A couple weeks ago Om Malik wrote an article in the NY Times titled, Why Windows Mobile is in Trouble, and most of the focus was on how the T-Mobile G1 and Google Android poses the biggest threat to Windows Mobile. The article gives an honest assessment of where Windows Mobile is at this time and concludes by stating that Windows Mobile is not a lost cause, but does need to take some actions to stay current and relevant in the mobile space. I agree with this bottom line, but also don't think Microsoft has too much to worry about with the first Google Android device (the G1). I have been using the G1 for two weeks now and while it is great to see a mainstream Linux mobile OS, I am also heavily using my Treo Pro to get things done and stay in touch on the go. I don't see a lot of people standing up and saying they prefer and like using Windows Mobile, but I know there are lots of people out there that do enjoy using this platform and I am one of them.
Smartphones and Cell Phones
Matthew Miller provides you with news, commentary and in-depth reviews of the latest in mobile phones sporting iOS, Android, and Windows.
Matthew Miller started using mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host, with ZDNet's Kevin Tofel, of the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned more than 200 different devices running Palm, Linux, Symbian, Newton, BlackBerry, iOS, Android, webOS, Windows Mobile, and Windows Phone operating systems. His current collection includes a Nokia Lumia 830, Apple iPhone 6 Plus, BlackBerry Passport, Sony Xperia Z3, Microsoft Surface Pro 3, and many more, along with tons of accessories and classic devices like the Apple Newton MessagePad 2100 and Sony CLIE UX50. Matthew can be found on various discussion forums under the user name of "palmsolo".
I just returned from a meeting in Houston and then found I was unable to access the Android Market or surf with the browser, while Gmail and IM seemed to work fine. I went online to check my T-Mobile account details and there was no data services selected on my account. When I ordered my G1 online I signed up for the US$25 data plan and 400 messages and was getting data just fine until today. I called up T-Mobile customer service and found out that T-Mobile gave everyone who bought a G1 free data access for a while (seems to be about 10 days for me) before the system was supposed to automatically add the G1 data plan. Apparently, my switch didn't get automatically flipped over so the customer service representative made the update manually and I should have full data access again in the next few hours.
Applications for the Apple iPhone continue to be released at a rapid pace and it looks like DataViz may be the first to launch with a full Office (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) suite in its Documents To Go application. Evernote also continues to be updated and now supports offline note creation and storage for those times when you do not have a wireless connection available.
I just posted some of my thoughts on the battery issues I have been experiencing and a reader sent me a link to this T-Mobile forums discussion where it seems the way to improve the battery life is to turn everything off. It is funny that someone actually had to post the details about this because it is obvious that turning off the 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and auto-syncing will conserve your battery. However, didn't you just pay good money for a powerful mobile computer that lets you stay in touch and connected with the world at all times. If you bought the G1 to use primarily as a mobile phone, then I think there are some valid tips in this forum. However, why not just buy a rock solid Nokia phone that provides much better call quality if all you want is a mobile phone?
One fun aspect about the T-Mobile G1, and I imagine the same thing occurs with the Apple iPhone, is visiting the Android Market regularly to check what applications and games have been added. I visited the Android Market several times this weekend, without seeing much of anything going on. However, while browsing my RSS feeds this morning, I ran across Michael Gartenberg's post on the Android Market update and went to check out the Android Developer's blog. I then launched the Android Market and found a mini-explosion of applications with there currently being 61 applications and 20 games available. This is still a drop in the bucket compared to the iPhone, S60, and Windows Mobile platforms, but it is still early in the game.
I have used several mobile video streaming applications on my S60 devices and keep coming back to Qik as my default client. Qik now has clients for S60, Windows Mobile, Java-based devices, and jailbroken iPhones with more clients coming. Last night they announced an alpha release for select BlackBerry devices, including the Pearl 8120/8130, BlackBerry Curve 8320/8330 and BlackBerry Bold. Support for the Flip is coming soon too. The BlackBerry you want to run this on must have BlackBerry OS 4.5 or above.
I've had lots of experiences with the HTC Touch Diamond and think it is a wonderful device for those who like touch screen devices, but I still prefer to have a hardware keyboard. HTC and Sprint just officially announced the launch of the HTC Touch Pro that will be available in retailers starting next week for US$299.99 with a 2-year committment, qualified plan, and US$100 mail-in rebate. The HTC Touch Pro adds a slider QWERTY keyboard with 5 full rows for accurate text entry.
With all of the news surrounding the Google Android Linux device (see my full review) it seems that ACCESS didn't want people to forget they are still working on a mobile Linux operating system called the ACCESS Linux Platform (ALP). We learned about some screenshots that were shown in August 2007 and it seems that ACCESS continues to work on the operating system. PalmInfocenter has the latest news that the ALP is up to version 3.0 and the version designed for mobile phones will be known as ALP mini. However, it still sounds like we won't see devices with this Linux OS until late 2009.
I took a look at a Samsung Windows Mobile phone at Mobile World Congress earlier this year that was labeled the SGH-i780 and since then there has been a lot of speculation that the device would eventually come to the US. Yesterday, Samsung and AT&T announced the availability of a variant of this device, now dubbed the Samsung Epix. While most all of the specifications of these high end Windows Mobile devices are the same now, the Epix is unique due to its small touch sensitive pad (also seen on the Samsung OMNIA) instead of a more standard directional pad.
While I am enjoying the Google Android experience, I have to say I do miss the one-handedness and long battery life of my BlackBerry Curve. The Gmail application on the G1 is one of its main strengths, but Google just released Gmail for mobile 2.0 that adds a couple of those same great Android features (basic offline support and multiple drafts). Gmail for mobile 2.0 is available J2ME and BlackBerry devices, but I imagine Windows Mobile will be following shortly.
The day before I received my black G1 (DO NOT BUY the brown one because you won't be able to see the keyboard in most lighting conditions) Google took the Android Market offline for maintenance to make sure things were up and running for the full retail launch. Applications then slowly started trickling back onto the Android Market and now there are 47 applications and 15 games currently available to download and install for free. All the ones I wrote about using on my evaluation device are back up after the Video Player finally appeared overnight. You can also load up applications found online and I think we will soon see these on the Android Market too. I also discovered a few new applications that have now become part of my daily usage and have some favorites already.
The BlackBerry Bold is available now in select countries, but there have been a few delays getting it out in the U.S. It looks like that is no longer the case as AT&T just announced that the Bold will be available on Tuesday, 4 November, for as low as US$299.99 (with qualifying plan and contract).
I recently posted some of my experiences with 11 applications I installed from the Android Market on my evaluation T-Mobile G1 and was pleased with most all of those selected applications. I just received my own purchased black G1 today, do not buy the brown one or you won't be able to see the keyboard in most lighting conditions, and understand that the Android Market was reset for launch. Applications are appearing over time, but I was quite disappointed to find that key applications I enjoyed using were not there yet. These include the video player, PacMan, Android Says, and QuickList.
Apple made the on device application store popular with the iPhone App Store and we have the Android Market available today with the T-Mobile G1. Nokia has had a Download section on their devices, but it is unrefined and offers different device-specific downloads with a very poor user interface. The BlackBerry Developer Conference is going on this week and the latest press release states that RIM will be launching the application storefront in March 2009 for on-device and on the web locations for managing your 3rd party applications. You can sign up to learn more about the BlackBerry Application StoreFront today.
I was checking out jkOnTheRun this morning and read their post on new HP Windows Mobile phones that lead to the details on the wmpoweruser.com site. Sam wrote last month that HP was jumping deeper into the smartphone market after a couple years trying to sell their iPAQ line that largely focused on the enterprise buyer. These two new devices, the iPAQ Voice Messenger and Data Messenger, actually look quite modern and may appeal to consumers as well.
The best of ZDNet, delivered
- 1 Best 10 smartphones at the close of 2014
- 2 Six Clicks: Useful things you can do with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 S Pen
- 3 BlackBerry Passport review: World's best QWERTY in a uniquely functional form factor
- 4 Best unlocked smartphones (February 2014)
- 5 Samsung Galaxy Note Edge review: Stroke of genius in a black slab world