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Of course, the flip side of Sense – or indeed any third-party customization to an Android device – is that it can significantly delay firmware updates to the latest version of the OS.HTC Hero owners are only this month getting the Android 2.1 update they’ve been long promised, and while the company has confirmed it will be updating this year’s devices to Android 2.2 there’s no definitive timescale for that to take place.
With Android 2.1 underneath you get screenshots in the Android Market, Google Maps Navigation with free turn-by-turn directions and – in the most recent update – public transport scheduling for some transit providers, and all the usual Google apps like Gmail and the You Tube player.
There’s also 384MB of RAM paired with a 528MHz Qualcomm processor; well below the 1GHz chips we’re seeing on many new Android devices, but – HTC reckon – comfortably enough for the sort of non-3D activities the Wildfire will be doing.
HTC Wildfire unboxing: [vms 8e41c89689f54970bb35] There’s also a 5-megapixel autofocus camera complete with an LED flash, dualband HSDPA (900/2100), quadband GSM/EDGE, Wi Fi b/g and Bluetooth 2.1 EDR.
HTC Sense continues to be the company’s differentiator from other Android devices, and the Wildfire shares the usual straightforward start-up process and general ease of use.
The sort of entry-level owners tempted in by the Wildfire’s affordability shouldn’t have any great trouble following the initial setup wizard, which walks through adding in (or creating) your Google account, inputing Facebook, Twitter and email settings, and then drops handy tips about how to use the seven homescreen panes.
Outdoors and during the day, however, and results are more impressive; the Wildfire seems to handle colors better than some of its predecessors, and HTC’s modifications to the camera UI do at least allow for a little tweaking should the defaults not suit.