Walmart is currently offering the HTC Wildfire S for the lowest price ever at 53% off of its list price and reflects the increasingly marginalized position of the phone in comparison to Virgin Mobile’s current lineup, which consists of Android devices with 4G WiMax support and Ice Cream Sandwich as well as the iPhone.
At the time of the release of the HTC Wildfire S, Virgin Mobile was slowly expanding its Beyond Talk lineup in its second wave of Android devices, with the Wildfire S being the first HTC device on Virgin Mobile to launch with Android Gingerbread, though its launch was unusually low-key, being overshadowed by the popularity of the Optimus V and the newer devices such as the Triumph.
As a result, while the Wildfire S improved on the Optimus V by launching with Gingerbread and a 5.0 megapixel camera with LED flash, the rest of the phone left a lot to be desired, as the hardware specifications led many to believe that it was quickly thrown together with little thought, even though it was announced just last year. As as result, even with Android Gingerbread, 5.0 megapixel camera with LED flash and 720p video capture, the Wildfire S was left to languish on shelves with no hope of being updated past Gingerbread and the Sense user interface did more harm than good.
The low memory of the phone meant that the user experience was less than optimal in practice, owing to its 512MB RAM and 600MHz processor that was pre-Scorpion and pre-Snapdragon in terms of processor design, harking back to the older MSM series of processors used in Windows Mobile 5.x and 6.x devices, which meant slow performance and lag more often than not, despite having a dedicated GPU included. The low-end specifications also spelled problems for owners, as the preloaded apps took up precious space for installing more apps and frequently required the use of alternatives such as App2SD in order to improve performance and usability.
Even with all of that said, the phone still makes for an above average media player and back up phone so long as changes are made to improve performance, and the phone can even be flashed to newer Android versions in order to get the most out of the hardware. With the One V taking its place, the Wildfire S can now be relegated to the carrier desk drawer and a footnote in HTC’s device history as a good idea (entry-level Android smartphone), with a poor execution in terms of hardware and future support.