Many users stereotypically associate smartphones based on Google Android with the top technological devices that are always in the upper price segment. However, now manufacturers are actively breaking down these perceptions, releasing budget models, which do not lose much of their functionality. HTC Wildfire is a typical sample .
One reason for the interest in Google Android at the earliest stage of its appearance is its openness, because basically this operating system uses the Linux kernel. Nevertheless, in the first commercial samples some components created by Google and not by the community of developers have already appeared. Producers of smartphones are not allowed to use them, of course, and for the installation of the Android operating system on their devices they pay deductions to the American company and therefore it is out of question to talk about a free operating system.
Openness may also be questioned, because for each device its own drivers are created, but in Google Android all of the applications related to the Google services, are present at the expense of a separate and not open source-license. In addition, the manufacturers of smartphones themselves installed their own software into it – touch-shells, clients of web services and etc. All of this improves the functionality of Google Android, but at the same time brings it closer toe the Windows Mobile by the price. For this reason, in case of other equal conditions inexpensive “googlephones” cannot basically exist.
HTC Wildfire continues the series of budget google phones.
After about 9 months of the triumphal procession of Android “on the planet”, most manufacturers have begun to bet on exactly those customers who buy inexpensive smartphones. The result was the announcement of several budget google phones and the realization of one of them – HTC Wildfire.
Since the device is positioned as an inexpensive device based on Android operating system, it is quite obvious that it should be compared with competitive counterparts precisely by price and not by technical specifications. For this reason, admitting, however, that in terms of functionality HTC Legend is the rival of HTC Wildfire, let’s draw parallels with inexpensive smartphones from Acer. Note that loyalty of the users to HTC brand remains quite high, so the device is expected to find its customers even if the price for the budget device is higher than that of competitors.
HTC Wildfire is “the smaller version” of HTC Desire, the flagship device of HTC, which has recently been introduced. Both devices have practically the same appearance – the new device is slightly smaller in height, and in principle, when viewed from a distance the devices can be confused with each other. The case is made of soft-touch-plastic with the inclusion of metal inserts in the middle of the back cover of the device and at the screen edge. The panels do not cause any complaints on quality. Note that the case of the device is made in several colors (apart from the color of wet asphalt (it is officially black) there are cases in white, brown and red colors).
The location of the control elements is on the sides of the device, which is traditional for devices of the manufacturer – on the left side a dual key of sound control, as well as a micro-USB port with uncovered stub are located. The slot for memory card is hidden under the battery cover. At the top end a 3.5 mm jack-plug and the power button are placed.
The screen is in the front panel. Unlike the older models it is made by TFT-technology, but it is capacitive with support of the multitouch management. Technology changes caused the reduction of the price together with the size of the diagonal and the resolution of the screen. Here we find a common 3.2-inch diagonal and QVGA-screen. The latter is a very ambiguous undertaking by HTC. On one hand, to place an image with a resolution of 240x 320 pixels on a 3.2-inch screen means to visually make all the elements larger, as in this case the picture is perceived differently.
On the other hand, QVGA-resolution is not standard for googlephones – it is obvious that there will be some problems connected with the support of software and games that are created under a different resolution (320×480 pixels and higher). Of course, their developers can create special versions for this model, but, as we see, the situation here is exactly the same as that experienced by the owners of HTC Tattoo in the selection of software.
Returning to the technical specifications of the screen, it should be noted that the quality of its performance is still slightly higher than what can be expected from a budget device. The displayed image is quite acceptable for the perception of both indoors and outdoors, the color transmission is standard, the sensitivity (at the top of the screen there is a glass) is high.
Below the screen there is a traditional block of control buttons – four of them are sensory (switching to the desktop, start menu, return back, search), as well as an optical joystick. The implementation of these elements is identical to what we saw in HTC Desire. Thus the joystick of HTC Wildfire is identical to that of HTC Desire .
On the back of the device there is a speaker system. Camera with flash, as well as the battery compartment are also placed here.
HTC Wildfire: back side
The device has a built-in Li-Ion battery with 1300 mAh cpacity – it is enough for the phone to operate about 1.5 days with an average load. By the way, let’s note that Google representatives emphasize that the charges for the developers of Android operating system is because the system is very energy intensive, are groundless – if the device works less than a day without being charged, the problem is not with the system, but with hardware or intactness of the battery.
Software, hardware platform
HTC Wildfire is based on Android 2.1 operating system with installed original shell of HTC Sense. Let’s retain in the brackets the reflections on how the shell affects the speed of upgrading the operating system to current versions, and let’s only mention the fact that functionally new elements have been added into the device about which we told in the review of HTC Desire.
In general, their composition has not changed except for a small App Share plug-in, responsible for the ability to send recommendations to friends about the use of any downloaded software from the Android Market by e-mail, SMS or through the post in Twitter / Facebook. In the case of non-standard screen resolution the selection of software can become a really labor intensive process, that’s why the function of sending links to the program or game for a friend, who is also searching for content in the Android Market, will in no case be superfluous. Elements of HTC Sense operate fairly smartly, although the Weather plugin and “Friendly activity” occasionally don’t work accurate.
HTC Sense provides an opportunity to send recommendations to friends.
HTC Wildfire is built on Qualcomm MSM 7225 chip with a frequency of 528 MHz, which has already been used in googlephones of the second wave (HTC Magic, Hero, Tattoo). The device has 384 MB of RAM and 512 MB of internal memory (mostly for installing applications). This figure can be enlarged at the expense of installing a microSD memory card ( up to 32 GB are supported). The device supports operation 3G networks (HSDPA), has Wi-Fi, GPS / A-GPS and Bluetooth 2.1 modules. In addition, an FM-tuner has been included in the device.
The device is equipped with a 5 megapixel touch camera. It operates better than in HTC Hero, about on the level HTC Legend, but cannot compete with HTC Desire in low light of shots, due to the unstable focus. Rather disappointing is the fact that the device lacks video recording in HD quality – the maximum resolution of video is 352×288 pixels.
In general, it can be concluded that HTC Wildfire for its price range is quite a successful device, which can be regarded as a worthy substitute for the previous budget model HTC Tattoo. Rather modest specifications are compensated for the fact that the device runs a modern version of an operating system, which can be called right “out of the box”. Among the shortcomings of the phone, it is worth noting the use of inconvenient screen resolution in terms of compatibility with the software.