Monday, July 27, 2009

Poof! You're an iPhone

Comparisons are odious, but while testing the new HTC Magic smartphone (aka T-Mobile MyTouch 3G) for Wi-Fi Planet recently, it was hard not to think of the Apple iPhone. All the time.

Magic is an iPhone wannabe, with a touchscreen interface you can swipe and flick, just like iPhone. But the HTC phone uses Google’s open source Android mobile operating system and comes preloaded with Google apps (mail, calendar, maps, YouTube, etc.).

My first thought was, why bother? Building a better mousetrap is one thing, building the same mousetrap and just putting a different name on it is another.

Magic is in many respects as good as iPhone, but I couldn’t find a lot about it that is better. It might be a little easier to master typing on its virtual keyboard. How can HTC and T-Mobile hope to overcome the marketing juggernaut that is iPhone? (The same could be said of any iPhone knock-off, of course.)

One thing you can say: the phone is available to any GSM carrier who wants to sell it, not just the anointed one in each market. Magic at least gives consumers in the U.S. a choice of carriers.

Not so in Canada, however, where Magic is available from Rogers, which also sells the iPhone. Why bother indeed?

See my full review of the Magic/myTouch here.

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