Going mobile

After having the opportunity to try out an HTC Advantage (see the post HTC X7501) found a away to acquire one of these interesting devices. In so doing, I retired a long-loved Treo 650.
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor on

After having the opportunity to try out an HTC Advantage (see the post HTC X7501) found a away to acquire one of these interesting devices. In so doing, I retired a long-loved Treo 650. Here are a few quick impressions of living with a device that is a telephone, a camera, an internet tablet, a GPS and a MP3 player all in one.

  • Most of the devices in this category have made compromises to in order to be good telephones. This device is trying to be a good hand-held computer.
    • It has a glorious, large, bright screen (unfortunately not fully supported by Windows Mobile 6 which comes installed on the machine). This also means that the device is a bit too large to fit in a pocket.
    • Unless I want to share both sides of every conversation with everyone around me, I need to either use a wired or a bluetooth headset. I never needed to do this when using the Treo. I've found that there are several bluetooth headsets that work quite well. All I need now is to acquire one that will fit comfortably in my motorcycle helmet and let me listen to MP3s while I'm riding.

  • I've been able to leave my laptop behind on several ocassions and was able to post entries here on this blog, take notes in meetings, present slides at conferences and keep up with my Email using only this device.
  • ActiveSync, the software Microsoft offers to synchronize contacts, calendar entries, files and a few other things, is a real pain. Often it fails with little or no way to gracefully recover. I was surprised to discover that ActiveSync isn't a complete backup package. So, if the device has to be rebooted (a hard reset), applications and data are lost. That wouldn't be much of a problem if the software were as reliable as Microsoft leads us to believe. I've had to execute such a hard reset at least 10 times since I obtained the device. After having to re-install several software packages and reload needed data, I purchased a backup software package. I never needed something like this when using the Treo.
  • Although the device was delivered with GPS software in Europe, by the time it got to the North American market, it was delivered only with access to an online service. This, of course, is useless if a person is not within range of their mobile network. This could also mean a run-up in one's data access bill.
    • Since Google offers software which largely does the same thing at no charge, there is a viable solution if one stays inside the boundaries of a city. Unfortunately, Google Mobile Maps resets if it loses its internet connection. After having my mobile internet connection disconnect several times while I was driving the back roads of South Carolina, I decided to obtain better software.
    • I recently discovered that Garmin is offering Mobile XT, a fine stand-alone GPS software package, that will run on Palm and Windows Mobile devices. It's worth a look! I was impressed.

  • Windows Mobile 6 is much more "clunky" and slow than Palm OS. Getting just about anything done takes more steps than with PalmOS. I often see Windows Mobiles circular hourglass telling me that it was busy. I never used to see that on the Palm. Furthermore, it is prone to unexplained hangs and crashes. Fortunately, there are many commercial add-ons that improve the user experience considerably. I still must perform a soft reset regularly when the device hangs or experiences an inexplicable slow down.

If I was asked, I would rate the hardware between an 8 and 9 on a scale of 10. It clearly is now possible for mobile executives to leave a laptop behind much of the time.

Windows Mobile 6, however, rates between a 3 and 4 on the same scale. I'm thankful that many software suppliers have rushed in to fill the holes in Microsoft's product.

Are you using a Windows Mobile 6 powered device? If so, have you had simlar experiences?

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