HTC 7 Mozart – brilliantly quite?
Tonse's product review of HTC latest Smart phone, HTC 7 Mozart included here in this month's editorial. The month of March has been somewhat quite as the sector scrambles back up on its feet post-scandals and clears the deck for the New Year.
HTC 7 Mozart is their latest, smart phone running Windows 7 for mobile just about launched in India. A dream design, the slick single-piece body with a sexy battery compartment also housing the antennae is a masterpiece of art. The look and feel is a unique mix of metal, plastic and rubber in one perfectly shaped handheld. Great ergonomics meets flawless design in a device form factor for once.
- The Windows 7 for mobile phone carries several bold new changes in architecture and user interface that are a welcome change. For example, the concept of 'tiles' is a fantastic breakthrough in exposing multi-dimensional data to user in a single context. That is, by pushing People tile – you can now see all details about the person in your contacts including latest Facebook / Twitter updates. Once you 'link up' the entry in your People tile, their Facebook and other Social Network updates show up as an overlay –including the individual's photograph, web / blog site etc.
- Apart from the utility just described, People icon allows you to selectively pick the most commonly used 'contacts' and 'pin' them up so you can see them as a 'tile' when you switch on the phone. In other words, you don't need to search for your 'most frequently used contacts' in your long list of directory entries.
- The 'touch to select' and 'tap to start' tiles are neatly aligned and will scroll up-down or right-left with a single slide touch on the 'HTC sense' screen – very cool. Bright green tiles on a dark background make the screen enticing. Screen resolution / image quality is awesome and audio is music to the ears.
At 130 grams, this 3.7 inch screen, 8MP camera phone. Dolby mobile with SRS Surround, multi-sensor support (G-sensor, proximity, ambient light), 1GHz processor with 8GB memory / 516MB RAM and an Apps Suite via the Hub, is HTC's grand entry into the Premium Smart phone segment.
Still we wonder if it will deliver. Why?
- HTC may have done its job on the hardware, functional design and spec of its new baby HTC 7 Mozart but perhaps is short changed due to its still evolving MS Windows 7 for mobiles. Unfortunately there are yawning gaps which need to be fixed rather urgently on this phone.
- Win7 overtly expects extremely high-level of connect with Internet for the phones it supports. It appears that this may have been done to match the rapidly released Win 7 patches which are either bug-fixes or genuine feature updates – either way the phone needs to connect back to the Net to catch up with the patch
- Win 7's extreme indulgence goes a step further where it expects all phones supporting Win 6.5 and above to sync via Zune, MS' multi-media platform. This is a marked move away from the earlier Sync software which was simple and reliable. Now you need to run Zune on your primary computer just to keep your Windows 7 mobile in sync. (Zune is 119MB a drain on Netbooks which already have better multi-media players – all this just to sync?)
- Then Win 7 imposes something else: it seamlessly imports your SIM content to the phone hardware only via a Windows live account – such as Hotmail or Outlook but not via Gmail. Although it says Gmail is supported, it is not straight forward as it is with Hotmail. No surprises there, one would argue. But even the SIM import via Hotmail is somewhat cumbersome.
- HTC Hub is region and country specific and key applications such as Market Place are not even enabled in India. The Hub approach to apps is akin to Applications Store but at least the design and flow is neat. However most are either not functional today or are currently carrying non-India specific applications. Could be weeks or months before local applications show up here. And HTC has no road-map yet. Neither does MS.
- A Converter Application sits quite out of place doing basic unit-conversion for degree Celsius to Fahrenheit. Bing Maps gives you directional assistance but is yet to be integrated with People Finder type service.
- What was worse is that Win 7 seems to have had 2 system software updates in 3 weeks and two App ver updates in the same period. We noticed that the phone resets / and reboots very fast for no apparent reason – this can be annoying as user is not sure what caused it.
In summary, HTC 7 Mozart is a combination of a great phone / mobile internet device running on a not-so-great Mobile OS but one trying to get there. Exquisite design, great specs, computing power, memory and smarts but still struggling to integrate into the OS / innards thus leaving the user hoping all is well. Several loose ends and frequent reboots suggest instability. Frequent software updates and patches give you the impression, perhaps it is not yet quietly brilliant!
Sloka Telecom Receives Round of Funding From Karnataka Information Technology Venture Capital Fund-2 (KITVEN)
Bangalore, 6th April 2011 – Bangalore based Sloka Telecom, a leading provider of radio access network solutions for emerging markets, has received $0.6 million venture funding from KITVEN. Sloka has pursued its mission of building world-class RAN solutions bringing price / performance / form-factor combinations hitherto unheard of. Its products have strikingly compact radio units that can be put on any tower, lamp post, without need for a/c housing thus saving substantial cost in installations and operations for service providers. Sloka continues to defy competing industry heavyweights as it blazes new trail in emerging markets worldwide. More at www.sloka.in