.10.2008), I’m now completely sold on the iPhone idea. From the interface to the reliability to the usability to the features list, it is a top-class piece of equipment.
Some things that have been annoying me about the XDA lately:
- Usability. Clicking a button on the screen with fingers is not as precise as a mouse click with a visible cursor. Although HTC have attempted to make big improvements with their TouchFlow 3D addon, the majority of the software on the system is still standard Windows Mobile look-and-feel, with small buttons. This is fine when you’re sitting, using two hands and a stylus, but is useless on the move trying to tap tiny buttons with your finger.
- Responsiveness. Further to the problems with hitting the right pixel on the screen, most interactions take 0.5 to over 1 second (or 2, in extreme cases), for the phone to actually visually respond. This means when you click something, you may have missed it, and have to click again, or you may have hit it right and are waiting for it to load. Either way, I often end up clicking things on the screen before staring at it for what seems like eternity waiting to see what happens.
- Stability. It doesn’t happen often, but from time to time I do have to restart the phone completely when for no apparent reason things just refuse to work properly. This takes a number of minutes before the phone is ready to use normally again.
- Internet connection. This is by far the biggest issue. Building up a 1st-time connection when none exists takes 2-3 times longer than on the iPhone, even with full 3G reception. Often once the connection has apparently been created (visible by the left-right icons on the signal strength meter), I continue to be unable to load pages in the browser. And often I get the 1st 2-3 minutes of surfing, then nothing can be loaded anymore, even though the phone displays all as being well with the connection. More often than not I have to completely close and restart the browser, and end and restart the data connection, in the hope that I can finally surf the web. This wastes 2-3 minutes. Pretty tiresome if you end up having to do it so often when just wanting to Google something quickly. Sometimes a full restart of the phone is required.
I’m currently in the process of upgrading and flashing my ROM and radio modules (they handle the GSM connection, GPS, etc. and also the camera). After that I’m going to try out Windows Mobile 6.5. I’m probably not licensed to do this, but neither o2 nor Microsoft have released any updates for a phone which clearly has a lot of problems. It has also succeeded in my saying “Never Again” to Windows Mobile and HTC (I previously had an XDA “Blue Angel” and was pretty happy with it at the time (2006); very little innovation has taken place since then).
Let’s see whether unofficial software cooked by private developers can give me some customer satisfaction.