Tuesday, November 10, 2009

HTC Hero with Spotify Premium? Yes please!

The HTC Hero. Running Google Android. And Spotify Premium. Powered by 3.

The HTC Hero

This is clearly and unarguably an amazing combination of technology. The HTC Hero is a fantastically designed piece of hardware from what I have read, and I’ve definitely done my research. The only truly negative thing seems to be a slight sluggishness, but then it seems the latest firmware solves at lot of these issues anyway. So we’re golden. Similarly, Android is clearly the way forward with mobile operating systems. Some literally ground breaking things are already happening with the operating system and the combination of open-source development with Google at the helm means things are only going to get better, and fast.

Spotify needs no introduction I’m sure. This is easily one of the most important pieces of software in recent years and I’ve often toyed with the idea of shelling out for a premium account. Consider the constant updating of their music catalogue and the additional content available to premium members, the service gets better every week. I’ve given in and paid for the odd day pass, but to have a Spotify Premium account in my pocket – let’s just say it’s a very, VERY large factor in why this particular deal is so incredible.

I heard about this deal in mid-October and was instantly intrigued. The deal was with 3 who I’ve been with for the past 16 months. This had a few advantages – I was familiar with the service and generally haven’t had any problems with them. Also, they’re big on Skype and even on my K660i I’ve had free use of Skype despite not having an internet add-on. Lastly, despite having 2 months of my contract left I was in the “upgrade phase” so hopefully I could migrate as soon as I wanted to. 3 had a splash page about the deal which at the time just listed the general contract details and had a box for entering your email address since the Hero wasn’t available yet.

The contract itself seems like a pretty good deal. It’s a 24 month commitment which has unlimited texts, internet and 3-to-3 calls. Skype is also free without eating into the bandwidth fair usage policy and 750 voice minutes are provided each month for other network calls. This came to a grand total of £35 a month, a little over £10 more than I was currently spending. However, remember that this price included the Spotify Premium account which if you buy stand-alone is £9.99. Since I’ve been thinking about going premium for a while, this seemed like a perfect deal. I popped in my email address and was left with nothing to do but wait and dream about phones.

The deal launched at some point last week and I spent a good while thinking about the best time to upgrade. The Spotify deal was only on until the end of November but I should have a pay-day before then. I decided it would be the best idea to wait until I had some money and then see if it still felt like the right thing to do. That was before today.

When I got in from work I had an email from 3 with the title “Spotify on the HTC Hero – Exclusive to 3″. I thought, apart from them being a little behind sending the email out, it wasn’t really of any interest since I’d hardly forgotten about the deal. Opening it up however I found these words:

The HTC Hero is here

And because you signed up to receive info about this award-winning mobile, we’re offering you an exclusive deal: get the HTC Hero with 24 months’ Spotify Premium without paying the usual up front charge.

Save £97.86

I had to read it several times. The only reason I hadn’t gone for the deal already was because of that up-front cost which I really couldn’t afford. Still reading the email I started frantically dialling the 3 sales team at which point my mobile told me my battery was low. I pulled my charger out of my laptop bag and dashed into the kitchen, whacking my knee on the table in the process, to the nearest free plug socket – unplugging things in this room would have wasted precious moments! About 30 seconds after receiving the email I was ordering my HTC Hero and it was costing me nothing.

The only downside was I would have to sign up with a new contract – I wouldn’t be able to upgrade my current one. I thought this was a little strange but it was a very good, limited time offer so I could see their potential reasoning. Still, if I was saving £98 and only had two months of a £21 contract left, I could live with paying off that last commitment and still saving over £50, not to mention the over £100 I was saving on the 24 month Spotify subscription. I asked the guy about swapping my number over to the new contract (I’ve only ever had one mobile number and would like to keep it that way) and he said a quick call to customer service could get my current contract cancelled and my number transferred to a pay as you go SIM for transfer when my new phone arrived. A bit of an effort but all in the name of savings.

I thought I’d get it out of the way and so picked up the phone to customer service and explained the situation. The guy on the other end of the phone then proceeded to tell me that I could have just upgraded and still got the deal. This. Was. Amazing! Yes, I do mean amazing! Suddenly not only was I getting the deal of the year, I wouldn’t have to pay two months of my old contract and fuss about with swapping my number. This called saved me another £42 – they were virtually paying me to buy their phone!

I’m not sure why the first operator seemed to think I couldn’t upgrade but I don’t really care, this deal has worked out amazingly every step of the way. The upshot is I now have two HTC Hero’s heading to my home due to arrive Thursday. I’ll have to send back the one that was created on the new contract of course (and 3 will provide packaging to post it back for free, which is cool) but it’s a small price to pay for the deal I’ve been lusting over which so far has actually profited me.

Today has been a very good day.

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