Three years ago I suggested that smartphone/OS manufacturers make better use of the available space in the app-switching view by allowing users to add shortcuts.
Well, it seems like Apple was the first to pick up on that idea:
“The King is dead. Long live the King”
So here are we again, comparing the top of the crop from Samsung and HTC. I did similar comparisons of their previous flagships earlier (here and here). Back then Samsung came out on top due to the superior specs, but of course, TouchWiz wasn’t as bloated then as it is today. And that makes all the difference now.
There are only a couple of big, de-facto sites (which shall go unnamed) to visit for Nokia/Symbian related news. The problem though is that they have not only been complacent about Elop’s “mistakes” (if you are willing to give Elop that benefit of the doubt: i.e. that he is simply so stupid/incompetent that he makes one huge mistake after another which, unfortunately but simply by chance, have killed both Symbian and Meego, as opposed to the “mistakes” being deliberate actions…), but those sites have actively supported and constantly rationalized, and they still do, Elop’s actions and his decision to move to Windows Phone 7 while ditching Symbian and Meego, the same platforms they defended fiercely prior to Elop’s 2/11 announcement. At the same time they have attacked any and all of their previously loyal readers who have voiced their disagreement with Elop’s actions, all while bashing Symbian.
The short answer: given that HTC came up short, again, with the RAM in their latest flagship device, the Galaxy S3 is the obvious and easy choice this year as well; just like last year, the One X’s superior display can’t make up for the worse user experience as a consequence of that.
For the long explanation: read yesterday’s post.
If you are into Android then you probably haven’t missed the debate regarding the HTC One X’s odd/poor multitasking implementation: in order to free up RAM HTC decided to close background apps more aggressively in order to make the Sense skin run more smoothly. I’ll give my take on the subject from different, and related, angles that I have posted on my blog earlier.
(And if you think that this matter is no big deal then have a look at this video and judge for yourself if you would be willing/wanting to put up with HTC’s implementation: note that the One X is compared to Windows Phone 7 device, which is notorious for its atrocious multitasking, yet it performs better than the One X!)
Reading the comments when the Galaxy Nexus was released it was evident that lot of people didn’t buy it because of the less than stellar hardware: only 16 GB of memory and no micro-SD slot, the rather poor 5 Mpx camera and an outdated GPU.
But given the obvious interest in having a stock Android ROM, why doesn’t HTC (or any other OEM) sell such a device with, but with solid hardware-specs instead? It seems like an easy task to create a phone with better HW which would attract all those buyers that rejected the G.Nexus. The only advantage the G.Nexus would have then is that it would still be the device that first receives Android updates, but given that HTC would not need to spend any time on skinning the OS with Sense they could themselves provide an update to their phone almost as soon it becomes available to HTC. I am sure many people would be willing to trade a few weeks of waiting for an update, in exchange for having solid HW. I certainly would.
Despite the excellent hardware on the Samsung Galaxy S3 (with that DPI I don’t mind the Pentile-display) I am a little underwhelmed by the S3. Particularly one thing disappointed me after having owned the Galaxy S2: I was hoping for on-screen controls on the S3 (a la the Galaxy Nexus), for three reasons.
I wanted to post about this a couple of months ago when I first read it but I never did, so here it goes anyway, because it’s still relevant.
I wrote about Window Phone 7’s utterly useless implementation of “multitasking”, the reason being, among other things, the arbitrary number of five apps that you can have “running” at the same time instead of the number depending on the available RAM available; running a game such as “Infinity Blade” will inherently use considerably more RAM than a shopping list app, so it simply makes no sense to have that artificial limit of five apps. I thus predicted that the five-app limit would be way too restrictive (and making matters worse is the fact that you have a 3 min timeout before a background app closes on you).
I had the opportunity to play around with the HTC One X today, and the overall it was a mixed experience.
On the plus side: it’s very light and thin, with a [seemingly] thinner bezel than the Galaxy SII has, and the display was drop dead gorgeous, this is definitely the display to beat right now, regardless of platform.
The minuses: I think Sense UI was a very good thing (read: “a necessity”) on Windows Mobile, but on Android it just feels like reinventing the wheel, but not for the better. E.g. I really didn’t care for how the multitasking screen is represented, with the “half-profile” screen shots. But I am very much aware of that this is a very personal thing. What’s worse though was that every time I returned to the home screen I got a “Loading…” animation for about 5 sec. before all the widgets were loaded. Every. Single. Time. Something was obviously amiss, but that only confirms my opinion of Sense UI…
But again, the hardware is excellent, with a real good feel; let’s see Samsung’s response with the Galaxy SIII…