Whenever I purchase a Windows Mobile device, I almost always buy an HTC product. I have regretted every non-HTC device I have bought. Although the HTC brand is relatively new, the company and products have been around for a very long time. The first ever HTC device I ever picked up was the Compaq Ipaq 3600 series. Back then, HTC used to make devices for companies such as Compaq, O2, IMate and Dopod just to name a few. It wasn’t until a few years ago (I think it was 2006) when it started to brand under it’s own name.
In general, the devices are well built and is considered a premium product. Whenever I can afford an upgrade, it is always worth it to spend the premium that comes with the HTC. However, what makes the HTC great is really the developer community that is out there. In some ways, mobile devices are a very different beast from the PC. Mobile devices are essentially souped up phones. What you see is what you get. Every so often, a manufacturer will release a firmware upgrade but that is really rare. In other ways, mobile devices are very much like PCs. To get them to work with any Operating System, you require the concept of drivers for software to talk to the hardware.
The most active community is called XDA Developers after the O2 XDA phones which is an HTC device. I’m not completely certain about the how the site came about or how they discovered that you could “crack” the O2 XDA. But today, you can always go to the site, look up your phone and look for what is termed as “cooked” ROMS. Typically what happens is that someone will take a ROM, strip it to its bare minimum and then install critical software. The reason why there are so many cooked ROMS is because every different “cook” has his or her version of essential software. More importantly, the community will find ways to update the devices with the latest drivers or software updates to HTC software from other HTC devices. Ultimately, the purpose of the community is to find ways to make the phones more stable.
In my case, I bought an HTC Fuze, which is an AT&T product, from someone on Howard Forums late last year. The problem with the Fuze was that the default ROM was bloated with a lot of software that I don’t need or care for. Second problem is that for the life of me, I can rarely get an AT&T Windows Mobile phone to work properly on Rogers. I typically prefer to get a native HTC ROM. I was able to locate one quickly on the site and I flashed the ROM. The problem was that the keyboard layout for the HTC Touch Pro (native phone) and the HTC Fuze is different. Fortunately, I found a link from xda-developers that gave me a link to fix the keyboard along with other fixes as well. Another major reason why I like HTC is that even if HTC itself doesn’t release an OS ROM upgrade for one of their devices. It’s quite likely that someone from XDA Developers would release a ROM for it. For instance, there’s been a WM 7 released for the Touch Pro and my Dopod Star Trek is already on WM 6.1 when WM 5 was the last official release for that particular device.
An HTC device gets me a phone that is closest to an open-source phone as you can get. Yes, the Windows Mobile is a closed operating system but at least there’s a user community that will help me tweak the daylights out of my phone.