Windows Mobile Motion & Orientation Detection

While doing some research for a blog entry for a new site I started contributing to this week (Inside Port 25), I learned about some reasonably priced add-ons for Pocket PCs and Smartphones that add the ability to detect orientation and motion (sort of like the Apple iPhone). You can learn more about these products at…

pocketmotion.com

I haven’t bought any of their products. So, I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has. They sure sound interesting and are reasonably priced consumer gear.

Mobile Devices
Pocket PC/Phone Edition
Smartphone
Windows Mobile

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Windows Mobile Live Messenger Web Client

The…

Windows Mobile Live Messenger Web Client

…is takes Live Messenger (formerly MSN Messenger) out of the mobile client world and into the mobile web client world. The overall experience is not too bad. I still prefer having a Mobile Live Messenger client but recognize that having a web version allows for more frequent updates and, hopefully, more iterative innovation.

These mobile web client experiments by Microsoft and others will probably most benefit, um, Apple, Inc. What? You ask? Why?

After the initial afterglow and reality distortion field diminished as MacWorld 2007 receded from reality to memory, Apple took a lot of heat in the press because their initial stand is that they will not permit applications to be installed on the Apple iPhone by the end user. However, the iPhone reportedly has a full Safari browser. If this is true, this means the iPhone should be capable of fully participating in Web 2.0-ish activities in a way that current web-enabled phones cannot. So, applications could be delivered or redeployed as web apps like Windows Mobile Live Messenger Web Client. Assuming you are always connected either by EDGE (phone data) or WiFi (wireless broadband), you would always have access to web-enabled applications.

Mobile Devices
Mobile Phones
Pocket PC/Phone Edition
Smartphone
Windows Mobile

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Q&A New Pocket PCs?

Reader D.K. says: I’ve been reading your blog and site for some time, and am one of the myriad people who greatly appreciate the lengths you’ve gone through to help us plebieans disseminate the complexities of what’s now the WM platform.After being cursed with the imate sp5 (and wm5 for smartphones – what a crock), I’ve decided that I’m going to switch over to a full fledged wm5 pda-phone. I’ve got my eyes set on the htc p3600 (trinity), but it’s still stuck using the samsung 400mhz processor and worse yet, has only 64mb of ram. You had mentioned that a few manufacturers are producing and will soon produce 256mb phones, and I was wondering if you knew if HTC has any underway. It would be a shame to spend nearly $800 only to discover that the phone is obsolete a few months later.

D.K.: Thanks for the kind words. But, you might have read about upcoming phones with 256MB RAM at some other site. Generally speaking, I tend not to write about rumors and unreleased products? Why? (cough, cough)… Mostly because I don’t catch wind of many rumors or get juicy insider tidbits 🙂

That said, the HTC P3600 is a pretty nice looking Pocket PC Phone Edition. I would not be too concerned about the 400MHz Samsung chip. You will probably find it quite acceptable. I’ve got two first generation Windows Mobile 5 Phone Edition units: An iMate K-JAM (195MHz) and an iMate JasJar (520MHz). While the JasJar is definitely much faster than the somewhat pokey K-JAM, the K-JAM is quite usable. I usually carry the K-JAM around as my daily use Pocket PC (I use an SDA as my phone).

I also don’t find the 64MB RAM a limitation. However, I tend not to install a lot of apps on either my Pocket PC or Smartphone. And, I keep all my data on a 1GB mini-SD. So, I haven’t felt any storage crunch issues yet.

Of course, unless you must-a-gotta get a new phone now, it always pays to be be patient and wait for the usual round of announcements of new phones that seem to come out in Spring and Summer.

Mobile Devices
Pocket PC/Phone Edition
Q&A
Windows Mobile

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The CameraPhone (Concept) is 10 Years Old!

Slate has a retrospective on the camera phone in their article (and podcast)…

The Camera Phone

The first commercial camera phones came out a few years later. And, of course, here in the US, we didn’t figure it out until just a few years ago. But, we certainly seemed to have gotten with the program since then, eh?

Mobile Devices
Mobile Phones

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Find Your Phone’s Field Test Mode

Have you ever wanted to get more precise information about your cell phone’s signal strength. This Popular Science article briefly describes what the Field Test Mode is and how to interpret its value.

Popular Science: Stop Dropped Calls

The article links to this 4-page PDF file that provides detailed instructions on how to find this value on dozens of phones.

wpsantennas.com Cellular Phone Field Test Modes (PDF file)

Mobile Devices
Mobile Phones

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Why Did Microsoft Remove Backup/Restore from ActiveSync?

One of the innovations that came with Microsoft Windows Mobile 5 for Pocket PC users was non-volitile flash RAM and the storage of key Windows Mobile databases in this RAM. This meant that both Pocket PC users would no longer lose their contacts and calendars when a battery died. Since Microsoft presumed that Pocket PC users would no longer need to restore their system from a hard disk through ActiveSync, they removed the Backup and Restore function for Pocket PCs in ActiveSync!

IMHO, this was a truly bad idea. Let’s say you lose or badly damage your Pocket PC (or Smartphone for that matter since it was never able to Backup/Restore over ActiveSync since it always had non-volitile flash RAM for PIM data). You go ahead and get an identical new Pocket PC. You know have to rebuild the Pocket PC from scratch. Sure, ActiveSync will repartner with it and flow data from Outlook. But, you have to reinstall your applications, rebuild email definitions for Messaging (Inbox), type in your name, etc., etc. In other words, you end up wasting an hour or more rebuilding your setup. This is something that ActiveSync Restore could have handled mostly unattended in much less time and hassle.

Manufacturers didn’t help matters much either. Prior to Windows Mobile 5, many Pocket PCs came with manufacturer supplied backup-to-storage-card utilities. These utilities archived your system RAM contents to a storage card in a single file. This file could be easily copied to your hard drive and further archived on a CD-R, thumb drive, or network store. But, many WM5 Pocket PCs don’t have these add-on utilities in firmware.

So, now what? Fortunately, there are other people who, like me, believe that a simple single file archival backup is a good idea. I use Spb Backup from Sbp Software House on my i-Mate K-JAM Pocket PC Phone Edition. It’s simple, fast, and has a notification area on my Start window to let me know when I last performed a backup.

Mobile Devices
Pocket PC/Phone Edition
Windows Mobile

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