Breaking news: real-life, comparative HTC Diamond 2 shots!

Discussion in 'HTC Touch Diamond & Touch Diamond2' started by Menneisyys, Feb 17, 2009.

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  1. Menneisyys

    Menneisyys Mobile Deity

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    While at Microsoft’s stand at MWC the just-announced Diamond 2 was behind glass and couldn’t be used, at HTC’s booth anyone could give them a test ride. In the following, I post my first thoughts of the device.

    First and foremost, I just don’t like it. It’s just too thick and has an outdated hardware. In the era of 1 GHz CPUs (where the faster clock also means FAR better performance – see my real-world benchmarks of the 1GHz Toshi TG01 HERE), I find it just lame to announce a device with a 528 MHz, oldish, not very capable CPU.

    As I’ve mentioned several times, the lack of competition has definitely made HTC lazy and refusing to invent revolutionary stuff. If HTC was just one manufacturer of the many, this wouldn’t be a problem. But, given that HTC is the leading one and Windows Mobile’s future largely depends on the generic acceptance of HTC’s models, not inventing any more is a serious mistake. In addition, they don’t seem to even fix bugs and errors plaguing a lot (if not all) their devices; see for example the infamous touchscreen CPU usage bug causing major problems on all non-Xscale platforms.

    I consider their latest-and-greatest model, the Diamond 2, equally uninteresting and unimaginative. I, who have an iPhone 3G, may get the Nokia N97 (which turned out to be much better in real life – I’ve played with it quite a bit at MWC – than I previously thought) and will surely get the Toshi TG01 if it’s not as bug-ridden as Toshi’s earlier QWERTY sliders, the G900/G910, the Diamond 2 is a huge, thick and slow device that simply doesn’t have anything I would happily pay for.

    Let’s see some (also comparative – with the BlackBerry 8800 and the iPhone 3G) pictures I’ve taken at MWC. As you can see, the Diamond 2 is pretty large and is much thicker than the iPhone. If it was a power device with the latest and greatest technology, I could easily forget this. But for a phone with a pretty mediocre CPU, there is just no excuse.

    [​IMG]
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    The device reported on low memory after a while…:


    [​IMG]

    Interestingly, the list of running programs didn’t have any seemingly offending entry (and the total program memory was still over 35 Mbytes – of the 288 free):


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
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  2. Konrad Pierce

    Konrad Pierce Village Idiot 2.0

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    Wow, M ... there goes any real consideration of the Diamond for me.

    I've long been aware of the 528MHz thing ... I was sorta holding onto the hope that real performance would be fortified by an awesomely specialized chipset. But the thing seemingly can hardly endure being poked at for half a day without presenting typical WM complaints ("You need to soft-reset before I crash")?

    I suppose this might still be acceptable if this is intended to compete against the low- and mid-spec devices ... or more concisely: it's not expensive. Based on your report, I also wouldn't consider buying one - unless it was somewhere around the $150 price range.

    I think you've just managed to succinctly describe exactly why traditional PDAs are now an almost entirely abandoned niche. A little bit of "inventing" would've gone a long way to keeping PDAs shoulder to shoulder with tablets, MIDs, and UMPCs. Alas, I feel a disturbing, unpleasant, almost fearful sensation deep in my gut - I believe that our friend HTC has been a little bit too successful of late and is now retiring towards the same bureaucratic senescence to which other inertial entities like HP, Microsoft, and IBM have also succumbed. Corporate dinosaurs don't innovate. It's the hungry little mammals that are forced to be cunning if they want to prosper.

    Ah, there is "one" thing running that's not listed: Windows. I think that disposing of a trivial 35MB is no challenge at all for such a robust multitasking piece of bloat. ;)
     
  3. Ashton

    Ashton Dell Axim X51v Advocate

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    There's one little thing you two are not taking into consideration here: consumer ignorance.

    if 90% of all SPs on the market use a 500mhz chipset, the average consumer, or even most business customers, will accept it and "make do" with it. While they may want more if what they have works, then they're content. (I've met people still using 500mhz desktops every day with no complaints! ignorance and "acceptable performance" (and in many cases price) play a MAJOR role)

    Also, as to price, dont forget these phones will be subsidized by a carrier and wont cost nearly the price of an unbranded, unlocked model. After rebates the Touch Pro is $250 right now (whereas unlocked it's around $500-$700)

    handhelds are at the same place laptops were some years back, until the last few years you could NOT get a laptop over 3.0ghz unless you sold your first-born and both legs to pay for it (and then it was 3.5ghz...)) Something, perhaps the TG01, will come along and outpace the competition for miles and they will scramble to catch up and put out new devices with the new chipsets. Until then, we might as well accept 500mhz as standard, unless we want to pay a life-long mortgage on it.

    EDIT:
    btw: what's the estimated release date for the TG01 and with which carrier? I'd swear Ed posted it somewhere but I cant find it int he news section...
     
  4. Konrad Pierce

    Konrad Pierce Village Idiot 2.0

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    I think your ending edit-question manages to touch upon the most compelling fact in your argument, Ash.

    The device is not marketed by HTC. 99% of us won't got shopping at HTC's site. We'll head off to our local cellular kiosk and see what's there, at pretty much whatever prices they want to charge. The more enlightened will pick their device before they pick their carrier; but it still really boils down to a lot less choice than they'd accept if they knew better. Agreed, the mighty mediocre will appear quite appealing indeed in comparison to the other low-spec trash that's sitting next to it on the shelf. People will pay $300 for it and be happy because they got the "best" device they could see.

    I really don't know if I can blame the carriers for abusing the market, or blame the market for being so blissfully ignorant that they're begging for the abuse.

    Hey, given this sucker's bulk ... maybe it's just a very SOLID device. Y'know: the sort that can bounce down the stairway or fall out of your moving car and just keep on ticking with nary a scratch?
     
  5. Ed Hardy

    Ed Hardy TabletPCReview Editor Staff Member

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    It's supposed to launch this summer, but it's too early for Toshiba to be talking about specific carriers.

    Here's my article on the Toshiba TG01, if anyone missed it:
    http://www.brighthand.com/default.asp?newsID=14852
    -
     
  6. Ashton

    Ashton Dell Axim X51v Advocate

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    I cant complain about my current phone, the SPH-a900 has been abused (accidentally) a LOT and it keeps on working like a champ. it's big, it's clunky, but it's also VERY solid (it also as a very large screen for a dumbphone, my 2nd favorite feature after "dissable modem NAI" ;))

    I cant tell you how many people I see with either Blackberry Bold(?) or iPhones. These are the "best" avalible and those marketed as the best. I've seen few, if any, Moguls, and NONE of the Touch family...

    I'm keeping an eye on the 01 because I expect to be forced to move to another carrier soon, since Sprint has ended their SERO promotion, it's only a matter of time before they tell me I have to change plans, which will cost $70/month if I have a smartphone and $50 if I dont... much as I hate it, I may end up on ATT if their rates beat $70/month for unlimited high-speed Data...
     
  7. Ashton

    Ashton Dell Axim X51v Advocate

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    Thanks, Ed! If it's GSM, we can all guess it's probably going to be ATT in the USA since T-mo is using a non-standard band for HSDPA. (though the G1 broke that rule, so...)
     
  8. Konrad Pierce

    Konrad Pierce Village Idiot 2.0

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    Yeah, I'm still using my ancient Samsung phone ... like the Motorola before it, like the Touch afterwards, like several PDAs, it has suffered innumerable falls and accidents. It's a bit scratched up. The smaller screen on the front/top is smashed (and not worth the cost of replacing). Still works like a charm, and still gets stronger, better, clearer signal than the others did when they worked. Sure looks ugly, though. ;)

    (Yes, it's even outlasted a RhinoSkin-covered iPAQ. And it doesn't even have a screen-protector.)

    I've handled iPhones and Berries before, and - I could be wrong - but I was immediately struck by the impression that none of them would survive the vigourous sorts of abuse that my devices tend to be exposed to.
     
  9. Varjak

    Varjak Mobile Deity

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    Two things that come to mind:

    1. I think the thickness comparison is a bit deceptive. The 3G iPhone has a tapered back, but if you look closely and them back-to-back in the photo, at the thickest point, the iPhone looks basically the same.

    2. Someone mentioned that 'enlightened' people would pick their device first. A nice thought, but in reality the carrier's performance usually informs what devices one can reasonably consider. Everything has a trade-off, but carrier coverage, customer service, transmission technology, etc. all affect one's choices.
     
  10. Konrad Pierce

    Konrad Pierce Village Idiot 2.0

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    Aha, about the "enlightened people" ... what I meant is that some people do a little research on all the devices that appeal to them, then, after picking the one they want, they simply choose from a short list of those carriers who happen to offer it.

    Yes, this is what iPhone marketing was all about, at least initially. If you wanted the device you had to sign on with AT&T - on their terms, of course - and that was your *only* option. This sort of restriction still occurs, partly because each carrier works off only one of several kinds of network infrastructure, but also in great part because they pick which devices you'll be "allowed" to use, and at what prices.

    Everything is a tradeoff - you said it yourself, you know the facts. Most people - the so-called "normobs" see iPhone ads, they see pretty toys on the store shelves, they see an attractive price tag and believe that - so long as they're suspicious enough to avoid "hidden" costs and contractual traps - the little plaques give them all the information they need to choose the "very best" most kickass device that's available. It's truly sad that most of them completely believe what they see while hardly taking the effort to even see what they can see by just looking around the corner, especially when a "smart" sales vulture charismatically confides that - perhaps after some considerable personal effort on your behalf - a money-saving "special deal" or "exception" can be made. Nobody ever said corporations and salespeople have to play fair, so I wonder why so many people always assume it as fact after seeing a TV commercial or hearing just a few soothing words from a smiling face?

    Has this happened to me? Nope. (Just in case you hadn't noticed, I'm a bit of a fiercely independent cynic who doesn't believe anything until it's confirmed elsewhere.) I'm not particularly concerned about different payg options. But if I was picking a device - and a contract - and monthly bills - intended to serve me for a year or three then I think it's at least worth the effort to visit the stores and websites of several carriers. A few hours out of one afternoon -vs- possibly hundreds of dollars and incalculable frustration. Maybe I'd find they're all about equal; but at least I wouldn't get ripped off.

    About the i3G thickness ... don't forget that the device packs immensely more powerful hardware than "equally" bulky the HTC product it's being measured up against. I'm not an iPhone proponent by any measure, but I think I'll have to agree with M about this particular HTC being a bit of sour lemon.
     
  11. Drillbit

    Drillbit Mobile Deity

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    You may call it the RAZR phenomenon, but it had its many precedents, such as the PowerPC Macs, the Palm PDAs and Treos, the Commodore 64, the Nintendo Famicom, the SEGA Genesis, the IBM PC and not the least, the grand daddy of them all, the IBM System 360 mainframe. Sun, HP all went the same way. Nokia is also full of it. So is Sony such as the Walkman.

    First you created a defining product. Because this product is so successful, you literally build a product culture around it. Basically instead of innovating, you create more and more sub variations of the product. You are comfortable with what you have, and you don't want to rock the boat of success.

    Which makes you vulnerable to a competitor that is desperate and far hungrier. This shark is more aggressive and more willing to take risks. I would say, if there is a shark now, it would be Palm, because it is in a do or die situation and is willing to do the most desperate thing---hatch a product that is a clear and clean break from its legacy.

    With its recent success, RIM is in danger of falling to the trap as well. It seems to be hatching one variation of the same theme after another.

    Nokia is clearly into this trap.

    This tends to move into cycles. Success leads to failure, which leads to desperation and sometimes success again if the company managed to survive.

    Motorola is also moving to the desperate cycle. Most of its new product launches ,from the ruggedized WM phones, to the China only ZM900, to the planned Android offerings all say buh bye to the RAZR legacy.

    The original HTC Touch (GSM version) was HTC's breakthrough. It moved them from nameless ODM maker in Taiwan to someone in the world scene with a global level of consumer design, something that puts it ahead of would be rivals like Acer and Asus. Then it was followed by the Diamond, and then everything else are variations of the theme.

    But HTC is not completely into the "comfort" cycle yet, the G1 and the Magic shows HTC is still willing to take risks.
     
  12. Konrad Pierce

    Konrad Pierce Village Idiot 2.0

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    I hope you're right about Palm being a hungry shark.

    But there is something called the piranha effect, and it applies to business as well as anything else that's competitive. A piranha must be lean, quick, and agile enough to avoid being eaten by other piranhas. Yet it must also be large and strong enough to be able to muscle into the feeding zone.

    Sadly, I think of Palm as more of a very fat shark, bloated by layer upon layer of overpaid underskilled middlemanagers and admins who push papers around between each other in an effort to look very busy. Yes, I do hope Palm will become a fearsome player in this market again, but I think it's more likely to just get eaten or starved out instead.
     
  13. Drillbit

    Drillbit Mobile Deity

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    WAS a fat shark was a better way to put Palm. All that fat has to be fired away.

    Time will tell if they will succeed or sink. The kind of "think safe" management that would have opposed a concept like the Palm Pre had to go away before the Pre is even launched.

    I remembered how a company named Apple was in a number of do or die situations. Yes, it too had its fatty tissues. Seems like companies have their lean and binge cycles.
     
  14. Konrad Pierce

    Konrad Pierce Village Idiot 2.0

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    I don't think corporate liposuction is realistic.

    If Palm is to get lean and mean again then it needs to start working out, hard. Unfortunately, it takes time - maybe months and months - to see any real results from all this hard work. Palm doesn't have any time left, it's morbidly obese.
     
  15. Drillbit

    Drillbit Mobile Deity

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    So you feel they have not shed enough fat or reorganized enough.

    I was hoping that Palm would once again, be like Apple, but without the Messiah. Certainly their balance sheets cannot afford that fat, and they have to lay off, even massively. Even Nokia has laid off.

    The good news for Palm is they have not lost as much as Sony Ericsson, which is about half a billion or that their stock isn't as low as GM. Yet. But they are in a cash burn situation.

    Yeah, they still need to cost cut some more. And they need to launch the Pre in April, not May, before Apple fires its iPhone year model 2009 in June.

    The only option for them after that is to get bought out..
     
  16. Konrad Pierce

    Konrad Pierce Village Idiot 2.0

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    I used to think much the same ... until somebody asked me: who would want to buy Palm? They have no assets, no people, no patents, an aging product line, financial difficulties, and an increasingly tarnished name. Well, they do have assets and people - just not any worth buying, other players already have better. Doesn't matter how many golden stars your brand new marketing people or execs are ... they obviously haven't been improving the product, they obviously haven't been selling it either. Palm RIP, sorry, I wish it weren't so.
     
  17. Drillbit

    Drillbit Mobile Deity

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    I got berries in the house, specifically the Storm and the 8707 world phone, and I've seen a lot of berries in my island. They all seem sturdy to me, especially the Bold which has a metal back. The Storm is also partly metal and its not a light phone either. The Curves are more plastic, but I don't see them any weaker than HTC Touches which I think has a well designed form factor.

    With regards to robustness of Apple products, my first gen iPod Touch has taken a number of falls, with dings to show on her aluminum case. Rubbing alcohol has also fallen into it, penetrated the screen to cause some mild discoloration. The device continues to work. I'm quite confident about the robustness of Apple's iPods and iTouches in my experience.

    First time I ever saw a Touch, its a GSM version in one of the Asian countries.

    With regards to HTC phone rarerity, in our area, I don't see a lot of people with the HTC Diamonds, but it is offered in one of our carriers. But the few times I've seen them, in one particular instance, I saw one in the hands of a woman who didn't really strike me as a techie type. I've also seen HTC Touch in the hands of an elderly woman, as well as a teenage girl, and both don't strike me as the techie types either. I've seen the Touch hang around with our local dealers, at first the unlocked GSM version, but later the various CDMA versions. I've also seen TyTn II with one carrier, and Moguls, both silver and black, with another carrier. There is still an old stock of the S620 too. In our little island, the carrier that supports CDMA brings in various US carrier labeled HTCs, while the ones that support GSM, rarely brings HTC and if they do, its a bit way overpriced... The GSM carriers are far too busy pushing Nokias and Blackberries.

    I've seen the Touch Dual with my friend who is a lawyer and he uses it to tether to his laptop. Of course he isn't in the US and neither is the phone. The Touch Dual looks like the ordinary Touch, but the bottom can slide out to reveal a T9 keypad.
     
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