AT&T does not need an iPhone fighter, but it wants to broaden its line up with a variety of compelling devices for consumers who want choices. The HTC Inspire comes early in a year that may be AT&T's greatest product stream so far.
The smart phone can go toe-to-toe with the iPhone and even trumps the iPhone 4 in some categories. Take a look a the vitals.
* 4G (HSPA+)
* Android 2.2 platform with built-in Adobe Flash Player support
* Next-generation HTC Sense platform with cloud services
* 4.3" LCD capacitive display
* 1 GHz Snapdragon processor with 4GB internal memory
and microSD slot with 8GB card included
* Mobile Hotspot support
* 8MP camera with 720p HD video recording
* $99 with a 2 year contract
Every one of those lines out-specs the iPhone 4 in some way.
While Android is comparable to Apple's iOS, not everyone is going to prefer it. HTC's sense continues to evolve making Android even better. Included with Sense are HTCSense.com services like call forwarding, phone location, and security management.
The camera sensor out duels the iPhone in megapixels, but the Inspire's images seemed to need a bit more tweaking to my eyes.
No problem. The large 4.3" screen is HUGE compared to the iPhone. Tough Apple's phone has the Retina display which renders images and text beautifully even at with the smaller real estate, but as a media oriented device 4.3" is emerging as the screen to have. It makes for better browsing, a richer media experience and GPS navigation much easier to follow.
Speaking of GPS, I still love Android's free turn by turn navigation ...functionality that I ponied up $30 to buy RoadMate for on my iPhone.
There is a slick Facebook stream for social hounds, but don't look for a front facing camera…not there.
Light to moderate users should get through the day without charge, but gamers and heavy users might need to keep the charging cable handy.
Ready to try 4G over the HSPA+ network? AT&T says its has seen speeds as high as 6MBPS. Using the Ookla's speedtest app, I never saw download speeds more than 3MBPS and over 2MBPS was rare. Usually speeds were more in line with solid 3G performance, between 1.0 and 1.5MBPS.
Even so, browsing was fast and I doubt anyone except the most data demanding users would really be unsatisfied with the speeds. Nonetheless, I've queried AT&T about the data speeds providing the results of my Ookla tests.
The spec sheet and price may lean in the Inspire's favor compared to the iPhone so it will not be an obvious choice for everyone …and that is good sign.