While you have companies like HTC and Samsung pushing the limits of the hardware and operating system level software integration on Windows Mobile, there are also several companies providing software applications to enhance your Windows Mobile experience. As readers know, I have been testing out the HTC Touch Diamond and since this device has Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional it supports threaded SMS out of the box. Joel Evans from Geek.com recommended I try out SMS-Chat on the Diamond because it offers a much richer threaded SMS experience. I loaded it up immediately and have to say that while it is nice to see a basic implementation of threaded SMS in the operating system, something like SMS-Chat is a much better solution for text messaging fans.
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I took a look at the Blackjack II running WM 6.1 back in July and now everyone can finally update their device to the latest Windows Mobile operating system. Simply visit the Samsung Blackjack II (SGH-i617) update site and follow the instructions to update. Windows Mobile 6.1 is a great improvement on these non-touch screen devices and I recommend every Blackjack II owner update their device.
Some mobile software is flashy and fun while others just get the job done. Spb Backup 2.
There are full navigation and routing programs available for S60 and Windows Mobile that I use for major trips, but for quick positioning and some trips I just fire up the Google Maps for Mobile application on these devices. Google just released an update that adds transit directions to these mobile operating systems. They previously launched support for BlackBerry and Java-based devices so this expands their mobile offerings, with just the iPhone and Palm OS left to upgrade.
The HTC Advantage (check out my review) is one of my all-time favorite Windows Mobile devices and I am using it more and more as an ultra portable PC. There are lots of different Today screen plug-ins available, but I find a lot of them slow down the device or are not easily accessible with a quick finger press. Spb Software House develops some of the best applications for Windows Mobile devices and I tried using Spb Mobile Shell 1.5 last year on the Advantage, but when I loaded the RealVGA utility to take advantage of this beautiful high resolution display I ran into some compatibility issues and removed it from the Advantage. I was very pleased to see that Spb Mobile Shell 2.0 was just released yesterday and am happy to report it works well with RealVGA running on the HTC Advantage. I have been playing with this application for several days and you can check out just about every screen in the application in my image gallery as well as view the application in action in my video below.
I just turned on my iPhone to check for updated applications after reading that Navigon was updated with some very cool new features and discovered that Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite version 3.0 (iTunes link) just became available today. This new version of Quickoffice has come a long ways since my earlier review and now lets you access documents through Google Docs, Box.net, Dropbox, and MobileMe accounts while also providing general product enhancements. Without file system access it has always been a challenge for developers of these types of apps to help you access your documents and this looks like a great way to provide that support.
Twitter applications are one of the most sought after social networking applications on smartphones. There are a few good contenders for Google Android, but as you can see in my video the current private beta version of Handmark's TweetCaster shows it will soon be the BEST Twitter app on Google Android devices.
Apple iPad owners still have no Facebook application, but BlackBerry PlayBook owners will this month and it includes quite a few features. Video Chat is coming this week too.
I mentioned we had a chance to see some things from Microsoft Labs at Mobius 2008 in December and one of those things was the new Microsoft Recite. We were just given early access to the application that will be coming soon as a free utility for Windows Mobile 6.0 and higher users.
One of the weakest features of Windows Mobile is the current web browser, Internet Explorer Mobile. There are several better alternatives such as the fantastic Opera Mobile 9.5 for Windows Mobile that is included on some devices as the default browser and the Skyfire proxy browser (I can watch Hulu.com with this browser). There has been talk for quite some time about Mozilla entering the Windows Mobile space and as reported by WMExperts.com the Fennec browser is now available in very early pre-alpha form (aka milestone release) to try on HTC Touch Pro devices. Make sure you have a backup of your device and are willing to risk a hard reset before trying this software out as it is very early in the development cycle and not that stable.