Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Of Diamonds and Apples

I am now a proud owner of the HTC Touch Diamond. Granted, it doesn't have the prestige, hype or snob factor that seems to go with the Apple iPhone 3G. The Apple iPhone 3G has yet to see land-fall on Singapore's shores. It has gone on sale in the US for some time now. There is report that it will be available on the 26th August 2008 through local Telco, Singtel.

I said 'now' because at one time not too long ago, I just wanted to throw it into the river, any river. I was really disappointed and cursed the 'toywan-zai' for their lack of attention to detail. You see, I bought my Diamond from Singtel just a fews day after it was launched back in June. Within a week, I went back to Singtel for a replacement, and the replacement phone continued to give me problems the original one had - the phone would 'hang' at least once a day and the only way of resetting the phone so that it could take and make calls was to remove the battery and put it back. (Of course, there is the soft reset feature, but I didn't learn about it till much later). The phone's back cover was notoriously difficult to remove, requiring almost superlative human strength and gentleness so that it would come off without shattering it. Sometimes, the phone's battery would drain all its power unexpectedly so that I am left with a useless piece of metal and plastic block when I am expecting an important call. And sometimes, it would take hours to charge. What's more, it is also laggy. Response time during the password sign-in felt as if the phone was half-asleep and the highly touted Touch-Flo, well, sometime didn't quite flow at all. And you may say, the list of grouses continues...until one day, the phone just froze up. I couldn't soft reset it, I couldn't switch it off, so I had to pay the HTC service centre a personal visit.

And the people at the service centre admitted as much, that the firmware in my Diamond wasn't all that well written. The Touch-Flo feature, in particular, was taking up a lot of resources. I was told to disable it, but doing so would take away one of the reasons why I bought it. In any case, it appeared that they had a new firmware, which was duly loaded onto my Diamond. Thereafter, the Diamond looked and worked more like a diamond. Just two days ago, another upgrade to the firmware was made available. I downloaded and flashed my phone once more. The phone is now more responsive than before.

But my problems with the Diamond isn't unique, it appears. Early adopters of the iPhone 3G are reporting problems with it too. One of these is Chris Pirillo of Lockergnome fame. The problem he reports almost exactly mirror the problems I had with my HTC Diamond. So I would recommend that Chris flash his iPhone 3G (if Apple has the improved firmware). All of which goes to show that you shouldn't buy gadgets fresh off the oven, not even Apple's much hyped products. I suppose it pays to wait. But somehow, it is only human to want the latest gadget from Apple. Its the defining quality of this company. Me? I just cannot stomach hype and besides, the Diamond came out just at the time my Telco contract expired, so I got a hefty discount on the phone. All things considered, it is a great phone.

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