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5 years ago

HTC Touch vs iPhone, Part 1

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HTC Touch vs iPhone, Part 1

Here they are on my desk, sitting quietly next to each other. On the inside, though, both are smoldering cauldrons of hate and jealousy. Seriously, there's almost steam rising out of the speaker grills on each phone. We'll get to software in part two (here's a preview, though, it's apples and oranges / featurephone v smartphone), but for today let's just compare the hardware. I'm sure that nobody out there would actually base their purchasing decision between these two on which is thinner (iPhone), but it's still fun to look.

Read on for some pics and thoughts.

Buttons

The HTC Touch has the fewest buttons of any WM device I've used. It's positively button-aenemic, there's power on the top, a camera button, the 5-way, send, end, and a volume slider. Given my standard usage habits, I found this to be pretty aggravating.

Of course, compared to the iPhone the Touch is just awash in buttons. The iPhone has power, home, a volume rocker and a ringer switch. On both devices the tactile feedback on the buttons is satisfying - both have good clicky-ness, though the iPhone's button have more travel.

I know, I know, I'm writing about buttons on devices whose main selling point is that they don't primarily use buttons. Fine, let's move on. Before I do, though, slightly related to buttons are indicator lights. The Touch has 'em (elegantly hidden within the speaker grille and blinking in various colors and rates to tell you your signal for Cell, WiFi, and Bluetooth), the iPhone does not.

Advantage: Touch. Yes, I get what Apple's aiming for here, but the Touch is example #1 that you can have some buttons without killing the elegance of the device.

Touchscreens

Sorry, HTC. The touch loses, but it's not your fault. You thought the touch was playing in the big leagues, but it turns out it was just AAA ball. The touchscreen on the Touch is really very good - it's actually among the top 2 or 3 touchscreens I've ever used in my life, actually. It's not a gigantic screen, but compared to some of the stuff I'd been using lately (Treos and Blackjacks), it's more than enough. Brightness, response, contrast, etc etc.. All fine, good even.

But the screen on the iPhone is just abso-@$@#$@-lutely stupendous. It's gigantic, 3.5 inches, and high-res, and it sports 160 pixels per inch. It's bright. It has the oft-mentioned "multitouch" feature which is fun (but won't change your life, sorry).

The iPhone also has an ambient light sensor tucked away in there so it doesn't blast your eyes out when you're using it in the dark or fail to even appear on in direct sunlight. It's really nice. Also nice is the proximity sensor that prevents it from working when held up to your face. Finally, the iPhone's glass surface really does feel much nicer than the Touch's plastic.

Advantage: iPhone. "Advantage" isn't the right word here. It's a blowout, it's almost not even fair.

Dimensions

The short of it is that the iPhone is thinner and taller, but they are about the same width. Their weight also isn't all the noticeable to me, either.

The long of it is that physically-speaking they're both very satisfying devices to hold in your hand. I prefer the soft-touch-paint approach of the Touch a little more than the brushed-metal feel of the iPhone, I think it helps grip-ability more. But the brushed-metal of the iPhone isn't exactly a slippery doomsday scenario, it seems fine.

The iPhone is more rounded than the Touch on the sides, which is nice but not essential.

Advantage: iPhone by a slim margin. It's a surprising result, perhaps, but I stand by it. Yes, the iPhone is more elegant and polished overall than the Touch. But the Touch's short stature makes it feel very nice held up to the ear and in your hand. By comparison, I'm almost tempted to call the iPhone a slab.

iPhone vs Touch Hardware edition: iPhone wins.

The Touch held up remarkably well for me, much better than expected when I was imagining it next to the juggernaut that is Apple hardware design. It put up a valiant effort, but I suppose from a hardware perspective it was doomed from the start.

Coming up later is the main event: Specs and Software. Stay tuned!

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5 years ago

8525 Price Drop

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8525 Price Drop

..Must...Not...Refer...to...Jesus...Phone.....Sigh, have to do it.

Here's the deal - a $150 price drop on the powerhouse AT&T 8525 (someday it will even get that promised WM6 upgrade) would and should be news on its own. But Infoworld is pretty sure that the price drop is iPhone-release-related. As in - the 8525 is cheaper, easier to type on, and better for actual business use than the iPhone. Or maybe as in - "Oh, we're out of iPhones, but check out this smartphone, the 8525. It has a full keyboard." The latter thought doesn't make me proud, but it's certainly possible.

Or maybe the price drop has nothing to do at all with the iPhone release. Maybe, just maybe, AT&T is clearing inventory to make way for the HTC Kaiser. That thought does make me proud - proud to be an HTC fanboy.

AT&T has not set an end date for the 8525's $299 promotional pricing, but it will end.

The 8525's killer feature will be its Windows Mobile 6 upgrade, which AT&T promises for the third quarter of this year. Expect it to be downloadable, but not necessarily free.

Read: Enterprise Mac | InfoWorld | AT&T positions new 8525 Pocket PC, promo price $299, as key iPhone alternative | June 26, 2007 10:14 PM | By Tom Yager

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5 years ago

HTC Advantage Docking Station

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HTC Advantage Docking Station

Jenn over at pocketables found that HTC Advtange docking station we glimpsed a few days ago. Looks like you can import it from the UK for 70 pounds (or $140US or so, plus shipping, natch). For those of you keeping score, that's in the neighborhood of $300 less than a Foleo will set you back - that's assuming you have an HTC Advantage, though. If you don't, well, move along, nothing to see here.

Read: HTC Advantage docking station costs $140 (Thanks, Jenn!)

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5 years ago

For Whom the iPhone Tolls

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For Whom the iPhone Tolls

No, don't you worry, WMExperts is still here and will still be here after iDay. But despite (because) the fact that capitalization humor is played out, the week's iPhone iNsanity is pretty tiring. So tiring, in fact, that I'm just flat-out not going to cover it here for the rest of the week. There is good coverage over at phone different, especially this post, which details some Windows Mobile vs. iPhone sniping. Then again, there's a rumor that Apple is, in fact, going to get Push Exchange email on the iPhone in the near future, which will definitely take away one of Windows Mobile's primary advantages. If that's true, I hope MS is charging them a lot for it.

The real deal is that the reviews are pouring in from the heavy-hitters in the tech-review world. Opinions are good, generally, but I have to say that I feel for future iPhone users: No cut and paste and EDGE speeds is going to make the iPhone feel a little like the Dash when it comes to being productive with the internets. Oh, and it doesn't look like there's A2DP support either. Oops.

Anyhow, expect light posting for the next few days here at WME. Call it an iPhone funk.

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5 years ago

Shiny Kaiser Pics at MEDC Europe

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Shiny Kaiser Pics at MEDC Europe

There's another Microsoft Mobile and Embedded DevCon happening, this time in Germany. Which means that HTC is trotting out its latest and greatest. That's probably the best look I've had yet of the hinge on the flip-up slider to come, the HTC Kaiser. Looking good, HTC, I just wish that sketchy leaked roadmap had a US release date on it.

Also new (at left) is this docking station for the HTC Advantage, which adds USB ports (for keyboard and mouse), a headphone port, and a VGA-out. As in - Windows Mobile Device as Desktop Replacement. Foleo, eat your heart out.

Read: Jason Langridge's WebLog

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5 years ago

Silverlight: Bearing Down on Flash?

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Silverlight: Bearing Down on Flash?

Ars Technica is reporting that there's now a Linux-based browser plugin for Microsoft's Silverlight. Silverlight is a cross platform "media plugin" that looks to be positioned as a very nice Flash competitor. With all the brouhaha about YouTube not working so well on WM phones (er, not working at all except on a select few, like the HTC Touch in my pocket, Nyah Nyah!), Silverlight's cross-platform abilities could make it a real competitor in internet multimedia. There was already a great demo of a Baseball app on Windows Mobile that looks really slick.

Anyhow, the good news here is that Microsoft made the necessary tools available for Silverlight to work cross-platform and somebody got it working on Linux. There are big players on board (hello streaming movies on Netflix!) so I'm hopeful that we're going to see some really dynamic, media rich stuff on mobile phones soon.

Actually, what I'm really hoping is that Photon (the next version of Windows Mobile, also known as "The Second Coming") is going to sport a Silverlight-based UI. That would add a lot of fancy graphical features without much overhead and help Windows Mobile have the speed and eye-candy of a certain other mobile phone that you may have heard of.

After 20 days of "intense" programming, Novell's Mono development team has successfully produced a functioning prototype of Moonlight, an open-source Mono-based implementation of Microsoft's Silverlight rich-media application development framework

Read: Mono Silverlight implementation emerges after epic hackathon

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5 years ago

Google Buying GrandCentral?

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Google Buying GrandCentral?

...that's what TechCrunch believes, anyway. Bully to Google, I say. GrandCentral is a great service (but I still wish it offered SMS forwarding) and a purchase by Google means that I would be much more likely to use it. Why? Because Google's backing allays my fear that the service would go belly up as soon as it ran out of Venture Capital funds.

In the meantime I'm still using Mobile Secretary for my SMS forwarding needs.

I'll tell you what, though, I'm starting to fear Google and their insidious tendrils. Microsoft used(still?) to be known for their "Embrace and Extend" policy of stealing aping other technologies and then adding their own services to it to force users to stick to their solution. Looks like Google's version of "Embrace and Extend" is "Just Freaking Buy It Outright."

Google is in acquisition discussions with telephone management startup GrandCentral, we’ve learned, and we have a high degree of confidence that the deal has actually been closed. We are trying to nail down the acquisition price.

Read: Google To Acquire GrandCentral

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5 years ago

Friday NerdFun: 3D Lawn Darts

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Friday NerdFun: 3D Lawn Darts

Here comes the weekend and I'll be spending some of it working and the rest of it playing Concrete Software's 3D Lawn Darts (buy at WMExperts Store) - a fun little game that uses the camera on your Windows Mobile device to detect how hard and in what direction you're throwing the dart. It's a blast.

Below, for your viewing pleasure, is myself and Chris Kingree nerding it up with the Lawn Darts game. We're playing multiplayer over bluetooth, but it also comes with a fun single player mode that you can demo for free (choose "install now" at this link to have a link to the demo SMS'd to you auto-magically).


(Concrete Software also makes a Texas Hold'em game that's my favorite of the poker-on-your-WM device bunch.)

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5 years ago

Amp'd Deathwatch: Brief Stay of Execution

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Amp'd Deathwatch: Brief Stay of Execution

Poor Amp'd. They are as deep in debt as a teenager who just got a new credit card and spent all their money on a new amp'd phone but can't actually afford to pay for it (see what I did there?). So Verizon told them to pay up the $33 million they owe - Now. Then their CEO was ousted. Finally a tiny glimmer of hope: Amp'd gets to use some of its cash to keep the company running for another few days, though June 25th.

Of course, that cash actually belongs to Verizon, who's none-too-happy about the judge letting Amp'd spend it on frivolities like keeping a network running. Actually, Verizon is worried that Amp'd will use the cash to pay for legal fees necessary to weasel out of negotiate their bankruptcy terms.

Not even 'Lil Bush (originally an amp'd cartoon, now headed to Comedy Central) can save them now.

Judge Brendan Shannon of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., Monday signed off Amp'd Mobiles's request to use Verizon's cash collateral to keep its so-called mobile virtual network up and running through June 25.

Read: Amp'd Mobile's Use of Lender's Cash OKed | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle

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5 years ago

HTC Product Roadmap Leaked?

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HTC Product Roadmap Leaked?

There are a few surprises, though nothing earth-shattering, in this PDF of upcoming HTC Windows Mobile Devices. I wasn't expecting a CDMA version of the HTC Touch, much less one that includes EVDO Rev A with gpsOne.

Also new (to me, anyway) is the HTC Iris (s620), a Standard-edition CDMA phone with standard-edition specs, and the Volans, which appears to be the HTC Wings, aka the 3G successor to the disappointing* HTC S710/HTC Vox. And pictured at right is the Shangri-La, the slide-and-fold-up super-PPC (which will succeed the HTC Advantage). Had enough code names yet? Me too.

I put the question mark in the title there because a) the source site looks pretty new (even compared to us!) and b) the PDF slides look a little off to my eyes. On the other hand, all the info looks spot-on, so take my grain of salt with a grain of salt.

Read: CTI Miami’s Blog via BGR

*(What?! Disappointing you say? ...I'll explain in my review on Monday.)

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5 years ago

Skweezer updated

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Skweezer updated

Greenlight wireless announced earlier this week that they've updated and improved skweezer, which is at heart a proxy service that re-jiggers web pages so they look better on mobile phones. They have their work cut out for them when it comes to competing on Windows Mobile devices, and Microsoft's Live Search for mobile already does that (and does a fairly good job of it). Plus, on Windows Mobile 6, you can put a Live Search field right on your today screen. I do like that skweezer has a built-in "search within page" feature - that's a feature sorely lacking in most mobile web browsers these days.

Still, it's pretty ho-hum for me, but I have a few feature-phone-using buddies who will care. A few.

the user interface has been redesigned to reduce keystrokes and take advantage of "hot key" navigation that utilizes a phone's keypad. Skweezer will now also use a robust, new search system to provide highly relevant Web searches across multiple mobile device platforms. Skweezer's code-base and hosting infrastructure have been updated to provide the fastest Skweezer ever.

Read: Greenlight Wireless :: 06/18/2007 Greenlight Wireless Press Release

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5 years ago

SlingPlayer Updated for Windows Mobile 6

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SlingPlayer Updated for Windows Mobile 6

That was pretty quick! Just over two weeks ago Sling put out a call for Beta testers for a new version of their SlingPlayer Mobile client that would be compatible with Windows Mobile 6. And badda-bing, today Smartphone Thoughts reports that the client is ready to rock. Now, granted, Windows Mobile 6 isn't all that different from its predecessor, but this humble writer suspects that the SlingPlayer digs pretty deep into the OS to get its great video quality - so it makes sense that it would take some tweaking to make it work with the latest and greatest.

Now, I don't have a Slingbox myself just yet - but its definitely my plan to pick up one of those suckers just as soon as I get, you know, a TV. If you're one of those folks who happens to own both a TV and a Windows Mobile device (imagine that!), I heartily recommend you pick up a SlingBox posthaste.

Read: Sling Media - SlingPlayer Mobile

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5 years ago

Yahoo Go! Graduates from Beta - Whither WM Support?

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I really liked the first version of Yahoo Go on Windows Mobile. When the 2nd beta came out, that old version of Yahoo Go disappeared. It was replaced with the new! improved! Yahoo! Go! that was incompatible with all Windows Mobile phones except portrait-style smartphone-edition devices. Now a check of their Windows Mobile page drops compatibility for even those. They're all "coming soon." Yahoo says "Coming Friday" for the general, java-based, feature phone version of Yahoo Go.

I hope that applies to WM as well - Yahoo Go was (and would be) a great push email solution for the average joe. I'm guessing that "soon" doesn't mean Friday, but does mean fairly soon. They struck that that deal with HTC to pre-install Yahoo Go on HTC phones. It's taken way too long for all this to happen. What's the deal? Was their estranged CEO in charge of it or something? ;)

Yahoo! Go 2.0 is now available in the US and 13 other countries (Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Spain, United Kingdom, Thailand and Vietnam) offering a totally new Internet experience on your mobile phone.  The new version offers a lot of new features including:

Read: Yahoo! Go 2.0 via jkOnTheRun

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5 years ago

Open Letter to Warez Jerks

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Open Letter to Warez Jerks

The president of WebIS, makers of great software like Pocket Informant and FlexMail, has posted an open letter to software pirate sites. I'm linking it for a few reasons:

  • It's very well-written
  • It's right
  • It brings up a very good point:
If you actually use our software please pay for it. [...] WebIS has always been extremely liberal in our licensing as well. We don't use activation (we've thought about it), we don't lock our license to your username, we don't do anything to make licensing hard. We let you run our software on as many devices that you personally use and we use the honor system. Heck, we even make 2-3 versions of our software in most cases and let you pay for one and get them all.

Indeed, I've trialed many of WebIS' products, probably all of them. A lot of them don't fit with my habits of using a smartphone, but many do. I wanted to point out that 95% of WM developers get it when it comes to shareware for smartphones. It's simple: charge reasonable prices and avoid don't have annoying methods for registration. That's a big deal - in the fight against software piracy it's easy to lose your way and get too restrictive with activations. Activation in itself is highly annoying to me personally as I find myself switching phones basically on a weekly basis for my job here.

Anyhow, the point is that having 3rd party apps for your platform is a good thing, and paying for those apps is the only real way to keep them coming. I tend to think of shareware prices not in dollars but in "Lattes" or even "Value Meals." When you look at a piece of software you will likely use every day as a handful of premium coffees or a couple trips to a fast food joint, then paying for it becomes a no brainer.

Read: Open Letter To Warez Sites - WebIS, Inc. Forums via PocketPC Thoughts

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5 years ago

First Look: HTC Touch Video

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First Look: HTC Touch Video

We weren't the first on our block to get an HTC Touch, but we may be the most excited. Check out the video first look, below.

Summary for those of you who can't watch the video at work: It's thin, light, and very good looking. Entering text is going to be a hassle without some 3rd party solutions, but the TouchFLO interface is really neat. I'm almost as enamored as this guy. Did I mention thin and light? I never thought a full-featured touchscreen device could be this small (iPhone notwithstanding). Oh, and it works just fine with the new mobile YouTube (thanks to Gwalio for the tip!)

One thing I didn't mention in the video, I really wish there was a 4th screen to TouchFLO. As it is, you get Contacts, a 6-panel app launcher, and a 3-panel media launcher. What I'd like is a 2nd 6-panel app launcher to "complete the cube", as it were, that I could customize with my own apps. Actually, in a perfect world, HTC would snap up the rights to Spb Mobile Shell and combine both TouchFLO and Mobile Shell into a super-launcher. Ah well.

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