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Retro: HTC Desire
Announced five years ago this month, the HTC Desire was a game-changing device that proved that Android had finally come of age and was now every bit as good - or better - than the competition.
Although there were several Android 2.x phones on the market at the time, the HTC Desire had the advantage of being very widely available on carriers worldwide. This meant that the Desire was one of the first phones of its type that anybody could walking into a mobile phone shop and buy with a new contract, which meant that it became very popular.
The HTC Desire has an excellent 3.7" 480 x 800 pixel capacitive touchscreen OLED display, a 1GHz processor with 576MB of RAM, a 5 megapixel camera plus all the features you would expect in an Android smartphone, wrapped in a smooth and understated case that looked a lot less clunky than most of the Android competition.
The high-end hardware specification of the HTC Desire left the contemporary Apple iPhone 3GS in the dust, and the HTC Sense-enhanced OS, display and elegant looks made the rival Nokia N900 look rather unappealing.
All of this came only about a year-and-a-half after the first Android smartphone (the HTC-built T-Mobile G1), which showed an impressive rate of development. However, the competition got a lot tougher when the iPhone 4 came out later in the year. But Nokia never did come up with something that could compete with the like of the HTC Desire and went into a terminal decline.
These days an unlocked HTC Desire will cost you around €50 to €60 for a decent example, and although officially the operating system was only supported up to Android 2.2 Froyo, it is possible to install the much better Android 2.3 using CyanogenMod which will also unlock the phone, if you are comfortable with re-flashing your device that is.
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