We're already drooling over the HTC Legend and the Sony Ericsson X10, the Android smart phones that are coming to Vodafone this April. But we're not so hungry for Voda's special sauce of Vodafone 360, which is going to be sprinkled over the phones' Android deliciousness.
Vodafone 360 is a cloud-based service that offers to sync your contacts and photos from your phone to the Web. It also has a music store, an app store, and a browser home page portal that you can customise with links and widgets.
Vodafone is going to pre-install two Vodafone 360 apps on the Legend and the X10, giving access to its music store and home page portal. Vodafone has previously demonstated an app that connects the address book part of Vodafone 360 to Android, which will be available along with other 360 apps sometime after the phone is launched in April.
A music store could be handy -- although Android also offers the Amazon MP3 store -- but we don't think Vodafone 360's social-networking aspirations will find much purchase on the Legend. The phone already has the HTC Sense user interface, which includes a single inbox for your Gmail and Facebook contacts, and a friend-stream app that brings your tweets and status updates together in one widget.
The X10 has a similar feature called Timescape, so Vodafone 360 looks like it could end up as just another social-netwoking aggregator that's differentiated only by the lack of interest anyone has in using it.
Vodafone 360 was launched on two flagship phones -- the disappointing Samsung H1 and the Samsung M1 -- and various other phones support apps that give access to some parts of the service. But, like Nokia's Ovi thingumajig, it's failed to make much of an impression due to its lack of features compared to other social networks, and its inability to share data outside of its own walled garden.
Happily, Vodafone assures us its pre-loaded apps will be unobtrusive and we can ignore them or uninstall them, so they won't permanently pollute the Legend or the X10's loveliness.
Update: A previous version of this story, published on 15 March, speculated as to the extent of Vodafone 360's intrusion on the HTC Legend. We've updated the article with information from Vodafone on how 360 will be implemented on both the Legend and the X10.