Android and the HTC Rhyme are capable of handling all sorts of text messaging – SMS, MMS, email. Social networking is covered by several apps and widgets, and there’s Gtalk, which can connect you to Google’s chat network and compatible networks too (like Ovi Chat).
The notification area will display a line of an incoming SMS or just the number of messages if there’s more than one. You can set the status LED to alert of unread messages. The Charm cube will do just that as well.
SMS and MMS are displayed in threads – you see a list of all conversations, each one is listed with the contact’s photo, name and the subject of the last message, as well as a part of the actual message (you can set the preview to be one, two or three lines). Tapping on a conversation brings up the entire message history with that contact.
The whole thing looks almost the same as a chat client. When viewing a thread, the most recent message is placed at the bottom.
To add recipients, just start typing a name or number and choose from the contacts offered – the phone will find the contact you want even if you misspell it (e.g. “drx” matches Dexter).
Converting SMS into MMS is as simple as adding some multimedia content to the message. You can just add a photo or an audio file to go with the text, or you can get creative with several slides and photos.
You can enable delivery reports and you can backup text messages to the internal storage memory (and restore them from there later).
Text input on the Rhyme boils down to an on-screen custom-made HTC virtual QWERTY keyboard with big enough, well-spaced keys, which are easy to hit.
The compose text box is big and covers over half of the screen in landscape mode. A tap-and-hold on the text box gives you access to functions such as cut, copy and paste. You are free to paste the copied text across applications like email, notes, chats, etc. and vice versa.
Gingerbread text selection is very user-friendly. Upon a press and hold, a “magnifying glass” appears, enabling accurate cursor movements.
The HTC Rhyme comes with two email clients – the traditional Gmail app and the generic HTC Mail app, which merges all your email accounts into a single inbox.
The Gmail app has the trademark conversation style view and can manage multiple (Gmail) accounts. Batch operations are supported too, in case you need to handle email messages in bulk.
The standard HTC Mail app has been updated too. Emails are organized into three tabs and can be sorted by date, sender, subject, priority or size (both ascending and descending). You can browse all folders for the email account or view all inboxes combined.
If you go for the latter option, emails are color-coded so it's easy to tell which email belongs to which account. You can mass delete emails or mark them as read too (you can't perform other operations en masse like you can in Gmail though).
Back to the tabs. The first one, Received, contains all the emails. Then comes the Thread tab - it groups related emails into conversations (hit the down arrow to see the list), but once you open an email you can only view them one at a time.
There are previous/next buttons in the menu, but it would have been more convenient to view all messages together on the screen (like in the Gmail app).
Anyway, you have a Favorites tab that holds only email from contacts in the Favorites group and an Invite tab that collect invitations from online calendars.
There's hardly anything the HTC Rhyme lacks in terms of email capabilities. The settings for popular email services are automatically configured. POP/IMAP accounts and Active Sync accounts are supported.
The HTC Gallery stacks photos like the vanilla Android gallery does (it used to display a list of thumbnails). The Albums app automatically locates images and videos, no matter where they are stored.
Images and videos stored in different folders appear in different sub-galleries that automatically get the name of the folder – which is an effective file management solution. You can also select which folders the gallery should display.
Ones you pick one of the "stacks" (each representing a folder), you're presented with a grid of the photos inside. There is also a camera shortcut, but it’s only available once you start browsing any of the sub-folders.
Sharing a photo on the HTC Rhyme is very straightforward – tap the share button, pick your preferred sharing method and select one or multiple photos/videos to share. There’s everything from sharing via Bluetooth or email, to posting on Facebook, Twitter or photo-sharing sites like Picasa and Flickr. You can also upload videos straight to YouTube or use DLNA to push photos to your compatible TV too.
You can also mass delete images, but still no mass copy-and-paste options – you’d need a proper file manager for that.
HTC Rhyme supports multi-touch and you can take full advantage of it while browsing your images. You can zoom to 50% with a simple double tap on the screen or continue to pinch zoom until you reach 100%. The implementation here is extra smooth too. And if you pan past the edge of an image, you'll scroll into the next image, which is a handy way to browse multiple photos.