16 April 2010

HTC Sense, FriendFeed and Android hitting South Africa...

So Android really hit SA yesterday with the launch of 3 new HTC phones. The one that interests me is the HTC Sense (or Smart - the press release is confusing) and I'll tell ya why.

"The new HTC Sense experience continues to focus on improving interactions with the users’ most important people.  This begins with a new HTC application and widget called HTC Friend Stream that seamlessly aggregates all social communication including Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr into one organised flow of updates. This simple aggregation makes it easier than ever to focus on what friends are doing as well as to view the images and links that they share.  In addition to Friend Stream, people can be organised into specific social circles, such as groups of friends, colleagues or any other way that makes sense."

What on earth happened to FriendFeed? It was one of the first big lifestreaming apps to penetrate a mainstream tech market. Got bought by FaceBook and has pretty much disappeared into the ether. It solved so much, multiple logins, easier data manipulation, richer social content etc. Pity.

As with most industries though, this usually just opens up a hole for others to fill. Now the idea of collating social content isn't new. But not many have tried it on a mobile phone. Especially one that will apparently retail at R2499.00 on prepaid. That makes it interesting. An Android is open, which means you can expect a plethora of available and upcoming apps.

This elusive "digital culture" so many of us seek in SA will never really arrive until we can get SmartPhone penetration up. USSD, as functional as it is, just ain't a social experience.

Sad to have missed the HTC launch. Was never a huge fan of the phones but I do hear they've improved substantially. Would like to get my hands on one... (Out 1 May 2010 according to PR)