16 Feb 2011
By Warwick Bray

Desire S: A sequel that’s better than the original


Last year Telstra’s first Android smartphone, the HTC Desire, was a huge hit with our customers and went on to become one of our top-sellers.

So it’s only fitting that we’ve teamed up with HTC to bring its successor– the HTC Desire S – to Australia in 2011.

Unveiled overnight at the Mobile World Congress, the Desire S will be available exclusively on Telstra’s Next G™ network when it arrives in Australia in the first half of this year.

It will feature the latest Android Gingerbread operating system as well as a powerful processor that makes for fast, responsive multitasking.

HTC Desire S
It promises to provide snappy web-browsing too with a mobile chipset capable of faster mobile internet speeds on the Next G™ network.

And, like its predecessor, it will feature a vibrant 3.7-inch touch screen and access to thousands of Android apps.

HTC will craft the Desire S out of a single piece of aluminium — which makes for a really elegant, solid look and feel.

Pricing and availability for the HTC Desire S will be announced closer to the launch date.

HTC Desire S – key features

  • 3.7-inch touch screen
  • HSDPA 14.4 Mbps peak download rating. Actual speeds are less.
  • Weight: 130 grams
  • Size: 115 x 59.8 x 11.63 mm
  • Google™ services including Google Mail™, Google™ search, YouTube™, Google Calendar™ and Google Maps™
  • 5 megapixel colour camera with power LED flash
  • Processor: 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon™
  • Operating system: Google™ Android Gingerbread
  • More than 100,000 apps on Android Market


Posts: 7


  1. Paul says:

    Erm, wasn’t the Desire HD the sequel to the original Desire? What about the Desire Z?

    I have a DHD, and the Desire S is definitely NOT better than that.

    Desire S = ‘S’lightly better then original Desire

    • brum says:

      Using your logic, the 7inch HTC Flyer is CLEARLY “better”.

      Screen size is a preference not a classifier of quality. IMO 3.7″ is about perfect 4+ is too big for ME. I really like this phone size and design, looks heaps better than the original Desire.

      Desire HD is a different class being 4.x”

    • Vancouver Guy says:

      I agree with Brum 100%

    • brum says:

      Sorry for the snap-age Paul but I stand by my comment fully.

  2. Aaron says:

    Having had the original Desire for 9 months on a Telstra plan, will Telstra off me a free upgrade to this phone :D

    Please let that be a choice!

  3. Adrian says:

    Any ETA on when this will be available?

  4. Gregory Bradley (Telstra Employee) says:

    Evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but building on a solid base. I was very impressed with the original Desire.

    • brum says:

      It’s true, it was a strong offering and got rave reviews, I think it’s still got a solid position in the market.

  5. Dan Adcock says:

    As someone who first adopted the Desire, I’ve been wondering what to replace it with when the time comes. Nothing as yet has reached out and grabbed me. Imagine my excitement when I saw the headline for this story – but the specs are disappointing. Besides the upgrade to Gingerbread, an updated look to the device itself and the increase in download speeds – it’s the same phone.

  6. Graham Mitchell says:

    The improvements will, in effect, be fairly minor.
    The reason I never went for the original Desire was the rubbish battery life; if this is significantly better then it may be tempting.
    However many other phones arriving this year leave this warmed over Desire trailing in their wake.
    Pricing will be critical…

  7. Leon Benikof says:

    When will people with HTC Desire get an upgrade to Gingerbread

  8. Jason (Telstra Staff) says:

    Hi Warwick – Do you know what the plans are for retrofitting the Desire and Mozart etc with Gingerbread?

  9. Nick says:

    I’m confused? What about the HTC Desire HD? It’s way more spec’d than this one. For a start it has a massive 4.3 inch display, an 8mp camera and no doubt will be getting the same gingerbread update. Telstra, PLEASE put this one on?

    • Adrian says:

      There isn’t a version made by HTC which supports 850MHZ 3G :(

    • Grant says:

      Sure there is – it’s sold under the “Inspire 4G” branding by AT&T.

      Esssentially a slightly higher spec Desire HD.

    • abbots says:

      mobicity sells them, DHD 850 NextG

    • Billy Binks says:

      hey guys first if telstra dont sell it in a telstra shop it is never next g it might run on the frequency but its not, or we def would have got it and AT&T have two types of 850 handsets one thats CDMA and one that takes a sim.

  10. Disappointed says:

    why would Telstra go with this sub-par phone? HTC Desire S doesnt stand up to the other ‘S’ phones in the market (Nexus S, Galaxy S). Even the Galaxy S is 6 months old and it has better specs than this phone.

    HTC is still recording in 720p when others have progressed to 1080p
    HTC still has very little onboard memory (1.1G compared with 8-16-32G on others)
    HTC still uses a 5MP camera when others have progressed to 8MP.
    HTC still uses a 1Ghz snapdragon processor when others have progressed to dual-core 1Ghz chips.
    HTC still has a 3.7′ screen when others are 4′ or above.

    This is a real disappointment. I was hoping for an announcement of exclusivity on an LG Optimus 2X, or Motorola Atrix, or Galaxy S 2. HTC was a 1 hit wonder with the Desire. Time to get with the program guys.

    • Pyta says:

      Why is having a 3.7″ screen such a bad thing? I can’t stand the 4.3″ screens, they make the phone too big. IMO the 3.7″ is the perfect size.

    • Greg C says:

      Well I upgraded from Desire to Desire s, paid for phone outright. I am happy with the screen size etc as 4 + screens are to big and this phone fits nice in hand. I love the phone and was looking at buying an iPhone or WP7 after an hour of looking over the 3 phones on offer, the Desire S won out for what I needed in a phone.
      1. Buy what you need, not just because your friend has brand X.
      2. Make a product comparison sheet and score the phones on spec’s and your needs and buy the one that wins out.
      3. Bad move iPhone. As the ram is on main board, so you have to destroy the ram to fully make sure your details can not be recovered. 90% of people have no idea how to remove ALL the personal / work data from a phone.
      This was another reason for HTC as micro cards can be removed making destroying personal data easier.

  11. Nathan Stevens [Telstra Staff] says:

    Looks pretty nice! Amazing that these phones are now coming out with the ability to shoot 720p HD video out of the box as well…wasn’t that long ago when shooting 640×480 on your mobile was amazing!

  12. Si says:

    I hope with more and more versions of Desires now hitting the market that HTC do not stop providing updates for existing customers who may have the original Desire.

    Loss of the trackball is a shame as this is handy for SMS editing, but has a bit more grunt in specs as a trade off I guess. Other software feature upgrades you can already get for your Desire. Don’t see me wanting to trade my std Desire in quite yet…

    I would still like to see on a future Desire design, multimedia controls such as play/pause/skip on side of phone, front facing video phone, USB Input for periperals and support for the slighly bigger SD card (forget the name) to give some larger storage capacity options since microSD is still smallish. Dual SIM card slots and some better quality accessories would be awesome too but a pipe dream!

  13. Shane says:

    Good to hear Telstra will have branded and Gingerbread ROM. Now what are the chances of one being released for the standard Desire at the same time? Will it just be a debacle of delays like 2.2?

  14. Russwll (Telstra Employee) says:

    Does this phone have the hotspot feature?

  15. spatch says:

    Good news for Telstra customers along with the news of the Sony Ericsson Xperia neo, but I’d still like to see Telstra take a more forward-thinking approach to their handset range. The Sony Ericsson Xperia arc and Motorola Atrix would be welcome additions to the line of Android handsets Telstra plans to carry in 2011.

  16. paul says:

    I too liked the look of the original Desire, then I found out it was exclusive to Telstra. So, I chose another phone and couldn’t have been happier.

    Now I’ve got the DHD, which is nothing short of amazing

  17. Steve says:

    Hopefully this will be released on the $49 cap plan

  18. Rookie says:

    were is 2.2 for the galaxy???? What is going on????

  19. spatch says:

    I agree that 3.7 inch screens make day-to-day tasks easier to accomplish, however the main focus for many (if not all) of these phones is media consumption — movies, internet browsing & game play — and a 4.3 inch screen aids all of these activities to no end. If you only want to use your phone for calls & text, there are plenty of dumb phones still available for next to nothing — you don’t need a touch screen, and you certainly don’t even need 3.7 inches.

    • brum says:

      It’s all subjective, making a value judgement like that is just ignorant. Yes gameplay and video consumption is on the rise but your usage is not an indication of market trends. 3.7″ is perfect for me.

  20. graeme says:

    As an original HTC desire owner I am happy with the device except for the battery life which is rubbish, seriously.
    I see no mention of this in the above article.

    I feel strongly that any further releases of HTC desire hardware spinoffs should remedy this matter or be left alone for the good of your sanity particularly if you are a business user or on the road a lot.

    Telstra has a good reputation for best practise technology and should reflect this in the high end phone models it purveys, in my humble opinion. Telstra is no doubt a premium service and that is why I am with them, for reliability and good customer service. I want access to the Rolls Royce of smart phones. Superior battery life, Android Power and Bug Free operation. Make it available and all problems are solved. I’m looking forward to the release of Motorola Atrix Dual Core, which seems to be the next evolution in smart phones.

    • Adrian says:

      I’m an original Desire owner also. My phone’s battery life is acceptable to me, I get 2 days out of it with moderate usage but heavy usage will only give me 1 day. I usually charge every night so that is fine for me.

      Don’t forget its a smartphone, with a big screen and 1ghz CPU, you’re not going to get 4 days heavy usage out of it like your old Nokia 3315 etc

    • brum says:

      Give it 3yrs and your dreams will probably come true, unfortunately its just not that simple. I am predicting the Atrix will be plagued by bugs galore. Great phone, concept and great for the industry but as with any envelope pushing, it will hardly be a smooth ride. iPhone 1 had plenty of issues and some live on today.

      The current state smartphone industry is still very young. Plenty of cash is being invested in R&D and we will see the fruit of improved battery and screen energy consumption in the next few years.

      The software is also still not mature as many legacy OSs have more core options and customisation then the latest ground up OSs, it just takes time.

  21. Tim says:

    This is this the biggest fail I’ve ever heard.
    Telstra, you are essentially re-releasing my phone. The only difference – a unibody design? Please.

    Considering there are a handful of dual-core phones already slated for a Q2 release, why don’t you guys jump onboard?
    Whoever decided to release the Desire S should get fired.

    • brum says:

      If you look around, support of the proven form factor (evolution) is not uncommon in this space. I have no question that a 4+”/dual core Android phone will come to Telstra shortly.

    • Greg C says:

      @ Tim, no it is not Telstra making the phone, its HTC. The Desire S is basically an upgrade of the older model. Like car companies do, they change the grille and other features 1/2 way thru a model and rename it series 2 etc.
      The reason for the Desire S is the original Desire will not be able to run sense 3.0 or later versions of OS.
      I still have my Desire and take it for a spin now and then and the difference between the two phones is amazing. Responsiveness, web browsing are faster & camera is better also. My battery on Desire S is better also.
      These are just my views.

  22. Stephen says:

    I can’t believe the phone that are in the market place and Telstra appear to be just smart arse’s in not getting the latest and the best, Who buys these phone! I have been sitting back forever to get the newest Androide 2.2 and to get it you have to buy the HTC Desire (the old model) and then have to download the software, COME ON.

    • brum says:

      Welcome to Android fragmentation. It’s a complex issue that is not the fault of Telstra.

      It’s a problem that Google and every other Android hardware manufacturers are facing. An unfortunate consequence of the flexibility of Android and disconnection of OEMs from the origin of the platform. Googles solution is the Nexus S for now, seems like the issue isn’t going away any time soon.

  23. spatch says:

    I am very familiar with the issue of screen size. As one of the brave few who went with the HTC HD2 back in the day, it was daunting to step up to a 4.3 inch screen. Let me tell you that it was all kinds of magnificent. This phone became my all-in-one portable media device, and I watched movies, TV shows video podcasts & trailers on my interminable but rides to work in complete satisfaction.

    When it came time to upgrade in January, my 4.3 inch choices with Telstra were very limited. Had Telstra honoured it’s promise from October 2010 and released the HTC HD7, the decision would have been a no-brainer. Instead, I had to “settle” for the relatively small HTC Mozart with it’s 3.7 inch screen. While I adore the phone and Microsoft’s fresh take on the mobile OS, I really miss the extra screen real estate. Game play just isn’t as much fun, movies are a little too small, and overall the phone just doesn’t look as impressive as the HD2.

    Given the choice in future, I will always go for a 4+ inch screen over 3.5 to 3.9. That’s why Telstra’s decision after MWC to once again offer it’s loyal customer base a revamped HTC Desire and the puny Sony Erricsson Xperia neo is so disappointing and smacks of fear, and must have been the “safe choice”. Despite the fact that 90% of the handsets announced so far this year have all been 4 inches or more, Telstra didn’t have a lot of success with the HD2 or (I imagine) the Sony Erricsson Xperia X10, so they have fallen back on the safer 3.7 inch form factor.

    Come on, Telstra — give your loyal fans what they truly want. No more shoddy resistive-screened tablets; we want big & bold handsets with state-of-the-art specs to truly make Telstra the carrier of choice in Australia.

  24. LindsayGT says:

    The Desire was my first “Smartphone”. Right now it is in for repair because of the dreaded Random Rebooting whilst browsing the Net. 6 months old!!! HTC will not acknowledge that there is a problem worldwide with this phone.
    I very much doubt that I will be making another HTC purchase. Mind you, if it was not for HTCs intransigence, I would most certainly recommend this phone. I would really like a new, fully working replacement.
    I’m now thinking I might like a larger screen but what choice with Telstra???

  25. BC says:

    I can’t wait for this phone.
    I’m not a Desire owner, my smart phone is 2 years old, so the S will be a significant upgrade. And it’s Telstra.
    I’m not sweating on the dual-cores, will be an expensive and maturing technology with no huge benefit for my purposes.
    Desire S has the latest Sense, latest Android, more RAM and dedicated graphics.
    That’s future proof enough for me!

  26. Todd says:

    I spoke to Telstra today because going into various Telstra shops I found no-one had any idea and got MANY conflicting reports that it was even in existance !
    It is available now at mobilcity for around $700AUD and is unlocked, Telstra will have it in their shops within the first 2 weeks of this month (April) as they’re still doing tests apparently.

    • Thomas says:

      Mobicity have dropped it to $599 now. Probably because you can buy them from eBay for $475. Both are imports and neither support 850 freq so no NextG for either.
      Wish the big T would hurry up with its “Testing” seeing that everyone else has finished theres are declared it fit for sale.

  27. brum says:

    After seeing the Sensation, Sense 3.0 and hearing it wont be available on older handsets, I’m not as keen to get this. I like the look of the new sense and if this doesn’t get it then it doesn’t seem like a smart buy.

    Maybe Legend S is on its way with Sense 3.0 to boot or we might get the Incredible S but that doesn’t have Sense 3.0 either… Oh well, once again the tech industry moves so fast it is hard to justify buying a thing. :)

  28. BC says:

    It’s all down to marketing I think, Telstra will have worked out the ideal release date factoring in continuing strong sales of the current Desire and new-ish Android phones in their lineup with the Motorola Defy. As soon as the Desire S comes out those two phones immediately become a little redundant.
    Plus they’ve just released a HTC Windows phone of which they won’t want any shine taken away.
    I’m guessing second half of May.

  29. johnd says:

    Telstra announced exclusivity of the Desire S in Feb and have not had any updates since.

    The Incredible S was officially launched less than two weeks ago and Optus has already updated their websites with a release date (1st May)!

    C’mon T, thow us a bone :)

    Has anyone bought the phone from mobicity? Any feedback or thoughts?

  30. Kevin says:

    So I’ve only signed up to Telstra with a 3GS last April… I know shoot me.. didn’t wait for the iPhone 4, anyway I’ve woken up and have seen the light on the other side and there is a greener and more playful field on the other side and have decided to move away from the dreaded iPhone and to something more practical.

    So Telstra, what can you do for me, am I eligible for any sort of upgrade to a Desire S when it comes out?

  31. Matt says:

    As you have stated the phone will be out in first half of the year can I assume its late June?

    If there isn’t an anouncement before the end of May, I’ll be signing up with Optus and the HTC incredible S.

    I can’t keep waiting with no information.

    Help me join Telstra, just give us an updated date.


    • Sunil [Telstra Exchange Producer] says:

      Hi JohnD, thanks for the link but I do believe the article mentions the fixed launch date not the release date.

Leave a Comment