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HTC Launches Affordable Desire Inspired 'Wildfire'

Gordon Kelly

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HTC Launches Affordable Desire Inspired 'Wildfire'

When it isn't suing Apple and paying royalties to Microsoft, HTC tends to make very good phones indeed - as this shows...

Formally announced 24 hours early (we got a preview last week and signed an embargo until Tuesday which a German site helpfully broke) is the 'Wildfire', HTC's attempt to build a more affordable version of the Desire aimed at a wallet conscious/younger audience.

Given this brief there are obvious cuts to the Wildfire when compared directly to its plush older brother: a 3.2 QVGA (non-OLED) capacitive display, slower 528MHz Qualcom MSM7225 chipset and reduced memory (512MB ROM, 384MB RAM). That said, you'll still find a 5MP autofocus camera with LED flash, WiFi, HSDPA, GPS, digital compass, 3.5mm headphone jack, microSD expansion slot and - increasingly standard - microUSB charging. At 106.75 x 60.4 x 11.99mm it is reasonably portable too.

Like the Desire, Wildfire will also feature the latest version of HTC Sense (which now includes Android Marketplace app sharing over Facebook and Twitter) and it is build over Android 2.1. Yes the impending Android 2.2 is said to be up to 450 per cent faster, but Wildfire will support it in time.

Availability in Europe has been pegged as "Q3 2010" which could mean any time from early July to late September, but given HTC's recent punctuality I'd predict it being closer to the former than the latter. If HTC can get the pricing right, expect this to spread like... ...no, I'll not go there.

In related news an early Windows Phone 7 ROM leaked over the weekend and buried deep inside XDA-developers.com has found the HTC 'Mondrian' - a spectastic 4.3in WVGA smartphone with 1.3GHz Snapdragon chipset. The photo below was also extracted from the file 'oemavatar.cab', but it is unknown if this is the Mondrian or a generic shot.

With Windows Phone 7 not due until early Q4 there's likely still some time to wait for anything concrete, but following the stunning Dell Lightning the hardware side appears to be stacking up extremely well.

Links:

HTC

XDA Developers

xenos

May 17, 2010, 6:01 pm

Android is going to be very dominant if this pace keeps up, HTC keep producing some fantastic handsets too. Given the deals available on the Desire I'm not sure you need handsets that are a whole lot cheaper in the UK. See what happens I guess!

Chris

May 17, 2010, 7:00 pm

I don't mind Hero internals, as long as they don't come with Hero performance. That would be two steps forward and three steps back, at any price...

savant

May 17, 2010, 7:15 pm

In the whole series of HTC handsets, why they keep these redundant physical buttons of menu, search, call answer and hang-up? It defies the whole purpose of touch screen virtual buttons.

scotw

May 17, 2010, 7:27 pm

If rumours are to be believed, Gordon is right, v2.2 will bring performance improvements that will make handsets like this perform well. Could be a real hit if the price is right.

Ben 3

May 17, 2010, 7:40 pm

The Desire doesn't have either the App sharing widget (yet)





@savant - they keys are 'Home' 'Menu' 'Back' and 'Search'. Unfortunately Android still needs some of these in places so you can't yet get rid of them. Answer and End calls are on the touchscreen

Chris

May 17, 2010, 8:00 pm

@savant: Some of those buttons are mandated by Android, particularly the menu button. Without that, many functions within apps would be inaccessible, as the interface is designed to use it.





As others have also argued, hard buttons do have a few advantages over virtual buttons. They may not look pretty, but they provide quick access to vital functions without requiring any valuable screen real estate. I'm not saying they're 100% necessary (some Android phones have more buttons than others), but the argument isn't as simple as 'physical = bad, virtual = good'.





I'm betting you're an iPhone user? :)

Malderon

May 17, 2010, 9:23 pm

Bit of a shame the screen isnt OLED, I guess they want a model to sit below the Legend, which is overpriced tbh compared to the desire - but for me the OLED screen is one of the desire's key selling points.

Thomas C

May 17, 2010, 9:44 pm

Android 2.2 is not 450% faster as has been widely reported. Chris DiBona (Open Source Manager)has suggested that perhaps it could be 2X as fast but definitely not 450% faster. You can hear his comments in 'Cranky Geeks' Ep218 (8:30min) http://www.crankygeeks.com/

morsch

May 17, 2010, 10:02 pm

QVGA? As in 320x240?! Wow, this better be really cheap.

xenos

May 18, 2010, 12:22 am

@Thomas C - 450% is for very specific cases, eg. Linpack. Twice as fast is still pretty cool :)

savant

May 18, 2010, 3:27 am

@Ben - I wrote in a rush and thanks for correcting, nonetheless my point was referring to superfluous four physical buttons.





@Chris - regarding menu button, point taken but the rest of the functions are replicative in Android. To me these unnecessary physical buttons are humdrum. Honestly what is the use of centre scroll button when there is responsive touch screen above it!





and you guessed it right, I&#8217m a proud iPhone user even though I don&#8217t like it&#8217s thick bezel.

ffrankmccaffery

May 18, 2010, 8:48 am

@Malderon: Did you miss the bit where it says 'affordable'?

Chris

May 18, 2010, 4:47 pm

@savant: Yeah, that scroll button doesn't add much, but it does add something. You know when you're trying to get an iPhone to accurately move the cursor through text? You hold your finger down, a magnifier pops up, then you move your finger? Well, that's largely unnecessary with Android phones because the trackball (or equivalent) can be used to accurately move the cursor instead. It may even be a bit faster than the iPhone method, but it's a small benefit for sure. I just wanted to point out that the trackball isn't a completely redundant addition, although it probably isn't strictly necessary.





It's a similar story with a few of the common buttons (Search, Call answer/end), but the 'core' buttons (Home, Menu, Back) are an integral part of the Android interface. These buttons often perform functions that aren't replicated on the touchscreen, and they're likely to remain for a long time to come. I think the result is better for it.





@morsch: Crikey, you're right, 320x240 is low. Same as the Tattoo, which shows where HTC are aiming I suppose...

rav

May 19, 2010, 12:12 am

I think even Apple are starting to struggle with the one button. Click once for this, double tap for that, tap and hold for this....





One or two buttons more could really make a difference.

Chris

May 19, 2010, 1:19 am

@ravmania: Agreed. Now that the iPhone is multitasking, one or two extra buttons could simplify things a bit.





I flashed Villain btw, and loving it. Thanks for the advice.

jingyeow

July 22, 2010, 9:14 am

I have the HTC Wildfire, and it makes me wonder why I ever wanted an iPhone.

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