Nice Touch

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Since its debut, the iPhone has sold like crack cocaine, with hordes of frenzied, slavering fanboys queuing to be the first to part with 400-500€ for the privilege of walking out of the store with a pretty-looking phone with a frankly rubbish operating system and poor 3rd generation data support. Still, they look pretty, don’t they? I predicted in the previous Together that the iPad would sell millions, despite suffering from pretty much the same afflictions as the iPhone did (I do enjoy a safe bet). But why part with hundreds of your hard-earned euro for something unfinished, when you can have something that is not only stylish, but functional too?

AN OBJECT OF DESIRE

Enter the htc desire, stage right. Like a deus ex machina it will solve all your problems at a stroke, will make you more attractive and will even find the comb you lost behind the sofa last month.OK, probably not the comb part, but it is a very nice piece of machinery, nonetheless.

At the core of the HTC Desire is a 1 Gigahertz processor providing the power for the Android operating system. Android is free and Open Source software, the only things HTC add are a few of their own applications. Because it’s neither Windows Mobile nor iPhone OS, there are very few restrictions on what you can do with it. Better yet, you’re not obliged to purchase (or download) your apps from a single point as with iTunes, so you won’t encounter the ‘no naked flesh unless it’s Playboy, on which we make money’ hypocrisy of Apple, or get your app banned for being better than those that Apple offer.

The specifications are great: As well as the 1 GHz processor, you get half a gigabyte of ROM and RAM, with the option to expand the RAM to 32GB via a micro SD card. It comes, of course, with the ability to negotiate four GSM bands, meaning you can use it pretty much anywhere you like in

the world. For the data-minded, there’s Bluetooth, EDGE, GPRS, 3G and the ubiquitous Wi-Fi. Using the USB cable, you can also ‘tether’ it, meaning that you can use the phone as a modem when you’re out and about.

There’s a raft of gadgetry packed into the slim 119 x 60mm case, too. A 5-megapixel camera with face recognition and autofocus, FM radio, accelerometer, light sensor and multimedia playback of audio and video, with all major formats being supported straight out of the box (3gp, wmv, mp4, aac and lots more). In addition, there’s a built-in GPS antenna and a copy of Google maps, as well as some nifty features such as the automatic lowering of the ringer volume when picked up, automatic backup of SMS, MMS and Wi-Fi passwords and plenty of options for those addicted to social networking, with Twitter, Flickr and Facebook well catered for in the supplied set of apps.

I would genuinely take one of these over an iPhone any day. OK, the Android OS is updated on a ridiculously frequent basis, but as the updates will slow to around one per year in the near future, there won’t be the need to constantly update to stay ahead. Updates are also free, unlike some of Apple’s. All in all, this is a pretty little touch-screen marvel that would grace the smartest pocket or bag. Maybe it’s the die-hard geek in me, but the company’s slogan ‘quietly brilliant’ seems very appropriate.

www.htc.com

 

TWEET? MEOW!

Never let it be said that Together doesn’t bring you the very bleeding edge of technology. Having cured all the world’s ills and discovered an antidote to climate change, scientists have been working round the clock to ensure you know your feline companion is safe and well. Sony (yes, the Playstation people) in conjunction with the University of Tokyo, have produced a cat collar with a built-in accelerometer, camera and GPS. Provisionally named the cat@log, this frankly epoch-defining gizmo will monitor your cat’s every move and tweet it to the Twitter web site for you and the whole world to see, in both text and glorious Technicolor photos. Naturally, it doesn’t have a huge vocabulary, and instead relies on around eleven pre-defined phrases. So, if your moggy is eating his favourite tin of kangaroo chunks disguised as beef, it

might say something like ‘yum, this is good’. Of course, this doesn’t tell you the cat’s inner feelings or mental well-being, but it will soon have a face recognition module so you can tell if Mr Fluffy is hanging out with the bad boys.

Personally, I would much prefer to read the cat’s mind and tweet that instead. Imagine the fun of getting a tweet from Tibbles, saying: “Just got back after a heavy night on catnip. Washed my genitals. Destroyed the sofa. Going to sleep now for sixteen hours”.