HTC Freestyle First Look
We had a few moments to spend with HTC's first Brew MP phone, the Freestyle. The Freestyle takes classic HTC hardware and software design and applies it to a budget-friendly quick messaging device for AT&T. Here are our initial thoughts.
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The Freestyle is a simple slab device that is forged from aluminum and plastic. It may not be as sexy as some of HTC's all-metal designs, but the Freestyle comes off as a quality piece of hardware. It has a small footprint in the hand, easy-to-use controls, and a nice weight to it.
The user interface, though running on top of Brew MP, is actually HTC's Sense UI that's found on its Android devices. Truth-to-tell, anyone who's used an HTC Android phone will have a hard time differentiating the Freestyle from a full-on Android phone.
The Freestyle offers seven customizable home screens, and can be populated with applications such as contacts, photo gallery, weather, etc. The user interface was incredible snappy and exhibited absolutely no lag.
The main menu is reached via a software button on the home screen. The main menu is stuffed into grids that populate three pages. Each can be accessed via swiping sideways. Here, the Freestyle looks a bit more like a feature phone. The AT&T-branded software works and functions just as it would on any other hardware.
One cool thing about the Freestyle is that it uses a WebKit-based browser, and it offered plenty of power for browsing.
The inner menus and settings pages are (perhaps) too similar to Android's.
According to Qualcomm, each manufacturer/carrier will do its own thing when it comes to the user interface of Brew MP phones. Qualcomm said that for the rest of 2011, any Brew MP devices that reach the market will have OEM-designed UIs. Moving into 2012, however, Qualcomm will have a basic Brew MP UI that can be used by phone makers.
The Freestyle is quite an impressive little phone for one that acts like — but isn't — a smartphone.