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The Wildfire, at $349 upfront, is not only well priced, it's Telstra's first pre-paid smartphone.
In looks, it's very reminiscent of the Desire, with a slightly smaller screen, and slightly less overall length. It's more pocket friendly, and it doesn't feel small at all.
It also comes with the same software as the Desire - Android 2.1, HTC Sense, the Friendstream social networking app, scenes, flash support and more.
Unique to the Wildfire
But while it looks like the Desire's mini-me, HTC loves to add a few little touches to each new phones. And accordingly, the Wildfire has a few additions.
The new Caller ID is designed to save your skin… When a friend calls you, for example, you'll see the latest social updates - so you might see their most recent tweet of Facebook update, and it will tell you when their birthday is.
If you like an app, there's now a way to share it, with an app called Appshare. Select the app to share, a contact and a method of sharing (Facebook, twitter, email) and a nice little form will pop up.
Flashight uses the camera flash, effectively, at different intensity, so you can find your keys in the dark, etc. Handy, but not exactly a killer app for the Android.
The Wildfire also includes Swype, the test-entry method that uses swypes across a touchscreen keyboard, rather than key presses. Swype is currently exclusive to Telstra's Android Marketplace.
Looking to switch?
There's now a new Contacts and Calendar Import app, new to the Wildfire. Click on the app, choose the phone to transfer from - model and brand - it will tell you how to turn Bluetooth on for that phone and then walk you through how to connect and then via Bluetooth it will pull off the contacts and calendar. It's not entirely clear how many phones are compatible with the service, but we'll check out the list as soon as we can.
Improved music for Android?
Music and playlists has always been a weak spot for Android, and for Sense, too. But now HTC has launched HTC Sync to transfer music, photos, bookmarks, playlists, calendar and contacts via the phone and a PC.
You can import iTunes playlists, or pick a file path to grab your music from.
Android on the march
Smartphones are taking off in Australia. Telstra says that sales of smartphones have now outpaced featurephones in their stores, and there's now enough demand from prepaid customers that the Wildfire felt like a good fit for them.
It's also available on prepaid plans. See our breakdown below.
There's no word on when (or if) Wildfire will get FroYo here, though Antony Petts from HTC told us that a version of the Wildfire with FroYo will go on sale in China, with slightly different specifications.
Telstra has it available on pre-paid for $349 upfront, from August 24 through Fone Zone, with the white version available at all Telstra stores on Sept 28. The black model will be available from September 6.
On postpaid, it will be available for $0 up front on a $49 cap plan over 24 months from August 24.
We'll be doing a first look and review when we get our hands on the phone on Friday.
528MHz processor; 2GB MicroSD; 512MB flash, 384MB RAM; 3.5mmjack; microUSB; 3.2in capacitive touchscreen; 1300mAh battery; 5MP camera; 118gm; 107mm x 60mm x 12mm.
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Issue: 335 | January/February 2015
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