As smartphone adoption advances, consumers are starting to see a steady flow of high-end features to more affordable models. Technologies such as Wi-Fi and GPS can now be found in many cheaper handsets, with processing power now cheap enough to run uncut smartphone operating systems such as the latest version of Android.
The HTC Wildfire offers full smartphone functionality at an incredibly low price. Sharing many of the features of the top-end HTC handsets, such as the latest 2.1 version of Android with the proprietary Sense UI, and featuring a large 3.2 inch touchscreen, GPS, Wi-Fi and 3G HSDPA connectivity, the HTC Wildfire is a viable alternative to more expensive smartphone handsets.
The HTC Wildfire features a new, more expensive case design than some of HTC’s previous mid-range models, and comes with a high-quality 5 megapixel camera, LED flash, FM radio and standard 3.2mm headphone socket. Besides the large LCD touchscreen, the HTC wildfire has an optical trackpad that makes moving through menu’s a breeze.
There is strong software support for the HTC Wildfire with a large range of custom widgets from HTC that let you keep up-to-date with streaming real-time updates from your Facebook and Twitter contacts. The Wildfire also has access to the Android Market for apps and games, and its web browser runs Flash Light, which means that virtually all the web looks great on the phone.
Previous discount HTC smartphones have come with underpowered processors that struggled to run Android at decent speeds. Fortunately the HTC Wildfire is pretty responsive, with only the occasional slowdown in menu’s betraying its cheaper CPU. More intensive games and applications can sometimes fare worse, but this is a small price to pay for access to the Android ecosystem at such a low cost.
Deciding between the HTC Wildfire and mid-range handsets from other manufacturers will be decided by how badly you want an Android device. Hardware-wise, there are definitely better-looking handsets out there for the same price, most running proprietary operating systems that work fine for most tasks. The advantage of owning an Android device, with access to Google’s wide range of apps and games is a big one, however, and will sway many.
Choosing between the Wildfire and top-of-the-range Android handsets, such as HTC’s own Desire, is less easily done. The better screen and faster processor found on the Desire do result in a significantly better user experience, but the price increase is also very large. It may be that in the Wildfire, HTC have created their best competitor for the Android handset consumer.
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