HTC Wildfire hands-onSee all photos
The first thing to be said here is that if you've spent time with an Android device by HTC, you've already spent time with the Wildfire. It has the same 5 megapixel camera that's fast becoming the standard among the company's handsets, it has the Hero's now admittedly aging CPU, and it has the latest version of Sense UI that includes Friend Stream and the multitouch Leap homescreen viewer.
Where it diverges from its predecessors is in offering a new app sharing feature -- which simply gives you the ability to invite your friends, via Twitter, Facebook, or email, to download an app you really like off the Android Market -- and deeper Facebook integration than we've previously seen. The latter now means that when you receive or place calls to your friends, you automatically see their Facebook profile picture, latest status update, and birthday if it's coming up soon. Sort of a lazy man's social phone, but we reckon that can be quite a useful thing for the targeted demographic of college students. HTC openly admitted to shooting for the same crowd as Microsoft's Kin, intending to make this phone both as cheap and as easy to text, email and socialize with as possible.
Whether they succeed will depend mostly on the final pricing, but HTC seems confident of lowering the minimum cost threshold for Android, which can only be a good thing. We were told the use of a QVGA rather than HVGA screen on the Wildfire was a major saving in terms of cost, and we didn't feel like it was too big a sacrifice to make. One other interesting tidbit from HTC's presentation was the company's statement that it learnt its lesson from the Tattoo, which had a resistive touchscreen, and no longer plans on offering anything but capacitive displays in the future.