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HTC Magic on Voda

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Got my first Android device on Friday. I've had a Kaiser previously, and an HTC Wizard before that, so Android's a reasonlably interesting leap of faith for me.

Here's my first thoughts on the HTC Magic and Cupcake....

1. Email. I don't really use gmail directly, so went straight in and set up pop mail. Oh dear. The default mail client is appalling; just simple flaws like re-marking emails as read when a sent/receive is done - how did this get past Google's QA dept? It's actually unusable. Thankfully the k9 branch is much better - anyone using non-gmail email should switch to this. Still has bugs (eg it doesn't handle reply-to addresses properly for lists) but on the whole it's excellent.

2. On-screen keyboard is great; sometimes lags when the device is doing other stuff, but I can mostly type on it as fast as my old Kaiser.

3. Contacts/calendar sync - been trying to get funambol to work but with no success. Will have to play with goosync etch to get my outlook (non-exchange) stuff onto the device.

4. Satnav. I used to used tomtom on my Kaiser and having a replacement on the Magic is essential. Andnav2 has proven to be pretty useless so far - it spends far to long 'refactoring' the journey and kept thinking I was not on the right road. I'll see how it goes but I gather Copilot will be available next year so we'll see. Half the problem is the inherent flaw of having routing not done on the device itself, but perhaps that'll improve.

5. The device is good, and android makes a good fist of being a responsive and smooth OS. No complaints on that front but maybe 5 years with MS's shonky mobile OS has made me see it with rose-tinted glasses. Having said that I've seen the "sorry - app x has been waiting too long, would you like to force close it" dialog too many times.

6. Apps: loads of good ones out there. Market works well although the download bug (where downloading Apps never start) is a pain in the arse. Oh, and google's own Picasa upload App doesn't install due to a package signing problem. Shame on you Google, that's testing 101.

7. The browser is excellent - love the multi-windows and great rendering. The only flaw is that I can't read the mobile FT site because it reverts to the full site (which renders beautifully but is not quite as snappy as the mobile optimised one). Hardly a complaint!

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BTW, if there's a Magic-specific forum I'll move the post there. And if anyone has questions about the Magic I'll answer if I can. :D

But I'll start the bidding by saying that running cupcake, and with the screen and form-factor of the device, I'd say this is one of the first serious competitors to iPhone....

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Not sure about that, but I know a man who could be... I'll get him to drop you a line.

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Okay, here's some things I've found which really suck about the HTC Magic (many of these are just Android):

1. I mentioned the default email client. It's super-sucky.

2. Performance. This can be very up and down. Sometimes the device is super fast, super slick and works like a dream. Sometimes it feels like it's been injected with treacle. I haven't got to the bottom of this yet, it seems it might be related to the browser, particularly with large JS-heavy pages like the mobile gmail and Reader clients. Gears appears to exacerbate this (despite being touted as a speed increase)

3. Downloading files. For some reason, Android won't let me download .exe and .doc files to the device. Now, whilst I'd like to read MS Word files on my Magic, it's not essential. What is essential, however, is the ability to download any damn file I like onto the SD card (so that I can then access it on a PC via the USB cable. I know it's a nice feature for Android to warn me that the .exe or .doc content I'm downloading can't be used on the phone, but why prevent it downloading at all? Anyone know if this can be fixed?

4. One thing I really miss from WinMo is being able to do stuff in the background so I don't have to wait. For example:

- launch browser, point to BBC news

- switch to email client, read email

- switch to browser, read page which has loaded

But this doesn't always work. The browser seems determined to reload the page if I make it front-most when it was previously in the background. This might be JS on the page doing it (it's not consistent) but it's irritating.

I'd also like to be able to completely close the apps that I know I won't be using again. Android makes a good fist of managing processes, but if I absolutely 100% know I won't be using an app (maybe because I missed with my finger and hit the wrong icon) then I should be able to easily exit it and remove it from memory.

5. Cut & Paste. Everyone slates the iPhone for lack of this, but although it's available in Android it's not supported everywhere. Maybe it's just bad app design, but it's frustrating sometimes.

6. Picture viewer (and file management in general). Like WinMo, Android picture viewers that I've found so far take the dumb approach of scanning every image on the SD card and trying to build a thumbnail cache. Great. So I'll just wait 2 hours while my 1200 pictures on my 8GB SD card are indexed, right? Give me a bloody file explorer so I can navigate to the folder which has the 6 files I need, and let me pick them.

Those are the key ones. Most are trivial, and some can be fixed with replacement apps from the market. If anyone has solutions, let me know. :D

Edited by Webreaper

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Hopefully my Magic will be here today!

1. Agreed. I use GMail which is slick, but for any other e-mail accounts, it sucks. K9 mail is meant to be OK tho.

2. I haven't really experienced this on the G1, it's pretty quick, but I don't do heavy web browsing. Try using Opera Mini for a while and see if you have the same issues?

3. DocsToGo will let you view stuff! It is dumb if it blocks filetypes... again, Opera Mini might be a workaround, or one of the other alternative browsers?

4. Sounds like the browser is giving you real issues! :D

5. Yeah, I don't really like the cut and paste experience either, definitely not as slick as WM.

6. Nothing in the Market to serve your purpose?


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K9 is okay, but a) it doesn't use reply-to, which means that particularly for email lists it replies to sender instead of to-list and :lol: it keeps sending messages as multipart, so every email has a text attachment. Neither are killers, but they're annoying. On the upside, it's an active project with builds and fixes every few days, so will probably resolve those quickly.

DocsToGo is a nice idea, but I'm not paying £20 just to open one Word doc a month. I'm surprised Google don't have a free viewer included.

I don't want to use Opera Mini - I've had bad experiences with it before, and would rather just use the native browser. It's just annoying that the folks at Google clearly haven't actually used the devices themselves. Most of the time it's fine, but sometimes the device just slows down...

As for the picture viewer, there's nothing yet, but I'm sure there will be. What I really want is something like Resco's suite of apps - Resco Explorer for Android would be great, and their photo viewing app would be good too.

Mind you, I also want the moon on a stick. :D

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