News is coming through that Vodafone have tied up an exclusive deal with HTC for their Legend handset. The Legend is the successor to the very successful Hero. Vodafone has posted up an image which indicates it is going to be a Vodafone exclusive. Great news for current and potential Vodafone customers. But is it good news for the rest of us?
The HTC Legend is an exemplary piece of mobile kit, it’s uni-body design and Sense UI overlay is going to attract a lot of attention. Much like the Hero it will be a success, mainly for 2 very specific reasons:
- It’s a natural upgrade for those that currently own a Hero and would like to stick with something similar. With a refresh of design and a few little upgrades it would be welcome upgrade for the not so fussy and cutting edge.
- The Legend is aimed at the mid-range market, which is very successful and usually more affordable than the top end. Mid-range handsets usually sell a lot more and appeal to a larger audience.
Whilst these two reasons may be a good positive for Vodafone customers and Hero owners or those that happened to fall into both categories, worryingly if this exclusive deal is going to last for anything longer than 9 months, then it could be bad news for the market and consumers in general. Purchasing a Legend would most definitely mean either getting a Vodafone contract, or buying it SIM free, leaving minimal room for competitive pricing. Which usually equates to it being more expensive and less flexible for the consumer.
What’s even more worrying is that, there is talk Vodafone will be giving the Legend the 360 treatment – blasphemy! It’s pretty clear I’m not a fan of Operator branding of handsets, as a fan and enthusiast I prefer my handsets to be pure and enjoyed as the manufacture intended to be. I’m not against branding by operators IF they do it right, but that’s a BIG IF, as history has shown operators do not get them right and usually the user suffers a horrible experience from outdated firmware, unwanted extras and hideous UI modifications.
I’m hoping this exclusive deal is not a permanent or long one and hopefully there will be more choice for users to enjoy what is potentially a gorgeous, modern device which oozes style, sophistication and openness.