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10/21/2011
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No Reason For Rhyme Until Smartphone Is Cheaper

The HTC Rhyme, a new mid-range Verizon Wireless smartphone, woos fashionistas with color-coordinated accessories.

The HTC Rhyme, HTC's latest Android smartphone, is designed to address the whole work-life balance thing, with an emphasis on simplicity and fun. Though HTC doesn't come out and say it--and does feature a token male in a promo video--this thin-and-light mid-range Verizon Wireless-powered Gingerbread phone is clearly aimed at female consumers with its color choices (brushed, silver, olive, and purple) and its notification "charm," a matching dongle that blinks when you get a call or email.


The HTC Rhyme has "charm".

As a consumer-targeted phone, the Rhyme lacks processing and graphical power, and might not cut it with all enterprise apps. But this is not to say that the Rhyme is not enterprise capable. It's got great battery life and makes a great messaging device. I've got an Exchange mail account on it with corporate-level security enabled. The device synchronizes mail, contacts, and tasks easily. Its tasks application, the first stock tasks app that I've seen on Android and from HTC, is enabled by default and it's been pinging me with reminders for due and past due tasks since its initial sync with my corporate Exchange email account. Despite its non-professional focus, I would not be surprised to see requests for this consumer device in the enterprise as a Blackberry replacement for messaging.
Click here for a visual tour of the HTC Rhyme, its key features, and software.

The HTC Rhyme's charm, an accessory that plugs into the device's 3.5mm headset jack, can be clipped onto the outside of a purse or satchel. It blinks when the device receives a call, message, or email. It's a great idea as phones of any and all types tend to make their way to the bottom of a bag. Many a call, text, and email has been missed because the owner didn't hear the ring or couldn't find the device in time. With the charm attached to the HTC Rhyme, you're notified of the event and can at least follow the cord and fish the phone out of your bag without rummaging around for it. Like I said, great idea--but probably not meant for guys, most of whom keep their phones in a pocket.

In keeping with its keep-it-simple credo, the Rhyme comes with a lighter version of HTC's Sense user interface. Called Quick Launch, this interface has a simpler weather and clock widget and static, nonconfigurable application shortcuts equipped with trays. Tapping the right end of the Mail shortcut, for instance, pops out a tray showing your latest Exchange email. Tap Message to pop out the text message tray, Calendar to see appointments, and Camera to see mini thumbnails of the last three pictures you took.

If you don't like the simpler interface, you can always switch back to the standard HTC Sense UI. However, Quick Launch is a much better option for this mid-range device than the standard weather/clock widget, with the full video effects of Sense UI. It makes for a lighter and faster-responding default interface, and you can still get access to the whole kit and caboodle if you want it.

Up close
The Rhyme includes a desktop dock with a built in speaker that works with its built in music player. Its great for listening to music and for charging your device. Once resting in its dock, it switches to landscape mode, displays a desktop clock, and goes into a day/night mode that dims the screen enough to be visible in the dark without keeping you awake. Unfortunately, the dock will not create a USB connection between the device and your computer.

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