I recently had the chance to meet with Ford Davidson from Dashwire to discuss their new free service that is starting to roll out today. Dashwire is a service that mirrors the content on your mobile phone to a personal web account. I personally was quite excited about the service because I see it as a great way to manage my photos taken with my devices, stay in touch with people via SMS when I am at work and on my desktop PC, quickly update and manage my internet bookmarks/favorites, and enter contacts with a full keyboard right from my PC. At this time, Dashwire mirrors your photos, videos, text messages, bookmarks (Internet Explorer Mobile only), contacts, and phone calls. The great thing about Dashwire is that it is a web 2.0 service and thus they can roll out updates and new features on the server at any time and they do have lots of great features planned for the future.
|Image Gallery: Check out a few shots of the Dashwire interface.|
There is a small Windows Mobile client that runs on your device and the web server client. They plan to roll out clients for other mobile phones in the future as well so hopefully anyone with a mobile phone can use this services. I am testing the service out now with an HTC Advantage with 8GB microdrive. I also have a 1GB microSD card in the slot and will be testing to see if Dashwire picks up multiple storage card content. I have an unlimited data account and you may want to only sync your device via WiFi if you have a measured service. I am not sure how much data consumption occurs as a result of Dashwire, but the first sync should be the largest if you have lots of photos and video.
There are several modules that appear on your Dashwire Dashboard that I'll cover in a bit more detail below. The Dashboard is a Web 2.0 site so you can click and drag modules around to customize the look and feel of your Dashboard. You can minimize, maximize, or close each module. I closed my Bookmarks module to test out the Dashboard, but now can't figure out how to get it to appear again :(
Profile:In the profile area you can manage your account (email, password, and selected phone) and your public page. You can select what items (photos, video, comments, friends, purchases) appear on your public page and who can view your public page (everyone, friends, no one but you). I don't think all the pieces of the public page customization are working yet as mine shows videos and photos even if I remove that from the selected content. You can also change your image/avatar and the background image of the page. There are several stock background images to choose from and customized backgrounds are not yet supported.
Photos: Dashwire picked up all the photos I have taken with the Advantage that are stored on the 8GB microdrive with no issues at all. On the Dashwire Dashboard you can see thumbnails of the photos I have taken. Clicking on a thumbnail opens the picture in a larger preview screen with options to send, download, rotate, delete, and close along the bottom of the photo. I did get an application error when trying to download so that will need a bit of work. This would be an easy way to send photos to Flickr or other online photo sites if you wanted to maintain those site with your photos.
Videos: Videos appear as thumbnails on the Dashboard like the photos. Clicking on a video opens another preview screen that actually loads and plays the video. You can pause, make the display larger, and control volume in the player. You also have the options to send, download (I get the same application error right now), delete, and close the video.
Messages: The text message module is one of the coolest things I have seen on Dashwire. You can quickly filter/search your test messages, which may be helpful if you have a ton of messages and want to see a conversation with someone you had. You can show them all, sent messages, or received messages. The new message option lets you quickly enter a recipient and then enter your message right from your PC. The message then gets sent out to the recipient through your mobile phone carrier's text message plan so it comes through your phone and not through the internet. Using text messages this way is likely to satisfy any wireless carrier concerns with hijacking their text messaging service and since I have cheap unlimited text messaging through T-Mobile I am fine with this strategy. Maximizing the Messages module shows you the date and time of the message, full message text, phone number/contact, and status (sent or received).
Bookmarks: Bookmarks sync your Internet Explorer Mobile favorites to the Dashboard. You can't mirror bookmarks from Opera or other browsers, but with Opera on the Advantage I can easily import IE Favorites so that isn't a big issue for me. It is much easier to enter a URL on a full size keyboard and managing bookmarks on multiple devices has always been an issue for me that is now going to be much easier to control with Dashwire.
Contacts: Your contacts appear with their assigned photo (if you have this setup on your device) or default icon in the module. Clicking on a contact's icon opens up another pop-up page that lets you edit the contact details if you desire. You can also assign tags to group contacts and navigate faster through the Dashboard. You can send SMS, send email, delete, and close the contact pop-up page as well. Like SMS messages contacts can be quickly searched for in the module. You can maximize the Contacts module and see thumbnails of your contact details as well.
Calls: Calls appear in a list and can be filtered by all, dialed, received, or missed. There are colored arrow icons to denote the status as well. A search box allows you to quickly find calls. Maximizing this module lists your calls and shows the date and time of the call, call duration, phone number/contact, and status.
You can visit Dashwire.com and fill out the form to request an account. You need to enter your email address, country, mobile phone number, and then select your Windows Mobile phone. A text message will be sent to you when you are selected for an account. They are rolling out the service in limited numbers as they continue to test it out with public users. In the meantime, you can vidw the video tour to see what the service is all about.
It is still early in the roll out of this free service and a few issues I noted so far are the fact that all your photos are shown on your shared page (if you select to show them to people) and you cannot select to show individual photos (I understand this feature is coming very soon though) and search doesn't seem to be working in the Calls module when you maximize it (it does work in the minimized view though).