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5 years ago

Smartphone Round Robin: CrackBerry Kevin Tries Out the Tilt

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If you haven't already, you really need to go read this: Smartphone Round Robin: Goodbye BlackBerry, Hello Windows Mobile and the ATT Tilt | CrackBerry.com.

See, it's a die-hard BlackBerry's guy's take on the Windows Mobile AT&T Tilt (Video First Look of the Tilt here). We chose the Tilt for the Smartphone Round Robin for a couple reasons - the main one being that I've said here many-a-time that it is a very good contender for the “best damn Windows Mobile smartphone ever.” That said, I was a little nervous using a “slider” in this Round Robin, as it's the only entrant that isn't a very good two-handed device. Well Kevin definitely picked up on that as well as picking up on a whole bunch of other issues with the Tilt.

We'll post some of our own reactions here after the break. More importantly, you should post your reactions in the comments here for a chance to Win in the Round Robin.

Form Factor

Kevin writes:

Holding the device in my hand I was impressed by the Tilt’s build quality. I can now see why HTC enjoys the reputation that it does. I do think maybe the heaviness of the phone bolsters this feeling  of quality (I’m pretty sure the gadget world associates lightweight electronics with being ‘cheap’ and heavy electronics with being ‘well-built’) but either way the device seems well constructed and put together.

You durn-tootin it's a solid device. Earlier in the review it's called a “brick” and - honestly - that's fair. The point stands, though, that there's something to heft and weight that feels awesome. I'm stealing the image at right from intomobile's excellent post on that very subject because it's hilarious and because it's exactly right: heavy ain't always a bad thing.

The bigger issue, though, and one I was worried about was the input thing:

But with the Tilt I honestly did not even know how to begin using the device. Should I pull out the slider keyboard? Should I pull out the stylus? Should I try tapping the screen with my thumb? Or index finger? Should I keep the keyboard slid ‘in’ and use the navigation buttons at the bottom of the screen? I am coming over from a BlackBerry… maybe I should use the trackwheel?

Yeah, one thing you have to say about Windows Mobile is that there are a myriad of ways to get around the device and manufacturers keep trying different methods in order to find the “right way.” We have 5-ways, scroll wheels, styli, track-wheels, and so on. I personally like that I can often hunt down just the right input style for myself, but it's confusing.

Also check out his notes on the “Two-handed thing.”

On Windows Mobile

When I think about the Tilt as a 'communications tool' and compare it head-to-head with the BlackBerry I pretty much want to throw the Tilt and Windows Mobile out the window (pun most definitely intended). The Windows Mobile OS is not very mobile user friendly compared to the BlackBerry OS. Its user experience is more akin to a computer that’s been downsized into a phone instead of starting with the demands of a mobile user and building an OS around the way a mobile user actually works (yes, that is what RIM has done with the BlackBerry).

Two thoughts about this issue. The first is a gripe I've long had that people assume that “Windows Mobile” is “just like Windows.” This is actually a gripe against Microsoft, in a way. I can't really blame them for leveraging their brand (and the “start menu”) to try to grab new users - but the bottom line for me is that Windows Mobile has a completely different UI philosophy to Windows - or at least different enough that I've had to help people through mental blocks like “On Windows I do X, why can't I do X here?”

The second thought is that, yes, Windows Mobile can be slow and that, as I said early and often about the Tilt, it requires some customizing to get it to work efficiently (read How To: Customize Your Tilt). That “customization required” is probably a bad thing on the whole, but the silver lining is hugely important for me. Out of the box, a Windows Mobile device is often not as user-friendly as a BlackBerry -- but once you have it tweaked, you can do things with a WM Smartphone that would make a BB user's head spin.

...Or so I assume, I have the BlackBerry 8310 (which is currently in Phone different's hands, read Mike excellent overview here) during week three. I'm on record as of this moment that I will eat my words if I'm wrong about the above.

Last thoughts

CrackBerry Kevin is annoyed by having to use the power button to make the device active. Agreed. As for the data loss thing - the Tilt won't actually lose data if it powers off, it just might lose whatever particular thing you might be doing the moment it shuts down -- just saying.

He's also annoyed by the battery life. Well, them's the breaks with a device as loaded with radios as this one. Maybe we should have sent him something with better battery life -- any suggestions for next year?

Anyhow, those are a few brief thoughts. What do you folks think? Tilt getting a fair shake so far from our BlackBerry fanatic?

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5 years ago

CrackBerry Kevin's Last Look at the Tilt

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5 years ago

Smartphone Round Robin: Initial Impressions on the iPhone

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5 years ago

Review: Slingbox Pro

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5 years ago

Smartphone Round Robin: Final Thoughts on the Treo 680

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5 years ago

Video First Look: T-Mobile Shadow

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5 years ago

Try Not to Weep: Samsung i780 Not Coming to the US

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We won't see it here for a while, according to the final specs posted by GPSAndCO. The problem is that it will be a TriBand GSM phone -- lacking a necessary band to get the phone up and running here in the states. It's a real pity, too, because we like it:

  • Windows Mobile 6 Professional (read: touchscreen)
  • 320x320 screen
  • A-GPS
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth 2.0, USB 2.0
  • Funny mouse-pointer doo-dad

There's a video up here from when the i780 first popped its head up. Let's hope it pops again someday for AT&T.

via: pocketnow.com - Samsung i780 Gets Official

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5 years ago

ATT 8525 Finally Gets WM6

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ATT 8525 Finally Gets WM6

This is good news: HTC and AT&T have finally released the Windows Mobile 6 ROM update for the 8525. You'll get AT&T branding instead of Cingular, of course, but what you'll really get is Windows Mobile 6 and a bunch of extras:

  • Push to Talk
  • AT&T's internet links (video, music, etc)
  • Correctly shows E vs 3G depending on your connection
  • Use X to close apps (huzzah!)
  • Did I mention Windows Mobile 6?

I'd like to say that this bodes well for the Blackjack WM6 upgrade and also for the Treo 750 WM6 upgrade. I like to say that, but I won't. Instead I'll just write it on my bathroom mirror; write it backwards ....in blood.

It's Halloween, you know, and I hear tricks like that can summon mysterious entities that may or may not even exist. At this point, that's pretty much how I feel about these promised updates to Windows Mobile 6.

Read: HTC: Support: AT&T 8525 Software Downloads. Thanks to Roger for the tip!

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5 years ago

ATT Stores Selling MotoQ9h Early? Also Q9C on Sprint

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They are indeed, according to reports over at everythingQ. Motorola has already spilled the beans on the Q9 Global and we've expected it to hit “Real Soon Now” for a “Real Long Time Now” and been “Real Wrong Now” every time. This time around the rumor is November 1st (i.e. tomorrow), but you'll forgive us if we don't mark that confirmed just yet.

Reports say the official release date will be November 1st

Read: Everything Motorola Q

Over on the Sprint side, BGR is reporting that the Q9C “The C is for corporate” on Sprint may hit on November 23rd, aka Black Friday. It will be identical to the Verizon Q9M “The M is for Media,” except lacking the media interface (see our first look here).

Update: Once again we got burned by naming conventions. It's the Motorola Q9h and yes, you can find them in AT&T stores now. We did - first look coming up in just a bit!

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5 years ago

The Smartphone Round Robin!

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The Smartphone Round Robin!

The Smartphone Round Robin

So WMExperts is part of a family of sites, we're a sibling to TreoCentral, Phone different, and CrackBerry.com. Together, the four sites cover the 4 major Smartphone platforms in the US. Normally, each site covers its own beat and does its own thing - but not this month.

No, this month we're starting the first annual Smartphone Round Robin. Each week for the next month, the 4 editors of these sites will literally trade phones. We'll be forced to use only “the other guy's” phone as our main brain - writing up our impressions, getting help from the other site's forums, and generally finding out why everybody seems to be so loyal to their smartphone of choice.

Win a Smartphone!

It's not all about us, though, it's more about you folks. So as a part of the Smartphone Round Robin, we're giving away fabulous prizes. The grand prize is a smartphone of your choice (that's currently available in the US or Canada) and some mad money to spend on accessories. Three runners up will also receive coupons for free smartphone accessories. 4 sites, 4 winners total, natch.

Here's how to win: Just post in any Round Robin Forum Thread at any of our sites, the WMExperts Round Robin Forum is here. Every day you make a post, you get another entry into the contest. The full contest rules are here.

Follow Along

Here's how to follow along: Just head on over to the Smartphone Round Robin Update page and follow it there or via RSS. Every time there's a new forum thread (threads == chances to win!), we'll let you know. Every time one of our community editors talks about their impressions of “the other guy's phone,” we'll tell ya. We even have all sorts of rules and regulations we have to follow so that each smartphone gets a fair shot.

It's going to be a wild ride.

Read: Smartphone Experts (SPE) Announces the First Annual Smartphone Round Robin

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5 years ago

MySpace Music on Windows Mobile

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MySpace Music on Windows Mobile

We all know (and dearly love) the Full YouTube Plugin for Windows Mobile. The associated thread is still seeing a ton of action (and zbop, the creator of said plugin, is still chiming in and helping out). Where to next?

Well, I wouldn't have thought this, but where you go next is MySpace. Specifically, the MySpace music player that so many bands put up on their pages. Anthony Capobianco has taken the same basic idea - use TCPMP and make a flash plugin for it - and applied to the MySpace app.

Here's the funny thing - this plugin might make MySpace better on Windows Mobile than it is on the desktop. Whenever I go to a MySpace page, heck, any page that starts making noise without me asking it to I get all HULK MAD - presumably this method means that you'd be able to navigate MySpace without that particular burden.

Download: MySpace Music Mobile - thanks to Anthony for the tip!

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5 years ago

Sprint to Unlock Phones

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Sprint to Unlock Phones

The tide is finally turning against the carriers, folks. Witness the latest piece of evidence: Sprint looks like they're about to settle a class action lawsuit filed last year in California. The gist: They'll be offering unlocks to outgoing customers so they can use them on competing networks. Since this is CDMA we're talking about here, “competing networks” basically means Verizon with a side of Alltel, but we'll take whatever we can get.

There are catches and caveats, though, there always are. You have to be fully paid up on your bill (that's fair) and the suit only applies to people who've purchased their phone between Aug 28th, 1999 and July 16th, 2007. Which makes us ask: What happened on July 17th?

“We believe this settlement is fair and reasonable,” Sullivan said, adding that the company denies wrongdoing and settled the suit “so we can continue to focus on our business.”

Read: The Associated Press: Spring Nextel Agrees to Unlock Phones

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5 years ago

T-Mobile Announces Shadow - $149.99 on Halloween

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We were less than enthused with the T-Mobile Wing, but this Shadow appears to more than make up for it. Specs are about the same - Quad-band GSM, WiFi, 2mp camera, microSD. It also has a nice 5-way/jog wheel that I first used on the Blackjack II and think should be standard now for WM smartphones. There's also a slide-out “suretype” keyboard, as well.

But, ah, T-Mobile, I might not use the words “High Speed Internet” when describing the features. I know it has WiFi and all, but EDGE doesn't count as high speed anymore. Hate to have to be the one to tell you that, but there it is.

Anyhow, it comes in brown and green (erm, “copper” and “sage”) and sells for a very reasonable $149.99 with contract.

Read: T-Mobile Shadow - Brown phone details from T-Mobile

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5 years ago

WM6 on Blackjack - Will We Ever See It?

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MoDaCo lets us know that the Samsung i600 has received its Windows Mobile 6 update from Samsung. The i600 is the international version of the Blackjack that's a bit more powerful (WiFi).

We previously knew that it would be Q3 at best for the Blackjack WM6 Update and we were hoping for Sept 17th. No dice there, but we did get a leaked WM6 Blackjack ROM back in June that wasn't really ready for primetime (see our video of WM6 on a Blackjack for the proof). We're also holding out hope that the update will include AT&T Video Share, since settings for it appeared on the hacked ROM. If the plethora of links above doesn't show you that we've been wanting this update for awhile, here's one more where we saw the Blackjack running WM6 at Digital Life on October 1st.

We already know the Blackjack II is coming (see our hands-on with the Blackjack II)- probably in November. Selling a new device doesn't exactly count as a Windows Mobile 6 upgrade, though, does it?

The soles of our shoes are worn through from tapping our feet on this one. We do hear the WM6 update for the Treo 750 on AT&T is due very soon, so maybe then. Maybe.

Anyway, if you're an i600 user, go getcher update here. Note: this will not work on a Blackjack.

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5 years ago

How To: Customize Your Tilt

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How To: Customize Your Tilt

If you saw our Video First Look at the Tilt, you know our major complaint is that it doesn't have an especially good out of box user experience. The Tilt is ok on its own, but it certainly has a lot of annoying tweaks and twacks that keep it from being the stupendous device the hardware promises.

So what do you do? You hack the mutha. After the break, what we did to bring our Tilt up to speed. Note to hardcore Windows Mobile fanatics and newbs alike: this is the "lite" version - it's a guide your grandmother could love. In other words: Registry Editor not required!

Step One: Start with a clean slate

This tip comes to us courtesy of taylorh, who gathered that the screen you get where AT&T is loading "custom apps" was a pretty good sign that something "ugly" was going to happen. So he stopped it cold:

When you get to the 3 second countdown before it 'configures', press the reset hole on the bottom and you'll end up with a totally clean Device. It'll be AT&T branded, AT&T configured, etc, but none of the extraneous garbage that you may not want. The one thing you'll need that you won't get is the "proxy manager" so you'll have to get these from here:
http://www.gadgetech.info/treo/hacks/disableproxy/index.shtml
Note, that the 'disable' only lasts until you reboot the device then the proxy setting comes back. To remove it permanently use a registry editor to remove the "EnableAutoDetect" setting completely (rather than just setting it to 1.)

So that's good advice, eh? The best part is, as taylorh mentions, you're not going to have to muck around with any internet settings in your Connections tab. It's all good to go.

Step Two: Kill off some annoying settings

Number 1 annoying thing on the Tilt? Well, there are a few contenders, but the big one for me was the default screen timeout during calls. Seems like the screen goes black and untouchable the instant a call connects for me (I know it's longer, but still). Totally unacceptable.

The fix, though, is dead simple. Go get KaiserTweak by Jorrit Jongma. KaiserTweak was designed for the HTC Kaiser, aka the AT&T Tilt minus the AT&T. You will need to unzip both of the included files into the same directory and then use File Explorer to launch the program.

But then you're able to customize a plethora of settings. All of the settings have "default" and "advised" clearly labeled, meaning you know immediately whether or not it's something you want to mess with. First thing I messed with was the annoying "Fast Screen Off" setting. But there were other useful settings like:

  • Turn off SMS Sent Notifications
  • Change photo save locations
  • Change keyboard backlight timeout

You can ignore most settings, in my opinion, but the above were very nice to be able to clean up.

Step Three: Save the Today Screen!

Lordy, the default Today Screen on the Tilt is a piece of work. It's no good at all. Which is aggravating to high heaven because the Kaiser, which is identical to the Tilt, has an awesome Today Screen. As I see it there are two ways around this issue:

The second option is free and is actually pretty slick, especially if you're not interested in the other system features packed into SPB Mobile Shell. Installation couldn't be easier. Head over to this link at pocketnow and download the 6-tab version (I prefer that one), install it on your Kaiser.

The it's just a matter of going into Settings -> Personal -> Today -> Items Tab and unchecking all the cruft you don't want and checking that HTC Home Plugin. Badda Bing.

Bonus Round

You might want to install the TouchPal soft keyboard, which will allow you to do some light typing without sliding open the keyboard. That was the last "hacky" thing I did for my Tilt.

Honestly, though we're just scratching the surface here. Some folks have successfully taken the entire ROM off of a Kaiser and replaced the one on the Tilt with it. Others have added the Audio Manager application to replace Windows Media Player and then edited the registry for HTC Home plugin to point to it. The list of things you can do to customize your Tilt goes on and on.

What did you do to get your Tilt how you like it? Bonus points if you can tell us how without recourse to a registry editor. :)

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