Category Archives: htc

HTC Windows Phone 8

HTC 8X finally available on Flipkart, 8S nowhere to be found – HTC India’s disastrous WP8 launch

Windows Phone 8 launch in India has been, to be honest,  a disaster. Let’s do a recap: HTC announced Windows Phone 8 devices HTC 8X and 8S for Indian market with pricing  in November and followed up with availability info stating that devices will be available in “Early November“. Early November is long gone and HTC has done a horrible job with the launch of these devices. Before we dive into some of HTC’s mistakes, let’s talk about availability.

HTC 8X is available on Flipkart now, after weeks of “Pre order” -> Coming Soon -> Out of Stock fluctuations, for Rs 35,042 with delivery in 6-8 days. 8X is only in stock in black color and other colors (specifically blue) wont be in stock till 3rd week of December. Personally, if I  were planning on grabbing a 8X – I’d wait for a slightly more colorful 8X.

HTC 8X on Flipkart now available

HTC 8X on Flipkart now available

Saholic is also stocking black HTC 8X for 34,149 Rs and it’s the cheapest option available.

What’s the scene with offline stores? It’s a mess. HTC 8X is extremely hard to find. Some retailers are stocking 8X but do not have a working demo model for consumers. Even some of the HTC retail stores aren’t stocking 8X so you can imagine the scale of their disastrous launch. To top it all, their social media account disappeared for 20 odd days – so in this interval, every single query went unanswered. If there was a way to make their launch any worse, I think we could go back to 2011 when they silently launched HD7 and Mozart and I had to search tons of stores to find one device hidden in a cupboard. It’s pathetic. HTC is an email from HTC support could have fixed this but they prefer to be absolutely ignorant of this situation. making a fool out of itself and it’s consumers. We are stuck with HTC 8X in black (which doesn’t do justice to 8X) and 8S is absolutely nowhere to be found and there is no word on when it will be made available. A single tweet, Facebook post or even a mail from HTC support team could fix this mess but they prefer to remain absolutely silent on this. I wouldn’t call it silence, I’d call it pure ignorance.

 This couldn’t get worse for Windows Phone 8 as a platform. Just one WP8 device in market, which itself is hard to find, another announced but is NOT available anywhere after one month of supposed release date and most importantly, no Lumia WP8 in the market. HTC India is repeating the same mistake, they have great devices but they have NO marketing strategy in place. This is exactly what killed HD7 and Mozart in India and I have written about my HTC Mozart initial experience in brief  here.

I know it’s a bit aggressive but from what I have seen in the past month and from incredibly frustrated existing HTC consumers: HTC has poor support service, close to nonexistent social media presence and bare minimum interactivity, clueless PR folks and most importantly no marketing strategy for any WP8 device – so let me filter my entire rant in one line – Do not purchase HTC Windows Phone  8 devices until and unless HTC India clears up what the heck is going on – where are the devices? What’s causing the delay? We need answers. Better yet, let’s just not give our hard earned money to HTC, sounds fair, right?

This is bad for Windows Phone 8 in a country where Samsung has completely dominated the market. Microsoft should step up and guide HTC India and most importantly, Nokia should get their Lumia WP8 out in market. Lumia WP8 devices missed Diwali season and are probably going to miss out Christmas – New Year as well from the looks of it. As a Windows Phone 8 potential customer, I am disappointed to see such poor show from OEMs.

HTC Windows Phone 8

HTC announces pricing for 8X and 8S in India: priced sensibly at Rs 35,000 and Rs 19,260 respectively

This week, HTC announced 8X and 8S for Indian market and stated their availability couple of days back as early November, in fact they teased a “coming next week” post for their Winter Collection and from their post today on Facebook 8X (along with HTC One X+ ) are the Winter Collection devices so we can see them available in market as early as next week. HTC India however surprised us with pricing today. Not only did they surprise us with the time of pricing but also the way they have priced the devices. HTC was the first company in India to bring out Windows Phone 7 devices, it was initially sent to all Microsoft India employees, and some unlucky ones (like yours truly) had to pay for HTC Mozart (mostly because HD7 the only other phone was too big). They priced the phone at utmost ridiculous pricing and this trend was followed by Nokia which I firmly believe is one of the reason why Windows Phone 7 didn’t do so well in India. Enough blabbering, back to the point.

HTC India has announced 8X for Rupees 35,023 and 8S for Rs 19,260. Both the phones are aptly priced in my opinion however I would like to point out that 8S pricing by HTC is going to be an incredible sales booster. This is very aggressive and that is how exactly they should have been from the very beginning. The phones will be up for purchase next week. 

Do you think now Nokia will price 820 at similar pricing as 8S and give it a competition or price it at a slightly premium 25k and price 920 at 40k and face similar fate as Windows Phone 7? We’ll find out really soon!

More info at FoneArena

HTC to announce its Windows Phone 8 offering in September 2012

September this year is an exciting month. We have been expecting next-gen Windows Phone devices to be unveiled on Nokia World at the very beginning of the month. But now according to WPDang’s sources, HTC will be announcing its Windows Phone 8 devices in the same month. The event will happen in the 3rd week of September, according to WPDang, in either London or New York City. There is no final word on the location so far. But NYC is the more likely choice, because the US market means a lot to HTC.

If earlier rumors still stand, HTC will be announcing three devices in the first wave:

  • Rio: 4″ WVGA screen, 5MP camera (capable of 720P video capture), 512MB of RAM, and Qualcomm MSM8227 processor.
  • Accord: 4.3″ 720P screen (Super LCD 2), 8MP camera (capable of 1080P video capture), 1GB of RAM, Qualcomm MSM8260A processor, plus NFC support.
  • Zenith: 4.7″ 720P screen (Super LCD 2), otherwise quite close to the Accord in specifications, except for being powered by a mysterious quadcore processor from Qualcomm.

WPDang speculates that Rio and Accord will be shipped to retailers in October, and Zenith will wait a bit until Q4 2012.

Source: WPDang

Windows Phone Tango

HTC HD7 and Mozart users receive Tango update in India, Lumia 800 users still waiting for official Tango update

Let me be real honest with you, I didn’t expect my good ol’ HTC Mozart to receive Tango update before Lumia 800 (and you thought Nokia cares more about Windows Phone than HTC, right?). So a couple of HD7 users reported Tango update yesterday and my Mozart received the official Tango update as well. So what’s new in the update (You will get two update: 8112 followed by 8773. 8112 IS tango while 8773 is the latest Tango version):

  • MMS update. Now you can attach multiple images, videos, ringtones and audio notes in your text messages
  • SIM card related changes. Now you can export phone contacts to SIM (finally) and selectively add SIM contacts to phone (Thank you!)
  • Noticeable Performance imporvement and many other undocumented improvements

I’d like to point out that none of these updates have delivered Internet Sharing feature to my Mozart while HD7 users got it nearly 6 months back via a firmware update.

Regarding Lumia 800 update in India, as you can see from Nokia update availability - Lumia 800 Tango update is still awaiting approval. The update is said to arrive next month and will bring internet sharing to Lumia 800 handsets.

 

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HTC Windows Phone roadmap leaked, may one up the competition

For anyone whose followed my twitter (@domineus), you would’ve noticed that for a period of time, I used the HTC One series of Android devices (specifically the One S and One X). In spite of some issues that were reported on both devices, the One series was aesthetically pleasing, had a great camera, and overall provided a great user experience. But in my use, I kept wishing that Windows Phone could have the One series in some fashion. That wish may come true if the recent rumors from the people at the verge are true. Windows Phone will get similar hardware that powers the One series of devices.

On the low end of things, the HTC Rio is expected to have a 4.0 inch WVGA display, a 5-megapixel camera with 720p, and fauxg (or the standard 14.4 Mbps HSPA) all powered by the MSM8227 Snapdragon S4 plus. Next comes the HTC Accord, which shares some striking similarities to the HTC One S with a 4.3 inch display, 8-megapixel camera with 1080p video, and 42Mbps (4G). Unlike the HTC One S, the HTC Accord will trade the Amoled display and the 960×540 resolution with 720p and Super LCD2 with 1 GB of RAM with a better dual core processor apart of the Snapdragon S4 Plus line. Finally, the top tiered device in the HTC Zenith will pack a 4.7 inch 720p Super LCD2 with 8-megapixel camera, 42Mbps HSPA+, and a quadcore processor (if the phone is familiar to the HTC One X, well it does). The devices will be shipping this year with the Rio and Accord landing in October and the Zenith launching in the fourth quarter of this year.

For a moment, let’s consider this. On the one hand, I hate it when a company hot dogs a device because it looks so similar, it looks like a rehash. The message it gives users is that it’s a rehash why buy from them? Frankly, the rehash cuts down on production costs and saves the company resources that should be given to the consumer (in theory) while maintaining a quick release schedule. Try as you might, it’s difficult to consider any OEM that hasn’t rehashed a design ad nauseum on Windows Phone (including Nokia). That said, I am loving that one of my secret wishes for Windows Phone came true and it leaves me far more excited knowing HTC is pulling out some big guns.

Now how about a 16 megapixel Zenith?

source: the verge

htc_titan_ii

HTC Titan II owners – is yours overheating?

The HTC Titan II, the second LTE device released on AT&T with the Nokia Lumia 900, is an incredible device with its massive 16 mp camera and 4.7 in. super LCD display. But does the Titan II suffer from issues like it’s brother in the HTC Titan I? Maybe

Over at reddit, tonyg623 noticed some overheating issues in the Titan II:

Hi all,
I really didn’t see any news articles about this issue,so figured I’d post about my experience.
I ended up getting a Titan ii last week. The phone is great and I really am enjoying it..
However, I was playing with it last night and it shut off out of no where. I think I was just on the home screen. After it shut off the phone got burning hot and then decided to not turn back on. There’s no way that the battery is dead because I just took it off the charger.

I can report some similar experiences of overheating both with the Titan II and the HTC One S. Is anyone else with a Titan II having some strange overheating issues? Let us know!

source: reddit

sciant_tommyinc_finland1

Weigh in – To Customize or Not to Customize

A question that many of us never considered when Microsoft announced its Windows Phone 7 platform a little over 2 years ago at MWC. As Joe Belfiore commented, the Windows Phone experience should be unified in that a user will know when they’re using a Windows Phone device. And with that bold announcement, Microsoft made a change that many would consider as machievellian as Apple’s own stance of we [Apple iPhone] will do it ourselves. And of course, the freshman year of Windows Phone wasn’t a success, often with numbers being the main question to curious bloggers of Microsoft’s performance. And yet, the numbers that some do have show the computer giant losing the little global market share it once had. Since then, there have been a lot of different changes, both in the overall mobile landscape, and with Windows Phone.

Windows Phone is seeking several different ways to permeate the user space in its sophomore year. Unlike its initial launch that was relatively quiet, Microsoft spent money not only informing users about Windows Phone Mango and Tango, but also giving OEMs [Original Equipment Manufacturers] namely HTC, Samsung, Nokia, and Toshiba-Fujitsu money to go nuts in terms of advertising. In addition, Microsoft launched several different campaigns across the United States, Europe, and several other countries to kick off Windows Phone in a unique way. New York saw a massive display of a Windows Phone (mimicking the massive HTC Titan) and Deadmau 5 also hosted a live concert (streaming for the interwebs) to evangelize Windows Phone. Other places got parties, and were given incentives to make people spread the word of Windows Phone. With Microsoft’s special friend, Nokia, comes a new wave of advertisement and new range of Windows Phone devices to reach different segments of the world. So, with all of that said, you’d expect the leverage, the money spent, and of course the various range of devices for Microsoft to have a completely great year. Not exactly…

If there were any numbers to be given, it is that the advertising, the Nokia partnership, and a myriad of other strategies are working in Microsoft’s detriment. In fact, as stated before by Tomi Ahonen and others the Lumia brainchild has been somewhat a disaster globally with around 600,000 units being sold in the six week period before the end of 2011. Combined with January’s number, Nokia reported that at least 1.2 million Lumia devices were sold. Of course prior to that report, UK especially was giving away the Lumia 800 for a forty day try before you buy campaign to move units and increase market share. And if it were localized to one region, the UK, that typically doesn’t move as many Nokia smart phones as say Germany, then that would be the end of it. But a similar story can be told in every region that the Lumia line of devices have sold. A pretty strong start for a few weeks, and the strong start declines sharply leading to the status quo of the global market share of the single digits. In addition, with America weighing in with a quarter and a half of Windows Phone smart phone usage, the global market share and region market numbers don’t surpass 15% (and that is being extremely generous).

If this was the only issue, then I’d personally be satisfied, because it means that while carriers and resellers aren’t pushing Windows Phone, the general consensus is positive. Let me back track for a moment and indicate that in order for a platform to be successful, there are a few components: developers, users, carriers/resellers, and OEMs. Granted, if you tick off a few carriers/resellers, that’s okay. It also means that developers, OEMs, and generally users are happy with Windows Phone. And for a while, I thought that at least OEMs, users, and developers are happy with Windows Phone and the general experience. Not exactly

The digitimes report regarding OEM dissatisfaction isn’t the first time I’ve heard that OEMs aren’t too happy with Microsoft. In fact, it all began with the Nokia acquisition. The sour tag that Nokia used of being the first true Windows Phone made a lot of other OEMs quite angry for a variety of different reasons. The first is that the main OEMs that have stood by Windows Mobile also stood by Windows Phone (HTC and Samsung specifically) despite the standardized experience that Windows Phone achieved with fervent hardware chassis requirements. For a full year, HTC and Samsung supported a platform, invested research and development, promoted product, and still kept churning out devices for Windows Phones. It doesn’t take a village idiot to realize you [Microsoft] dun goofed.

Of course, if that was the only thing to tick off OEMs, a few words, some revenue and a few other odds and ends would smooth things over. Not exactly. From there, Microsoft gave Nokia a bit more freedom than the longest standing OEMs (again HTC and Samsung) to customize the Windows Phone experience. While Nokia declined to change the metro ui, it begs to wonder why wasn’t the same offer extended to HTC and Samsung? Thoughts such as the above were kept mum, but the chorus of OEMs being displeased got louder and louder and from different people. Charlie Kindel also indicated dissatisfaction brewing with Windows Phone and satisfaction with the competition. At that point, it was simple: OEMs are pissed and rightfully so.

Recall that there are several different keys that can make or break an operating system and Microsoft has essentially upset one of the key factors. But again, that’s okay right because now Microsoft has Nokia, do you need another OEM? Well, yes! In terms of smart phone hierarchy, the OEM has a drastic role in determining whether a device sells or whether a device fails. By undercutting two very strong OEMs that have made gold on the Android platform, there’s no way that could have a detrimental effect on whether a device sells in terms of seller/reseller channels right? Not exactly.

The following may come as a shock to some, but to others, this is preaching to the choir. Are you ready? Carriers like fragmentation! Users don’t. In fact, if one were to analyze the Android way of doing things, a bevy of users will support a stock Android experience, in almost a cult-like burn the infidel for not agreeing sort of way. However, as Motorola amazingly argues, the carriers/resellers like it:

“Verizon and AT&T don’t want seven stock [Ice Cream Sandwich] devices on their shelves,” he said. “The vast majority of the changes we make to the OS are to meet the requirements that carriers have.”information weekly

Before tackling this issue of fragmentation [differentiation], there is a lot that has to be said about fragmentation. First, fragmentation is (or rather, has) already occurred on several platforms. Kindel reminds us that fragmentation is a double-edged sword with both the positive and negative effects of fragmentation. To sum up his thoughts, the positives of fragmentation are from a user, carrier, and OEM standpoint. At its strictest level, Windows Phone saw fragmentation prior to the release of Windows Phone 7 in their test devices. Were those devices exactly the same? No, one had a hardware keyboard, one was a slab in design. Guess, what? Fragmentation! A different experience with the same operating system! The fragmentation line has been further drawn with Mango hardware and even Tango on the fundamental OS level. Fragmentation, whether we like it or not, is here and it is here to stay!

Where fragmentation becomes bad is when a company cannot get control of the fragmented experience. This is what plagued Windows Mobile, led to its ultimately poor numbers and even spear headed Microsoft’s mobile refresh. And while Android is facing the exact same issue, why isn’t it plagued by fragmentation? Because the carriers/resellers love it! It means that different price points can be given to the device, you can sell a crappy handset and a premium handset, and both will sell because they’re flexible. Android is free and open to dominate because of this single solitary fact. And it makes OEMs very very happy. And of course, no one has to realize where that takes a platform – to the coveted top of the mountain. Of all smart phone operating systems is Android – not Apple, not RIM, and certainly not Windows Phone – that is king of the hill.

And yet the irony is that the experience offered on Windows Phone and Apple is better, but ultimately this is something carriers/resellers don’t care for. They don’t care about user satisfaction, they don’t care whether the OS is fundamentally different. At the end of the day is this: can this product be sold? As cathartic as it sounds, the emphasis of user experience and developers while minimizing the role of OEMs and carriers/resellers has led to extremely low global market share and market acceptance.

But why didn’t the same strategy work for Apple? Apple changed the game, and despite changing the game, only one major carrier in America gave Apple the time of day and that was AT&T. And it worked for AT&T, and it gave the company virtually millions overnight. Essentially, carrier/resellers do NOT want another Apple. One is enough. But with the radical changes Windows Phone made that minimized (angered) OEMs and carriers/resellers, what is left? An operating system with a great experience, that isn’t moving mass units. Sadly the only way to move said units is if Microsoft uses its money and forces every single carrier with that cash to push Windows Phone.

Essentially, that is what is happening with the Lumia 900 and the Lumia 900 launch. However, in doing that, aren’t we forgetting about another OEM that is also releasing a device? Absolutely. The HTC Titan II, just like its predecessor, was essentially an underdog that was pitted against the Nokia Lumia 800. But, it really wasn’t just the Titan that was pitted against another OEM. It was also Samsung and their line of Windows Phones. That isn’t to say that competition amongst the same platform doesn’t occur, because it does and a lot. But when a relationship is somewhat strained already previously by Nokia spinsters of the first true Windows Phone, Microsoft putting everything in that horse, and carriers/resellers not selling Windows Phone, it isn’t the best thing to do, considering that those two OEMs single handedly led to Android dominance worldwide.

And yet, we are back at the OEM side of things, which is of course strained if the plethora of digitimes reports are to be taken seriously. So that leads of course to one life altering question for Windows Phone: Why not give HTC and Samsung the same customization status that Nokia has been given? Recall when HTC was given the freedom to roam, we got HTC sense, which improved the Windows Mobile experience whether we like to admit it or not. Granted, the overlay became a memory hog, a battery hog and led to several issues understandably. But it got the job done, and got it done well under optimum conditions. Since the HTC Sense debacle, HTC has gone back to the lab and released a very minimal launcher for current and future Android devices. In fact it has a very low footprint, and the chorus on the new HTC Sense has been overly positive. Why? Because it’s not a memory hog or a battery drain.

What if you allowed OEMs to customize the metro experience and give the OEMs some guidelines for it that wouldn’t allow OEMs to totally take it over? Making a memory requirement, allowing OEMs to embrace the Metro UI guidelines and keeping it low on memory consumption and not an exhaustive battery drain? The simple suggestion would not only probably make some key OEMs happy, but give the OEMs some incentive for carriers/resellers to sell product.

Is that going to happen? I doubt it, but I’ve been wrong before. But on a personal level, I’d like for me to be wrong and see some minute levels of customization on Windows Phone. It means that Microsoft is keeping their OEMs happy which can only help them in the long run. And this is why Android is top dog – they keep OEMs and carrier/resellers happy. Maybe it’s time to take a cue from Android’s book. Or rather, I should say, from Windows Mobile’s book.

titan-att-MoreViews-3012

[Exclusive] Antennagate redux on the HTC Titan running Windows Phone?

It is perhaps an open secret that the best windows phone on the market today also suffers from a deficiency in something that is the cellphone’s primary function: making calls.

Many posters on HTC’s support forum about the HTC Titan are complaining about muffled sound issues. Additionally, there was some chatter on WPCentral’s forums and we got some tweets about this as well. A couple of user reviews on The Verge also give a lower score to call quality than average, though it is interesting to note that their official review gave very good marks to call quality.

image
Image: screenshot from HTC Titan support forum complaining about sound quality.

One of the easily overlooked things from the CES announcement for HTC Titan II was the fact that they changed the material of the back of the Titan from metal to what the CNET is calling “a soft touch finish of a lighter grey”. This could be a coating added to an aluminum body, or a different material altogether, we have not been able to determine. Add to this the fact that the HTC Titan was just released in November, why would they announce the successor to the phone this early?

HTC is aware of the problem and has no workarounds or solutions at hand. When I emailed HTC Support about the call quality issue, they responded with the following text:

Dear Sushovan De,

Thank you for taking the time to contact HTC, Sushovan. We are sorry to hear that you are experiencing issues with the sound quality on your Titan. We will gladly assist you with this issue.

We are currently aware of this issue, where your voice sounds muffled to the caller, and we are investigating possible resolutions. At this time, we do not have an ETA as to when this issue will be resolved. To stay on top of updates for any of our devices, keep an eye on our official website and our official social media outlets(Facebook & Twitter). Once we have information regarding an update, it will be posted to these sites first.

We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused, Sushovan, and we appreciate your patience while we work to resolve this important issue for you and other Titan users. As always, we are here to answer any technical questions or concerns you may have between 6am to 1am EDST, 7 days a week for your convenience, or by phone at <number>

While I appreciate the fact that HTC Customer service was frank and prompt in their response, I am suspicious that there might be something fundamentally wrong with the phone.

Well, if you put two and two together, it seems like there is a serious design issue with the HTC Titan. Which is why HTC modified the design of the phone. Which is why they are releasing the successor to the Titan so soon. Which is why they don’t have an immediate answer to this muffled call quality issue.

So to test my theory out, I decided to perform some experiments.

I live in a place where I get about 3 bars of service from AT&T indoors, when the phone is lying on my table. When I grip the phone in my hand, the number of bars drops to 1.

wpsauce-expt

 

And then, the final piece of evidence: the actual calls. This following video has three parts. The first part, which is barely understandable, is me speaking on the Titan, holding the phone up to my ear. There were 3 bars on the phone when I started the call, but it might have deteriorated during the call. The second part is me using a pair of earphones to make the call from the same place as the first once (indoors).  And the third part is me using earphones outdoors, where there is much better signal.

To conclude, this seems strangely reminiscent of the Apple iPhone Antennagate issues. While I absolutely love the metal finish on the back of my phone, it remains a very unsuitable material for the back of a phone.

p.s – Don’t forget to read our HTC Titan review where Malcom noticed the sub par call clarity.

We have contacted HTC and are awaiting their response.

holding the titan

HTC Titan Review

 

With a little bit of confidence, we can make quite a few guesses about the goal of smart phone manufacturers. We feel that many companies are taxed with the intention of creating the perfect smart phone to match user needs. In many cases, a company will choose industry standards and parts to ultimately create a product that sells like hot cakes. But every so often, a mobile company will go against modern conventions and use a part or a sensor that makes people want the smart phone that much faster when it’s announced. And while many would argue that it was Apple that shifted conventional standards with the Apple iPhone, HTC is often said to do something similar. HTC’s method of change is surprisingly what gives the company a unique identity: standardizing large screen devices for a bevy of platforms and making 4.0 inch screens almost an unwritten requirement for the modern smartphone. Yet again, HTC broke convention when announcing the HTC Titan, a Windows Phone with the largest screen Windows has seen to date. Is the screen enough to change the smartphone wars in Microsoft’s favor and claim every bit of market share it desperately needs? Read on to find our thoughts on the HTC Titan.

RUNDOWN
  • $199 on new two year AT&T contract, $549 unlocked, int’l: $650
  • Windows Phone Mango
  • 4.7 in SLCD
  • Rear 8 MP Camera, 1.3 MP FFC
  • 1.5 ghz single core & 1600 mAh battery

Hardware

The Titan is big, but feels oh so sweet
Before jumping into the rest of the hardware provided by the HTC Titan, it is difficult not to mention the elephant in the room. The size of the HTC Titan screen is at 4.70 inches diagonally and is powered by a Super LCD display. Unlike the AMOLED display standardized by Samsung, Super LCD gives more natural colors versus the often saturated coloring AMOLED screens offered by Samsung. Despite the wider array of colors given by the AMOLED display, the screen technology gives lackluster whites. This is where the Super LCD panel shines in creating better whites on Windows Phones. Of course, we can’t help but wonder if Super LCD is weaker in comparison to the bevy of display technologies available.
Another differentiating factor of the HTC Titan is the CPU speed. While Microsoft chassis specifications require each smart phone running the Qualcomm Scorpion CPU, the HTC Titan is clocked at 1.5 gigahertz versus the 1.4 and the first gen 1.0 gigahertz devices available. Powering the HTC Titan is a 1,600 mAh located on the back of the device. Personally, I would’ve loved a bigger battery in the range of 1,750 mAh, but we will get to the reason why later on in the review.

Super LCD gives more natural colors versus the often saturated coloring AMOLED screens offered by Samsung
The HTC Titan is equipped with two cameras. The first camera being a 1.3 MP on the upper right hand side of the screen and a 8 MP camera that can record up to 720P with continuous autofocus The rear camera also offers an F2.2 lens and BSI sensor that promises to give the user high resolution photos and great HD video recording in low lighting conditions. In addition to providing a 8 MP camera on the rear, the HTC Titan also offers dual LED flash versus the single LED flash offered on Samsung devices.
Everything else on the HTC Titan is Windows Phone chassis 1 standards. The standard 3 capacitive Windows buttons are located to the bottom of the device. To the right of the device lies the dedicated camera button and volume rocker. To the left of the device is the micro USB charging port that serves as a way to sync music and videos with Zune. To the top left of the device is the standard 3.5 mm headphone and toward the top right lies the power button. Similar to the HTC HD7, the button is quite recessed taking a bit of effort to power on the device. Often, we found ourselves accidentally powering on the device twice.
Measuring at 131.5 x 70.7 x 9.9 mm and weighing 5.64 oz (160 grams), the HTC Titan would be considered a brick for those considering switching from the Focus S to the Titan or even to the average user. However the device isn’t as much of a brick when it’s held in hand. For some users the device won’t feel ergonomic due to the sheer size of the device. However, in our daily use, we enjoyed the soft metallic edges, the durability of the back panel, and the overall construction of the chassis. Sufficed to say, the device is built like a tank with all materials firm in hand with a little bit of weight to it. Again, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all.

Display

Natural colors plus aging display and dated resolution is not a good mix
While we touched briefly on the display in the hardware portion of the review, the display also demands its own specific area for a variety of reasons. The first reason why the display deserves a category of its own is the display is the selling point of the HTC Titan, period. It’s a massive 4.7 inch display that shocks and awes many people, to the point that some will say the screen is actually too big for a smartphone. On the other hand, many will argue that the screen is too small and demand giving Windows Phone a 5 inch display. To those that demand a bigger screen, that may not be such a good idea right now from HTC for a Windows Phone.
For starters, chassis 1 requires that despite the size of the display, the resolution stays at 800×480 pixels; no way to increase the WVGA resolution. While we loved seeing elements of Windows Phone blown to mind boggling proportions thanks to the 4.7 inch screen, the OS suffered quite a bit. For one thing, icons and fonts looked fuzzy and pixelated. It was mind boggling to use a device with such a massive screen and see the pixilation when reading email, reading on word, or even playing a quick game of Sonic 4 or Let’s Play Golf. The pixilation is a minor gaff for many users because it won’t be noticed. But for those that are transitioning from the iPhone 4/S or any Android device greater than WVGA, the pixilation is there and it is there to stay. It could make a person wonder why purchase a huge screen when the conditions aren’t optimum for a big screen to give the clarity that modern smartphone technology almost demands.
The second issue is the display technology itself. Super LCD was always meant to be a competitor against the AMOLED displays that Samsung and other companies offered on their mobile devices to give comparable colors depth and clarity. The whites are whiter, and the colors give a more warm feeling versus the shocking saturated effect that the AMOLED display provides. The big problem with Super LCD is the fact that companies have moved beyond the AMOLED screen and have gone to Super AMOLED/Plus, IPS displays, and several different types of displays. Comparing the above mentioned screens to Super LCD and you realize in a head to head, Super LCD will lose. On a personal level, the Super LCD does show its age and offers almost an inferior experience in combination with the pixilation of fonts and icons.
And yet, despite pixilation and the somewhat dated display technology, we absolutely loved the screen. The size is too perfect for media or gaming. And even for reading with the pixelated fonts, it was a great experience because icons were so big. So while there are complaints about the technology and the pixel density, we loved the dimensions of the screen and the natural colors of the screens. We also loved that the whites were far brighter than anything Super AMOLED could hope to achieve. While saturation will always go with AMOLED technology, the natural appearance goes to the Super LCD.

Camera

A big improvement, but lags in the competition
Cameras and HTC have a love hate relationship. We are personally reminded of the days of Windows Mobile where the camera wasn’t the best selling point of the device offering lackluster shots in comparison to Samsung or the competition. Even using Android as an operating system, the camera sensors HTC placed in devices were lackluster, until the mytouch 4g slide which included the same camera sensor that the HTC Titan currently has. On a personal level, this makes me feel as if HTC is trying to improve photo quality and give users the best experience regardless of the different scenes where people need to take pictures. So how does the camera fare?
We won’t mince words. If you have the Nokia N8, the camera of the HTC Titan will not ever be on the professional level of the Nokia N8 where all a user has to do is point and shoot. The HTC Titan shots were catch 22. The 8 MP camera performs well in adequate lighting, like most camera phones on the market at 8 MP. Snapping shots on a rainy or sunny fall day in Chicago were simple with the HTC Titan. The quality in natural photos is where the Titan shines in our testing. A major weakness came in macro shots which were less than stellar.

this makes me feel as if HTC is trying to improve photo quality
However, there are two main issues with the camera. The first issue the camera has a little bit of lag from taking a shot and the preview of the shot. It is considerably slower versus first generation devices and all Samsung second generation devices tested. The second problem is the quality of the camera shot. Some photos look good, with others looking cold and lifeless where optimum lighting conditions are achieved. While Microsoft has given users the ability to auto fix photos on the device, the quality of the photo declines drastically. In some cases, a perfect shot becomes a distorted pixelated mess thanks to auto focus, which has never happened on a previous device.
The HTC Titan is also capable of rendering video in 720P HD at 30 FPS with continuous autofocus. The quality of the 720P recording is great, but it is also comparable to the Samsung Focus S, which is amazing. HTC has done a great job in recording, which was a huge weakness at one point for many HTC smartphones. We found that the lens adjusted very well to the lighting conditions on the day of recording our camera sample and kept up with jerky movements while providing excellent video quality.
The take away message here is if you have a DSLR or the Nokia N8, the Titan camera is not a good substitute at all. It is far better than most HTC cameras, but it isn’t the top of the crop when it comes to cameras. Some shots are stellar, with others looking cold and dreary. But the 720P video recording capabilities were great, if not fantastic.

Performance & battery life

The Titan performs well, so so battery life
The HTC Titan is easily the fastest Windows Phone currently on the market in North America. The speed is attributed to the Windows Phone operating system and the chassis 1 hardware that is specifically designed to give users the ultimate experience. But HTC has taken things further with switching from SD based storage to flash based storage making the device even faster. The HTC Titan is also clocked at 1.5 gigahertz, a rarity among Windows Phones which are only clocked at 1.4 gigahertz. Sufficed to say, the performance was fast for everything we threw at the device. From loading games to switching from applications, everything was silky smooth. Not many chugs were attributed to the hardware, but we feel it is necessary that an update of hardware specs wouldn’t be a bad idea either. 512 MB of RAM is too little for some processes and the silky smoothness of the OS is destroyed.
The battery life of the HTC Titan could be better. While the Samsung Focus S and the Samsung Focus Flash gave us almost 2 days of continuous use on a single charge, the HTC Titan will only give users 16 hours on the 1,600 mAh battery. In part, the huge drain of the battery is attributed to the screen. AMOLED displays are far more efficient at power consumption over Super LCD, and we are left wondering why HTC didn’t use a bigger battery to power the Titan. In comparison to the Samsung next gen devices, the Titan feels like a first gen device in the battery life department. It is a step up from the HD7, but not the best in terms of battery. The Titan may require a charge every night at least.

Audio & call quality

Loud rear speakers, but subpar sound in call
The speaker quality of the HTC Titan can be described in one word: LOUD! HTC has went to great lengths to improve the speaker quality of the Titan and it definitely shows. In our testing, we noticed that audio popping was present in Zune, especially when a track ended and another track began. We also noticed that some songs had a distorted sound at the start of some tracks as well. Similarly, the call quality was less than stellar. Callers sounded tinny on the Titan, but that could also be due to AT&T service in the area. Amazingly, callers told me that I sounded extremely clear, even if they sounded like they were in a tunnel on my end.

Final Thoughts

For all of its faults, the Titan is a great Windows Phone
In ancient Greece, it was the Titans that ruled Mount Olympus. However, during the Titanomachy, the Titans were toppled by younger Greek Gods. It is very interesting to recant Grecian ancient history, and we believe HTC has also taken note of Ancient Greek history in the naming of the HTC Titan. While it’s not the first time that HTC has used the Titan name, it surely is the first for Windows Phone. That said, much like the Titans of historical past who were revered for their size and godly stature, the HTC Titan should also be revered for its size, design, and Windows Phone OS under the hood. But we can’t help wonder that despite the hardware, the HTC Titan will still be toppled by its adversaries in the smart phone wars.
One of the main issues with the HTC Titan is the main selling point. For the people that don’t wear their glasses (me), the massive screen is a joy to use when reading and performing normal tasks. However, unlike iOS or even some Android devices which offer higher pixel density, some elegant parts of Windows Phone looks almost comical due to the higher pixel density with the screen size. Some icons, text, and the elements of Windows Phone on the Titan look mediocre and not incredible. I won’t say that it looks cartoon like, but the higher dpi makes for a less than elegant experience.
Other nagging issues that persist in the device include video stuttering persistent in games and intensive tasks almost negates the smoothness and speed offered by the 1.5 gigahertz snapdragon processor. The camera, while using a similar sensor to that of the newest HTC Android devices, still takes mediocre shots when comparing it to the Nokia N8. For some shots, there is a considerable amount of lag between time of the photo being taken and the preview Windows Phone. Finally, while Super LCD gives a less saturated appearance to colors versus AMOLED technology, from the various differing displays offered, Super LCD seems almost dated versus current screen technologies.

the HTC Titan should also be revered for its size & design
And yet, despite the issues and criticisms taken with the HTC Titan, it is a fantastic device. Period. It easily out performs the Samsung Focus S, and is the only device offered by a major manufacturer that seems like a true upgrade. It is definitely hard to part with the device because currently, it is the best Windows Phone device on the market. There’s no question of that. But the question at the end of the day is whether that title will last with Nokia demanding to make a name in the Windows Phone space. For now, the Titan may be the IT phone for large screen enthusiasts

 

Review Score
Design8.0
Display7.5
Camera7.0
Reception7.5
Performance9.0
Battery Life7.0
Final Score7.6

While this is our personal opinion of the device, opinions can and do differ on use of devices. The score is based on an average of the numbers above. Please be reminded that numbers alone should not deter a possible purchase. YMMV

Windows Phone Nokia India

Windows Phone meets Bollywood, HTC promotes Radar at ‘Rockstar’ premier

Microsoft officially launched Windows Phone in India last month, eventhough devices have been available in India for nearly an year now, and they are already in top gear to promote Windows Phone in India, which is one of the most important market for Microsoft and OEMs. HTC India and Microsoft India teamed up to hold launch parties in several cities in India (Delhi, Pune, Bangalore and Mumbai) to promote HTC Radar running Windows Phone 7.5 one the eve of premiere of Rockstar, a bollywood movie, which is a stellar marketing move since Rockstar is attracting a lot of young crowd and this is exactly what their target audience is (hint: not-so-viral-video promoting Iloveyouguys.in). Next sensible move? Television advertisements. Mozart and HD7 never received any sort of marketing push in India, probably why they died a slow death here, but Radar seems to have launched here in India with a different approach, which is surprisngly good for Windows Phone lovers in India. I predict 1 more month left before Windows Phone goes mainstream in India. Why? Nokia, of course. Nobody understands marketing in India better than Nokia.

Head over to Windows Phone India facebook page to check out bollywood fans getting quality time with HTC Radar with complimentary drinks (le sigh!). Oh, talking about quality time – we still haven’t received a review unit, HTC India.