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HTC Upgrades Desire, Wildfire And Incredible

David Gilbert


HTC Upgrades Desire, Wildfire And Incredible

S must be a very powerful letter. Not only has Samsung used it in its Galaxy line of mobile phones, Google’s latest Nexus model was branded with the letter and now a trio of updated HTC phones get the S treatment.

First up is the Desire S which is the successor to HTC’s very successful Desire, and comes in a new unibody industrial design similar to the HTC Legend design which does away with the front buttons, replaced by the four recognisable capacitive Android buttons. The Desire S has a 3.7in touchscreen and is powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 processor. Also new is the 1.3 megapixel front facing camera to allow for video calls, 768MB of RAM and a 1450mAh battery. The Desire S will also ship with Gingerbread (2.4) when it comes to stores in mid Q2 though we are still awaiting pricing for this updated model.

Next up is the first Incredible model to ship to the UK in the shape of the Incredible S. This 4in beast is the successor to the Droid Incredible which was never launched on this side of the Atlantic. The Incredible S will run Froyo out of the box but HTC told us there would be an OTA update to Gingerbread soon after release. The Incredible S boasts the same 1 GHz processor as the Desire S, an 8 megapixel camera capable of 720p HD video recording, a front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera and an industrial design which HTC described as “inside out.” The Incredible will come with 768MB of RAM, has a screen resolution of 800 x 400 and comes out in early Q2.

Finally in this new S-series is the Wildfire S, following on from the success HTC said it has had with the original Wildfire. HTC has doubled the screen resolution to HVGA from QVGA on its 3.2in display. The Wildfire S will come with Gingerbread right out of the box and will be aimed at the more fun side of the market, HTC told us. The Wildfire S is due on our shelves in late Q2.

We managed to grab a sneaky look at all three of these phones prior to their launch at Mobile World Congress this morning and we were impressed by all of them. The Desire S is a compact handset which felt really nice in the hand with Gingerbread making it seem very snappy indeed. The Incredible S was also very impressive despite only running Froyo but the different “industrial” design did fell nice. The Wildfire S, while nothing spectacular, did benefit from the boost in screen resolution.

We will be hoping to get more hands-on time with all these models in Barcelona and bring you more feedback as we get it.


February 15, 2011, 2:32 pm

That, frankly, is very disappointing. I have an original Desire, which I still think is a great phone. My contract ends later this year, and I really wanted to stay with HTC. However, my big gripe with the Desire is the poor battery life and limited internal memory. This upgrade does up the memory, but includes only 50 mAH more of battery power, which is an improvement of just 3.5%! I can't believe the phone is going to be that much more power efficient, as the processor is only a minor upgrade too. Where's the dual core love, HTC?

Do you think HTC will be announcing more phones, or am I going to have to look elsewhere?

David Gilbert

February 15, 2011, 3:00 pm

@Bluepork I was at a pre-MWC briefing with HTC in London last week and these three models, the two Facebook phone and its Flyer tablet were all it said it was going to show at MWC this week.

I two found it surprising that there was no dual core phones from HTC considering just about all the other major player have announced or wil be annoucning these phones. Also there was no NFC support in any of the handsets which was strange....


February 15, 2011, 3:08 pm

I'm with you 100% on that one Bluepork. I grabbed a Desire when it first came out and have been really happy with it. I like HTC and Sense but where as the first Desire was fresh and innovative, it feels like these latest flagship models are just minor upgrades.

Maybe HTC don't see value in producing the highest spec models?


February 15, 2011, 3:29 pm

HTC, I would argue have done the most with Android in their smartphones than any other manufacturer, with their premium construction, Sense UI and Sense.com service, but this is an underwhelming MWC from HTC.

The Desire S and Incredible S are disapointing - I was hoping for a spec similar to the Motorola Atrix with a 3.7" to 4" screen at most with a 300ppi, a dual core processor, the 1980mAh battery, gorilla glass. Imagine that all in a HTC aluminium body with the Sense UI instead of Motorola's plastic construction and buggy Blur.

...and what about an NFC chip?

The Desire S will probably work great, but it doesn't seem that much of an upgrade over the original Desire, and will be overshadowed by other phones.

Despite what Nokia think, there is a way to distinguish yourself in the Android world as HTC did last year with the Desire, and as such (especially given announcements such as the Motorola Atrix), it seems that HTC have missed an oportunity (at least hardware wise) in staying ahead of the Android pack.

So a disapointing MWC, with even the good kit months away from being available.

Looks like the field is open for Apple to come along and lead the pack again, come the next iPhone (not to mention a new iPad, when the rest of the world still hasn't mad an impact in the market with a competing product).

A standout differentiator? I would also expect some sort of Apple partnership with banks/credit card vendors to make the inclusion of NFC useful. Maybe that's what the droid manufactures are waiting for with NFC - for Apple to do their legwork for them.


February 15, 2011, 3:48 pm

I imagine the Desire S will use the newer Snapdragon MSM8255, rather than the Desire's MSM8250. The clock speed may be the same, but the newer chip is manufactured on a 45nm process, rather than the older chip's 65nm. This will bring efficiency benefits, so you can expect a reasonable increase in longevity over the Desire.

HTC have been long-running Qualcomm partners. Currently the only dual-core chips out there are Nvidia's, and it would take quite a leap for HTC to jump on that ship. When Qualcomm start producing dual core chips, HTC will be the first on board.


February 15, 2011, 4:37 pm

Oh, wait. I hadn't even seen this when I made that comment!


Francis Phillips

February 15, 2011, 6:02 pm

I have been buying HTC mobiles exclusievly since 2003 when I got my first Orange SPV. My HTC Hero contract is soon to expire and am very dissapointed with the HTC lineup announced at MWC. Could I be heading off to the Samsung Galaxy S2 which (build quality aside) has much of what HTC should have announced? As most contracts now seem to be 2 years do I want to be buying an HTC phone that is far from cutting edge. If I jump ship will I ever make it back?


February 15, 2011, 7:40 pm

How is it that any phone not sporting a dual core chip is now 'far from cutting edge'? I feel sorry for HTC if this is the kind of perception they have to work against.

The two phones at the top of my wish-list to replace my ageing Hero are the Desire S and Xperia Arc, neither of which feature dual core chips. I rate these handsets because I value build quality and design over the questionable benefits of NFC and a second core, but I'll wait until the reviews are in.

Phil 9

February 15, 2011, 8:12 pm


How can HTC miss the boat so spectacularly? The original Desire has been so successful, it's contributed to placing Android at the very top of the smartphone market, but with this latest line-up I'm sorely unimpressed. There is nothing here that is ground-breaking, really, nothing.

Other manufacturer's are really pushing the envelope and HTC will very quickly fall behind.

Nokia cosying up to Microsoft is an act of desperation, it's clutching at straws. They've rested on their laurels and they're now paying for it. There is just no room in the smartphone sector for this sort of lacklustre evolution. To survive you must continually enhance your product both creatively and technically.

What a shame HTC!


February 15, 2011, 8:53 pm

@Chris i tend to agree with you. Being a tech enthusiast i prefer to have the latest and greatest, but I can't help but thinking that Samsung, LG and Motorola have jumped the gun on the dual core.

Google doesn't even have a dual core optimized mobile OS and have announced no plans to release one within the foreseeable future. And when it comes the current Tegrea 2 mobiles may very well be left with what they have.

It is interesting that the main partner (HTC) and the biggest contributor to Android code (Sony Ericsson) have both stayed with single core phones for Android 2.3.

So far I have heard about 12 hours of battery life on the LG X2... that is pretty sad. But i guess we will know for sure when TR gets some of these beasts in for review.


February 15, 2011, 8:56 pm

It would appear that HTC's tiny R&D budget is catching up with it a bit!

To be honest though, I'm not too bothered. I think dual core devices are a bit too over-hyped and too new. Why should I bother to buy a dual core device when I probably won't notice much difference until the software catches up? Of course I'm happy for others to buy them so that the software *does* catch up! At the moment, though, I have my Desire and I don't see that other phones offer that much more, even with dual core processors.


February 15, 2011, 9:09 pm

I think people are been too quick to judge HTC over these minor upgrades.

Where is the software that will fully utilise dual core/quad core mobile cpu's and gaming cores? Not really here yet. Android has been missing a mainstream video editors for years now. until they come along, with maybe mobile CAD and other possible graphics software that could be useful on a smartphone/superphone, few current software titles will take advantage of it, same argument with games.

Even fewer places use NFC right now. You have to wonder about the potential for criminals to take advantage of this technology in the future if it takes off. NFC will need a lot of time and stores/banks/travel onboard to make use of it. Wait and see feature really that can only read a few tags now.

I think battery life technology seems to be on area that gets neglected with these mobile powerhouses and you have to wonder how long before they realise they cannot push lithium ion much longer and look to longer term solutions like nanocell etc.

This year is going to be transitional in a sense its the beinning of a new era in mobile technology with a lot of new features that could benefit consumers. LG and Motorola may have leapt ahead in stakes, but there is a long road ahead.

You get the impression after doing well last year, HTC are playing the waiting game this time round. Time will tell of this strategy works out in the long run.

Shi An De

February 15, 2011, 9:26 pm

@Bluepork - Sorry to point this out, but there is a contradiction in your post. One of your only 2 issues with the Desire is poor battery life and yet you are complaining that the Desire S is not dual core. Dual core would even further restrict battery life.

I'm with Speedyg2012, Chris and Jesper on this one. So little (if any?) software is available to take advantage of dual core processors and advances in battery technology are not there yet to give dual core phones useful life between charges.

HTC have (arguably) the best build quality and user interface in high end smart phones at the moment other than (for UI) the iPhone. If it ain't broke, why fix it?


February 15, 2011, 9:46 pm


I take your point and also very much appreciate the build quality and the added value that is Sense with which the HTC handsets stand out.

There is an however though, and its that if you were to choose say a Desire S you're likely to be stuck with a 2yr contract with it, which as we've seen is a long time in the smartphone world. Likewise if you got it without a SIM, £400+ (I'm guessing) is a lot to pay for a phone so you'd want good use out of it. Not too fused about NFC as there's little use for it yet, but I would be looking enviously at the Atrix, particularly the 1850mAh battery, and possibly the dual core for multi-tasking duties, during this time.


February 16, 2011, 12:33 am

@Stewart: Fair point, but it could be years before dual core chips achieve widespread developer support and become truly useful. Also, while I accept that to some people battery life is paramount, I'm just not one of them. The current crop of phones are adequate for my needs in this regard.

When the Hero was first reviewed two years ago it was rightly criticised for its lacklustre performance. Back then, Android was crying out for faster hardware, and that hardware finally arrived in the shape of the Cortex-A8 processor. We now have the opposite scenario to what we were stuck with two years ago. Now, the hardware is crying out for more advanced software. This is obviously a better position to be in as having too much power is preferable to having too little.

However, as I'm not too bothered about playing console games, editing video or using my phone as a netbook, my primary requirement is merely that it be capable of running Android with silky smooth, lag free performance, and the Desire S will be capable of that and more for some time to come.

There's one caveat here, though. If Google decides to port a variant of Honeycomb's 'holographic' interface onto smartphones, all bets are off.


February 16, 2011, 2:32 pm

@Shi An De

No contradiction. It's a widely held view on the web that at worst, the battery life of a dual core processor will be no worse than a single core processor when tasked to do the same thing. Dual core processors don't need to use both cores if they don't need to, and generally they will be based on smaller scale components, hence more efficient.

All of the manufacturers of dual core chips claim an increase in power and efficiency. Obviously, these claims have come out of testing in lab conditions, which may not reflect the real world.

Wholeheartedly agree with your last point though.

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