I stopped by a T-Mobile store yesterday to play with the HTC myTouch 3G. HTC myTouch 3G is the US version of HTC magic, HTC’s 2nd gen Android smartphone.
The phone itself feels fairly compact, not as bulky as I thought. Definitely not as bulky as the G1 because the myTouch 3G doesn’t have a physical keyboard. If you’re coming from a non-touch-screen dumb-phone/S60/Windows Mobile, you’ll be amazed by the UI. It uses capacitive touch screen, like the iPhone, thus offers more responsiveness than the likes of resistive touch screens that are commonplace in S60 and Windows Mobile phones. Touch is quite responsive. Having a good touch interface really change the way you interact with the phone. A lot of things become more natural than pressing buttons.
Google maps is awesome. The myTouch 3G has a built-in A-GPS and digital compass. Paired those with Google maps’ street view, and you have a completely new experience. The digital compass will keep track on where you’re facing automatically. All the other apps are standard fare. The music player is just a basic player. The camera doesn’t seem to be that great, but it might be simply because I’m playing with a demo unit.
Like I said, if you’re coming from a non-touch screen phones, or smartphones that are designed to use stylus/using resistive touch screen (S60, Winmo), Android’s UI is surreal. Considering that this is just version 1.5 of the OS, it’s quite an amazing accomplishment. Now, note that I didn’t mention the iPhone.
I don’t have the iPhone, but I’ve been using the iPod Touch since the 1st gen. Let’s face it, Apple nailed the iPhone OS’ UI pretty good. Although the myTouch 3G uses capacitive touch screen, I find the responsiveness to be slightly below my iPod Touch. This is very prevalent when typing on the virtual keyboard. Although the myTouch 3G has auto-correction, which helps a lot, I find myself mistyping letter far too often compared when I’m typing on my iPod Touch. Then there’s multi-touch, which is non-existent on the myTouch 3G. Multi-touch makes the iPhone’s touch UI to feel very natural, like pinching in/out to zoom in/out. I find that the lack of multi-touch makes the Google maps and internet browser apps on the myTouch 3G to be less intuitive. Then there’s the menu button on the myTouch 3G. Really, why do I have to go away from a big touch-screen to press a small button on the bottom to pop up a menu? It detracts me from the whole touch experience. Not cool.
A side note, as far as UI responsivess on a capacitive touch screen, imo the ZuneHD is even better than the iPod Touch, thanks to its nVidia Tegra processor.
So, there’s my quick impression on the myTouch 3G. It has a much better user experience compared to the plethora of dumb-phones/resistive touch smartphones. However, Apple really set the bar pretty high. Good thing is, Android is open source, and you can see how quick it’s improving going from 1.0 to 1.5. With more and more phones coming out using Android, we will see more and more interesting features. Motorola already announced its Android phone, the Cliq, which is focused on social networking. HTC Hero, HTC’s 3rd gen Android phone, will have multi-touch. Once the OS reached 2.0, we may see Sony Ericsson’s xPeria X3 using Android.
At this point in time, a regular consumer will have a better user experience on the iPhone. As far as subsidized price, it’s the same price as the iPhone. iPhone has more memory, but myTouch 3G has microSD slot. The downside of the iPhone in the US is that it’s locked with AT&T, and T-Mobile provides better value in the monthly bill. I do hope, and rooting for Android to be as good, if not better as a platform.