Well you feel thats its outdated becuase it DOES use dated hardware, plain and simple.
The Qualcomm msm7600 chipset came out nearly 2 YEARS ago and uses the ARM11 CPU core which came out MANY MANY years ago.
The Eris is basically the last phone to be made with the dated msm7600 chipset.
New phones are coming out in just a few weeks/months with new and far superior chipsets made on 45nm technology which makes the Eris a low-end smart phone. Even the low-end sector of these new chipsets will be just as fast as the Eris but have superior battery life due to 45nm.
Eris is basically 2 year old hardware. Yes you are buying dated hardware and you can clearly see so buy the sluggish performance and slow load/rendering times and of the Eris.
There is a reason why they are trying to get rid of the Eris buy giving it away for free. Eris was basically designed to dump the remaining qualcomm 7600 chipsets and other dated components HTC had in stock to make room for the 45nm units which they already have and ALREADY are Mfring the new phones with which are coming out VERY soon.
Not wanting to get into a back and forth bicker-war, but this is not uncommon in many various industries.
Apple ( among others ) have been doing this for years. They will hang on to old hardware ( they used the GMA950 graphics chipset forever ) and keep repackaging/reselling it. Then they provide a new OS and usually, it's been optimized so well that performance goes up.
Car manufacturers putting a new car body on a 10-year old chassis. If you have something that works and works well, stick with it and tweak it where you can.
From my standpoint, I'm coming from an ATT java "dumb" phone ( Eternity ). When I went to the Verizon store to give the Eris a try, I was blown away. And I owned an iPhone 3g for a few months before I got my Eternity. The performance, screen, apps, handfeel, build quality, HTC Sense, etc. etc. of the Eris is soooo much better than 98% of the phones on the market. Not bad for and "old" phone.
If someone wants to give me that phone for Free ( I'll get better reception from Verizon versus ATT where I live ) I'll take it, no brainer.
You're usually better off staying one or two steps behind the latest/greatest. More time for a product ( and it's software ) to mature and in this case, a nice growing community of folks to lean on for help.