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HTC's 'Incredible' Is A Strong Competitor In The Smartphone Market

Jessika Walsten |
July 5, 2010 | 3:19 p.m. PDT

News Editor

HTC's Droid Incredible (Photo by Jessika Walsten)
HTC's Droid Incredible (Photo by Jessika Walsten)
I am stubborn. And, while I admit that I have always wanted an iPhone, I have refused to switch to AT&T.

Thus, smartphone options have been limited to Blackberries and Palms, which are all functional and perfectly fine devices. They just don’t have that je ne sais quoi that the iPhone does.

I always felt slightly ashamed of my Blackberry. It was cool. (I had the Storm). But not quite cool enough.

Now, that shame is gone. I have found a phone with that special something, and I didn’t even have to wait until the iPhone came to Verizon – who knows when that will be.

I found HTC’s Droid Incredible.

When I first ordered it, I was a little skeptical. I had played with it in the store, and it certainly looked fabulous. Its sleek design rivaled the sexiness of Apple’s iPhone. But was it as easy to use as it was on the eyes? Was it better than the last phone I had?

Yes and yes.

The highly customizable, touchscreen phone uses the Android OS and HTC Sense to provide the user with easy access to hundreds of widgets and applications - many of them free - through the Android Market. It has everything from apps for personal banking to soundboards and air horns to TMZ.

But the best part of the Droid has nothing to do with its Market and everything to do with its Google integration. (The Android operating system was developed by Google for mobile devices.)

My Gmail contacts and calendar all synch with the phone. A built in app for Google maps makes it hard to get lost. There is even a widget that allows you to do a voice search of Google with the push of a button.

But how accurate is the program at processing your voice? It’s surprisingly accurate. A few days ago, I found myself in need of a hardware store. So I pressed the voice button, a small icon with a microphone on it, said “hardware stores in Los Angeles” and after a few seconds of processing my search phrase came up on the phone. After a few more seconds, Google showed me the hardware stores closest to me.

The phone also does surprisingly well with social networking. Programs for Facebook and Twitter are built in and there is the option to have a friend stream, which pulls Twitter, Facebook and Flickr updates into one widget.

HTC’s Incredible boasts a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, which is a thousand times faster than the Blackberry Storm even with all the apps. The phone’s wireless capability makes surfing the Web a breeze. (With the wireless turned off, you can still surf the Web through Verizon’s network. But it’s not nearly as fast.) Photos and videos look nearly perfect with the phone’s high resolution and they don’t take forever to download.

Among the Incredible’s many other bells and whistles are an 8 megapixel camera with a flash, a camcorder, 8 gb of built in storage and up to 32 gb of SD card storage, limited flash capability (Yay for no questions marks!), and Acrobat reader. There is also an app ranging from about $15 to $30 to edit (a viewer is built in) Microsoft Office documents and spreadsheets. And yes all of these features work surprisingly well. In fact, the photo above was taken with an Incredible.

Of course, now I must mention the phone’s cons. With every phone there are always some gripes. But with the Incredible it’s hard to find things truly wrong with it. There are no antenna issues. But the battery life could be a little longer. Without using the Internet or exploring the Market too much, the battery will last all day. But you will have to charge it when you go to bed.
The many applications sometimes don’t shut down all the way when you exit out of them. This also will drain the battery. To fix this problem, though, you’ll need to download the Advanced Task Killer, which is free through the Android Market.

With many new operating systems, there is a learning curve. This phone is no exception. The touchscreen is highly sensitive and it’s easy to send a text or e-mail with a misspelled word or two. But the Droid OS and HTC Sense are very intuitive. Once you get used to them, you’ll find it much easier to use than some of the other phones out there.

It’s also very easy to spend hours - yes, you read that right – exploring the Market or the Web. I’ve also found the game Teeter quite addictive.

But all of these minor nuisances are nothing compared to what the Incredible does. At the risk of sounding cheesy and cliche, it really is incredible.

If and when the iPhone does come to Verizon, I am not so sure I would even get it now. What’s the point, when the Incredible does virtually everything the iPhone does and then some?


To reach Jessika Walsten, click here.



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