A couple of functions I enjoy on my Apple iPhone is interacting with my friends on social networks and via instant messaging. I have been using several different applications for these interactions and with the inability of the iPhone to multi-task using 3rd party applications this is not a great experience. Over the past week, I have been using the new Pinger Phone application that brings in my Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace social network friends and Yahoo!, AIM, Windows Live, and Google Talk IM contacts for a full and complete solution in a single package. There is also a server back end so that text messages can be used to notify you of new IM replies when Pinger Phone is not running.
Smartphones and Cell Phones
It seems everyone in business has a smartphone today to keep connected to the office and enjoy their time away from the office. Matthew Miller provides you with news, commentary and in-depth reviews of the latest in mobile phones sporting iOS, Android, Wi
Matthew Miller started using a Pilot 1000 in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since.
I like using Pandora on my Apple iPhone and read this week that there is now support for a couple selected Windows Mobile devices. Unfortunately, I don't have either of these two selected devices (HTC Touch and Motorola Q9C on Sprint and Verizon) so need to look elsewhere for online music. There is a beta of last.fm mobile for Windows Mobile devices that seems to work fine. A new client that is optimized for Windows Mobile to give you a great experience is SeeqPod Playable Search that is available for an introductory price of US$9.95 (regular US$14.95). However, if you are reading this blog entry on Sunday, 21 December 2008, then you can go there now and get the application for FREE.
This year we created the ZDNet Holiday Guide and while putting together the best feature phone guide I was particularly intrigued by the Motorola MOTOZINE ZN5 and Samsung Behold from T-Mobile. My contacts at T-Mobile promptly sent them both to me for a couple of weeks and I have had trouble putting one of them back in the box. The lines between features phones and smartphones are definitely getting blurred with phones like these becoming available at some great prices. Read about my thoughts and experiences with both of these devices below and check out my image gallery that has product photos for each device.
When I purchased my T-Mobile G1 a couple of months ago an $18 upgrade fee was applied. This same fee was applied when I bought an HTC Fuze from AT&T just last month too. I've never seen a way to get out of paying this fee and this fee made absolutely no sense to me and is just a way for the carrier to stick you with more unnecessary fees. I was pleased to receive an email this morning that T-Mobile is eliminating this $18 upgrade fee across-the-board and across all channels (retail, online, etc.).
I wrote about the Nokia Email client a few months ago and then last month at Nokia World they announced an updated version was coming. I just read on the Nokia Beta Labs blog that this updated Nokia Messaging version is now available to try out in beta form. There are a ton of improvements in this latest update, many directly addressing the concerns I had with things such as subfolders/labels in Gmail, syncing sent mail to your sent folder online, and faster performance.
While at Mobius last week in Seattle (check out my event summary HTC gave each participant an HTC S740 Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard device. I have a large number of phones and the S740 was one I was particularly interested in trying out in person because I find the non-touch screen Windows Mobile device to be more responsive and more stable than the touch screen devices, in general. There are getting to be fewer and fewer non-touch screen Windows Mobile devices (HTC is really focusing on the Touch line) and while I am still pleased with my T-Mobile Dash and Shadow, I am always on the lookout for the latest and greatest devices. The S740 has one of the coolest form factors I have seen on a Windows Mobile device and so far is performing very well, as I will detail below.
There have been on-device software stores for several years on different Windows Mobile devices, but these were just store front links to Handango. Apple really kicked it up a notch with the Apple App Store and then Google followed suit with the Android Market. Today, there is a bit of buzz around the Palm Software Store that is available for Windows Mobile and Palm OS devices. Don't get too excited about the Palm App Store (will Apple let them keep this name) because it is a simply 28KB file that just adds an icon that serves as a hyperlink to the online Palm Software Store powered by PocketGear and is no different than the Sprint Store or AT&T Mall software links that have been on devices for years.
I enjoy checking out Consumer Reports ratings on products and in their January 2009 issue that was recently posted online they rank smartphones, cellphones, and US wireless carriers. I have to say I was quite surprised by their highest rank choice, not because it isn't a fantastic device, but because I didn't think anyone else besides my friends and a few others though the same thing. The highest ranked smartphone by Consumer Reports is currently the Samsung Blackjack II. While at the Mobius event last week, the BJ II was one of the most popular devices being used by attendees and after using it for several weeks myself I have to say it really is a solid choice.
I just posted some initial thoughts on the speculation surrounding Palm's CES 2009 announcement and then found a great post by Steve O'Hear over on his last100.com site that I recommend you check out. Steve brought out a couple of issues I was thinking about late last night and did not include in my initial post, namely the Palm brand, developer and carrier issues. Steve is pulling for Palm to make a comeback and as a long time fan of Palm (even though they keep disappointing me) I am too.
Kevin announced his new experiment to spend 30 days with his phone only being powered with a solar charge on MobileTechRoundup show #157. Follow his experiment over on jkOnTheRun to see if he can find enough sun and light in the winter to keep his device powered up. I attended the Mobius event last week and gave a short recap of the event and our roller skating contest on the podcast. James and I agreed that ShopSavvy is awesome on the T-Mobile G1 and James also mentioned the issue with turning off data when roaming internationally. We also talked a bit about the subsidized netbook.