Google Nexus One or HTC Bravo/Desire. Does Sense make sense?

Nexus OneThere are a lot of Android phones coming from HTC and the Nexus One is a big deal when it comes to the progress of Android as a smartphone platform. Google are so "in to" the Nexus One they want to call it a superphone, but I'm not buying into that term. Its a smartphone, because it can do much more than a normal mobile phone. It doesn't matter how powerful the device may be, its actual functionality hasn't changed.. It just does it quicker and with more pizzaz. That isn't a new breed.

It hasn't been long before the Nexus One is out that trickles of information about the HTC Bravo are hitting the tech blogs and from what has been rumoured, the HTC Bravo is exactly the same as the Nexus One except it has a track pad rather than a track ball, and it has the highly regarded HTC Sense installed.

That does sound like a recipe to quickly top the Nexus, but I'm questioning if that really is the case. I have to say that I do like the idea of a track pad instead of a track ball mainly because of its aesthetics. Functionally however they are merely identical, and as a long term HTC Hero user I do think its an important feature as it does make the finer selections (esspecially inputting text) far less frustrating than using a chubby finger to hit that 1mm² block between characters, and more accurate when selecting items in a list whilst on the move. So I suppose what I'm saying here is that the Bravo has Sense and the Nexus One does not... Is this a reason to go for a Bravo.. Perhaps not, and I'll explain why.

Sense made absolute sense for Android 1.x. The platform was lacking in style and user functionality and friendliness. 1.x was a platform for the geek, and as such Sense gave the lick of paint and additionaly functionality such as multi-touch to everyone else. Basically, it made the HTC handsets attractive to the world. Now comes along Android 2.1, and Google have done a great job in improving the interface to attract the wider market. They've added more panes on the home screen and improved on the overall feel of the OS.

So this is the important stuff. Sense gives you the built in apps, but in all honesty I've stopped using almost all of them. Within the market there are better apps. I use K9 for email, Handcent SMS for text messaging and Mixzing as my media player. Now 2.1 gives contact integration and the photo/video album gives improved integration with online services, I simply find it impossible to see what Sense is really giving me.

One thing for sure, however, is that Sense is probably giving me more of a headache. I've had the HTC Hero for quite some time, and because it has Sense the firmware updates need to comes from HTC (I don't want to use baked ROMs). This should have been all fine except HTC have become TOO slow in releasing updates to the handsets meaning that I can't get to use the new Android 2.1 when everyone else is. I can't see this changing for the Bravo, and hence why at this time I actually thing getting a Nexus One would be a smarter move. The focus by Google on user friendliness and funtionality blurs the lines of Sense, and the quick over-the-air updates mean that you'd get all the latest as it happens.

Wed, 29 Jul 2009 14:50