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runningtiger
Posted on: Aug 4 2007, 08:59 AM


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Aliph, a leading developer of mobile audio products that deliver the best user experience in any environment, today announced that its Jawbone Bluetooth headset is going international. Jawbone is available in UK starting today for £79.99 through an exclusive retail partnership with The Carphone Warehouse.

Jawbone is a groundbreaking Bluetooth headset that integrates an advanced, military-grade noise cancelling system called Noise Shield that enables clear conversations even in the most extreme environments. Jawbone eliminates background noise, improves sound quality and seamlessly adjusts microphone and earpiece volume throughout the call. Its superior technology combined with premium design have earned Jawbone recognition as CNET’s “highest rated Bluetooth headset ever,” one of PC World’s “100 Best Products of 2007,” and Engadget’s “wearable device of the year,”

in addition to recent Spark and IDEA international design awards.

The Carphone Warehouse is Europe's leading independent retailer of mobile phones and services, with over 2,000 stores in 11 countries and 784 in the UK. The Carphone Warehouse has built up a significant Telecoms business that contributes to 50% of the group's revenue and is a major driver of future profitable growth.

"We’re thrilled to bring the Jawbone headset to the UK with The Carphone Warehouse” said Alexander Asseily, Aliph co-founder and head of European operations. “The demand for better Bluetooth headsets is here and by partnering with one of Europe’s most innovative mobile products retailers we’re able to bring Jawbone’s ground breaking technology and design to a sophisticated and demanding market."

“We’ve watched Jawbone launch off the charts in the US with leading retailers,” said Charlotte Alberry, Head of Mobile Entertainment and Accessories at Carphone Warehouse. “We’re thrilled to have the exclusive on this best-in-class headset and what is arguably the hottest mobile companion product to launch this year.”
  Forum: Home Page News · Post Preview: #59419 · Replies: 1 · Views: 2,586

runningtiger
Posted on: Aug 3 2007, 01:40 AM


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Just curious Earl? Or, looking beyond your BlackJack?
  Forum: Home Page News · Post Preview: #59400 · Replies: 5 · Views: 3,422

runningtiger
Posted on: Jul 31 2007, 10:48 AM


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Continuing our look at the HTC Touch p3450, today we look at the applications launcher and the favorite contacts dialer.

Read the full review here, and today's installment here.

Come back daily for a closer look at this little wonder as we make our way up, down, and around this baby and point out the highs and lows.
  Forum: Home Page News · Post Preview: #59387 · Replies: 0 · Views: 1,303

runningtiger
Posted on: Jul 31 2007, 10:41 AM


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The third tab of the HTC Touch Today Screen is a program launcher for the nine programs that you most want fast access to. By touching the “+” in an empty square you will be taken to a list of items located on your “Start Menu”. Select the one you want by highlighting it then pressing the left soft key labeled “Select”. You should then see the icon for your selected item in place of the “+” symbol. Press on the icon and your favorite item will be launched without digging through any menus. There are even a few pre-loaded shortcuts to get you started. To make changes, simply press the “X” symbol located in the 10th space on the launcher. You will see any set shortcuts you may have made now have an “X” overlay on them. Press the “X” and that shortcut will be deleted. Return to the screen where you can add shortcuts by pressing the return arrow in the 10th space of the launcher. Easy!

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The favorite contacts panel of the cube works the very same way. Swipe your finger up your screen to bring up the TouchFlo cube and rotate it until you see the favorite contacts panel. Select one of the empty squares and then press the “+” symbol which will take you to your contacts list where you can choose which one to add. If you have associated a photo with this contact then the photo will show up on the square. If no photo is associated, then the contact's name will show up instead. Just like the application launcher, to delete a contact press the icon that has the “X” on his head. Then all your favorite contacts shortcuts will have an “X” on them as well. Press whichever one you want to delete and then press the return arrow at the bottom of the screen. You can now add another contact to the list or use any of the phone related shortcuts at the bottom of this panel. From left to right, you can open the phone dialer, open your call history, open your contacts list, and as mentioned previously, the last icon is used to delete a favorite contact from the photo dialer. If you are done with the favorite contacts dialer, then swipe your finger down the screen to put it away.

Interestingly, pressing a favorite contact does not dial a number – instead, it opens their contact card and you can select what you want to do. You may want to call their mobile number, or their home, or send them an SMS etc. You choose. Some will like this setup and others will be disappointed it does not function as a one press speed dial application.

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There is another way to speed dial that you can setup in advance which number to dial so it will dial immediately upon being pressed. Bring up the phone application by pressing the green “talk” key on the front of the phone next to the d-pad. Press the right soft key labeled “Menu” and choose “Speed Dial”. Again, press the right soft key labeled “Menu” and select “New”. This will bring up your list of contacts. Choose the one you want and in the “Number:” drop-down box choose the number you want associated with this speed dial then choose the location you want it saved to in the “Location:” drop down box. You can rename it if you want and when you are done making all your choices, press “OK” in the upper right hand corner of this window to save your changes and close the window. Repeat until you have made all your speed dials and then press OK in the upper right hand corner to return to the dial pad. When you want to call someone you have setup on speed dial, just press and hold the number you saved them to. To dial the contact you saved to position 2, just press and hold your finger on the “2” key for a moment until it starts to dial your contact. Notice that position 1 has been reserved for your voicemail.

You can use both ways to dial numbers of your most frequently dialed contacts. One is faster (direct access without bringing up the TouchFlo interface). The other is more visual since it uses images to remind you which contacts have been saved and gives you more choices as to what you want to do with the contact you have chosen: call mobile, call home, SMS, etc. Both work well for different scenarios so it is nice to have access to both applications.

Next time I will share some tips and tweaks to help make using the new Touch even more user friendly.
  Forum: Hardware Reviews · Post Preview: #59386 · Replies: 22 · Views: 41,348

runningtiger
Posted on: Jul 30 2007, 11:34 PM


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Name a cellular provider and you will find people who love them AND people who loathe them. So much depends on coverage in your area and if you ever have a problem or, not...and how customer service handles (or does not handle) it. It's a tough question to answer and you'd probably be well served asking around in your immediate community of friends and acquaintances to see if anyone has experience with both locally to get a better idea what your experience may be. Also, do they both offer a device and/or plan that you want? That is a real big factor when deciding. Good luck!
  Forum: Verizon Wireless · Post Preview: #59381 · Replies: 3 · Views: 21,396

runningtiger
Posted on: Jul 28 2007, 07:10 AM


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Do you have a HTC Typhoon or Feeler, OR the Cingular 3125 that you contacted me about needing to know how to hard reset?

The 3125 procedure is:
Start > Accessories > Clear Storage
Enter 1234 into the text box and then press the YES button.

This clears out EVERYTHING on the phone and sets it all back to defaults.

<OR, what you need if it won't boot>
Power down the phone (pull the battery out if necessary). Then hold both of the "soft buttons", the two dashes above the green dial button and the red hang-up/power button, and while holding them down, press and RELEASE the red hang-up/power button and you will get a message to press 0 to reset to factory settings. Press 0 and it will begin the reinstall.

All the settings will be returned to factory defaults.
  Forum: HTC Typhoon & Feeler · Post Preview: #59366 · Replies: 7 · Views: 6,291

runningtiger
Posted on: Jul 27 2007, 11:44 AM


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Continuing our look at the HTC Touch p3450, today we look at the camera.

Read the full review here, and today's installment here.

Come back daily for a closer look at this little wonder as we make our way up, down, and around this baby and point out the highs and lows.
  Forum: Home Page News · Post Preview: #59356 · Replies: 0 · Views: 1,704

runningtiger
Posted on: Jul 27 2007, 11:33 AM


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I used to carry a small camera with me just for those moments when you wish you had a camera, but due to the size of your “real” camera you just do not carry it with you everywhere your go. I progressed through the years with newer and better versions of the Casio Exilim, always appreciating the very small footprint of the thing. Having a camera built-in to my phone (something I carry everyday anyway) is an idea I immediately loved, but also recognized the limitations resulting in images that over the years have gone from awful, to passable, to pretty good. The cameras built in to cell phones are getting better, but still are not great. I would not document my summer vacation using my cell phone camera, but I still want to take it out of my pocket and get that once-in-a-lifetime image AND have it be worthwhile to look at after the fact. Are we there yet?

There are probably really only two aspects of a camera that the casual snapshot taker cares about…the interface, and the quality of the image. Certainly there is much more that could be discussed: lens quality, compression algorithms, aperture and shutter speeds, etc. The list goes on and on, so I will leave these technical discussions up to someone else. What I want to know is can I figure out how to use the camera without consulting the manual, and are the images I end up with worthwhile?

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The camera included on the Touch is improved over my previous HTC device (the T-Mobile MDA/HTC Wizard). I like that HTC still provided a dedicated button on the right-hand side of the phone to quickly access the camera. They killed all the other buttons, but that one stayed. Good choice. When you turn the phone on it’s side to take a photo, the camera button falls directly under your right index finger. This is where you expect a shutter button to be on a regular camera. By the way, this is the only button on the phone HTC gives you the option of changing to open another application that may suit your needs better. My MDA had 5 buttons (6 if you count that one button could handle two functions), and I thought that was sparse! If you want to change the camera button to open something else, just go to the Start menu, then settings, and select “Buttons” (funny, they could have renamed it “Button” since there is only one option to change). Then, down where it says “Assign a Program”, drop the list down (actually up) and pick the best option for you.

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The most appreciated improvement is that HTC has put the frequently used controls for the camera right on the screen and made the buttons big enough to use your fingers to easily change the settings. Excellent! I remember seeing a guy at Disneyland, standing there with his Treo – poking at it with the little stylus – trying to take a photo and the experience was much the same on my MDA. Ugh! With the Touch’s camera if you want to change the shooting mode (photo, video, MMS video, contacts picture, picture theme, sports, or burst) there are no menus to dig through. Right there on the screen in the upper left corner is a button that you can scroll left/right and set it to the shooting mode that you prefer. The lower left corner has a button to quickly open the photo album so you can review or share your photos. The lower right corner has a “menu” button where you can go to change settings that you do not need “on the fly” (metering mode, time stamp, shutter sound, grid etcetera) and the upper right corner has an “X” to close the camera application. The number to the left of the "X" indicates how many images, at your current settings, you can store to your chosen location either on the phone or on your storage card.

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In the center of the bottom edge is a slide-up control console/tray that expands when you touch it and from here you can quickly change the resolution you want to shoot at, the white balance, the exposure +/- 2.0 steps (in .5 increments), choose to store to your phone or your storage card, and set the self-timer on/off. What’s really nice about this is you can see the scene your shooting on the top part of the screen still so as you cycle through the white balance settings and/or the +/- exposure settings you can see the effect they are having and choose the one that looks the best. When you are done using these settings, just touch the upper part of the screen and the tray slides back down out of your way so you can take the picture. You can either use the dedicated camera button or the center of your d-pad as a shutter button to take the picture. Once you take the photo you get to review it and choose to trash it if you want (after a confirmation screen) or be taken back to your live view within a few seconds. There is a setting for 3 seconds or 10 second review. I find the 3 second one too fast, so I chose 10 seconds and usually that is too long. Thankfully there is a button on the screen that looks like a camera. Pressing that one returns you to the live view immediately. I think the entire interface is superbly done.

Did I say the interface was the most appreciated improvement? The quality of the images has got to be the most appreciated right? I mean, that is why we take photos to begin with! The Touch comes with a 2.0 mega pixel camera that is a bigger improvement over my MDA’s 1.3 than it might sound. I have attached to the bottom of this post examples so you can download them and judge for yourself. Does the Touch take perfect photos? No. Does it take good photos? Yes. Will you be embarrassed to show your friends? No. Do they look good on a computer? Yes. Do they look fantastic on the phone? Yes!! In fact, I had the opportunity to talk to a non-techie friend who’s only comment about the iPhone was the camera took crummy photos. I showed her the photos I had taken on my Touch, and she said they looked “much better” to her. Take that for what it’s worth since it is totally un-scientific. Like I said, you be the judge.

Keep in mind these are the full size 1600x1200 images (basically equal to a 16x12 inch photo). Most likely you would not view them this large as you would probably reduce them to your monitor size or a size suitable for printing like 4x6, 5x7 inches etc. If you are going to view them at this size, remember the rule and view them from the longest side x 4. In other words, 5 feet (16x4=64 inches/5ft 4in) is the proper viewing distance for the size of this original file. Viewing them closer will show the "grain". Most printers would recommend not printing a 1600x1200 image larger than 8x10. So, be fair and view them accordingly. I am not making excuses for the quality. There are issues with soft focus and pixelization among other things. Except for the one, these were shot indoors using only the available light. They are what they are. Reduced in size for a 4x6 print, I think they are quite acceptable and a HUGE improvement over my previous phone's camera. Viewing them full size from just 16-20 inches away will give you a good look at their shortcomings but not really what they would look like as a print.

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There is something to take issue with and that is the way in which the images are saved, or actually displayed on screen. I understand why they have done what they have done, but it creates a rather big issue to deal with – especially for the casual user that I think this device is aimed at. Images shot horizontally/landscape (turning the phone on it’s side) are stored exactly as shot. So, when you open the album to view your photos the thumbnails are all sideways. No big deal, just turn your phone on it’s side and things look great. The problem is when you transfer the images to your computer – they ALL need to be ROTATED to view them correctly. This is TERRIBLE. I just transferred 43 images from my phone to my laptop. Luckily I have imaging software that is capable of performing batch editing and I am familiar enough with it to perform the task. That is not true for everyone. If I did not have software capable of turning a whole batch of images 90 degrees to the left, I would have to sit here and do it one by one. That would be painful and it should not be this way - at all. And what if I wanted to plug in to a friend’s computer or TV to have an impromptu slide show? All the images are sideways! The built-in Pictures & Video viewer can play a slide-show but will only rotate the images in two directions – neither of which is the correct orientation to view them on an external monitor that you cannot easily rotate the way you can the phone in your hand. Oops. There is a way around this (fix the orientation for a slideshow) and I will detail it in the upcoming Tips installment. Unfortunately, I have no fix* when it comes to getting the photos orientated correctly on your computer screen except get comfortable with the photo editing software of your choice and find out if it can run batch fixes.

It is too bad there is this issue because otherwise, the camera and the interface are very good.

* (Update: I have since found out there is a VERY easy built-in way to rotate all the images, at once, if you are using WindowsXP at least. I cannot say if it is available in other versions of Windows or other Operating Systems however. But, at least on my computer, this is no longer a big deal at all. I will detail how to do this in the Tips installment later on.)

Next time I will go over setting up the launcher for your favorite programs on the third tab of the Today Screen and your favorite 9 on the photo dialer side of the cube.

Attached File  IMAG0034_Touch.zip ( 297.77K ) Number of downloads: 1116
Attached File  IMAG0035_Touch.zip ( 293.57K ) Number of downloads: 700
Attached File  IMAG0036_Touch.zip ( 231.48K ) Number of downloads: 650
Attached File  IMAG0040.zip ( 249.84K ) Number of downloads: 683


Below, I've attached one of the images from above, but reduced it to 640x480 which is a common size to view images on a computer screen (so it can be seen realistically without having to download the larger image).

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  Forum: Hardware Reviews · Post Preview: #59355 · Replies: 22 · Views: 41,348

runningtiger
Posted on: Jul 26 2007, 10:41 PM


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It's included on the new HTC Touch, so I would not be surprised to see it pulled out and available somewhere as a stand-alone add on for HTC devices...either through official channels, or not so official wink.gif Keep an eye on the XDA-Developers site for such things. Their link is located in the side bar of this page under "Mobilegadgetnews Friends".

I have used the CVC on the Touch, and it works pretty well once you learn how to use it...which doesn't take long. When you initiate the program the screen has the scripts right there for you to read (just insert the name of who you are calling etc). I like that 'cuz I'd always forget exactly the words I am supposed to use to talk to it. That's due to the fact I just don't use it enough. If I used it all the time, it'd become second nature no doubt.

It's not perfect though, there is at least one contact I have not been able to EVER say right to make it dial. It's an easy name so I don't understand what the problem is. Getting it to just open a contact is pretty much hit or miss...mostly miss. I get frustrated with any of these types of programs (I've tried MS's too) that I just long for the good ol'days of voice tags. Which the Touch can still do. But, then again I don't have a very big need for this sort of dialing so my motivation to use it isn't high. laugh.gif

Good luck!
  Forum: HTC Phone Edition Devices · Post Preview: #59348 · Replies: 1 · Views: 16,394

runningtiger
Posted on: Jul 26 2007, 10:18 PM


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That looks very nice and the specs are great too. I wonder, since no mention was made, what are the dimensions of this phone (especially curious about the thickness of it)? And, how big is the screen? WM Professional tends to mean a 2.8" screen but at least one of i-Mate's upcoming Ultimates says it has a 2.6". The Vox Smartphone has a 2.4" doesn't it? The two standards are converging! wink.gif But, I digress...how big is the screen and how big is the device in general? Will be interesting to see. Nice to see a PPC with a full dialpad. The appearance of this PPC is very similar to the HTC Vox, don'tcha think?
  Forum: Home Page News · Post Preview: #59347 · Replies: 1 · Views: 2,444

runningtiger
Posted on: Jul 26 2007, 10:12 PM


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I would not use anything with a swollen battery. But, that's just me. Interesting to read that Smeg did it without issue though.
  Forum: Motorola MPx220 · Post Preview: #59346 · Replies: 9 · Views: 8,788

runningtiger
Posted on: Jul 26 2007, 11:20 AM


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Continuing our look at the HTC Touch p3450, today we look at the new "Media Hub" of the cube and the Audio Manager/Player.

Read the full review here, and today's installment here.

Come back daily for a closer look at this little wonder as we make our way up, down, and around this baby and point out the highs and lows.
  Forum: Home Page News · Post Preview: #59340 · Replies: 0 · Views: 909

runningtiger
Posted on: Jul 26 2007, 11:13 AM


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Yesterday I talked about the Applications side of the cube and how to get going on the internet using the Comm Manager and Internet Explorer. The other shortcuts on that side of the cube are for your email and messaging, tasks lists and calendar. These are frequently used applications and it is nice having a quick way to access them. It is also nice having quick access to your music, photo, and video files – your media. This is probably more important on the Touch than on other PPCs (Pocket PC devices) since this one is clearly aimed at the NON-professional/business user. After all, when you open the box, the first thing you see (after the Touch itself) is a pair of headphones. HTC seems to be saying the Touch is about personal entertainment, above all else - other than being a phone, we presume – and certainly before being a business machine.

Personally, I use my device less each day as a phone and more as a music player that is also internet capable, so this is an important area to me. Mostly the Touch succeeds, but it does have some issues – that can be dealt with by a patient/determined user. I wish it were as simple as making some menu choices to get things set up the way each user prefers, but sadly it is not so easy. This is a stumble when the device seemingly is taking aim at the consumer market. In the Tips installment later on, I will go into detail about how to tweak a thing or two – if you want to. You do not have to tweak anything as you can use it like it is right out of the box. More experienced (demanding) users will want to customize things like changing what folder opens when you press the photos or video buttons on the “Media Hub”. One should not be forced to download extra software and wade into editing the registry to accomplish this task…but, sadly it does. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

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So, you want to listen to some music, watch a video, or look at some photos. This is also probably the area you will get/want to show off to your friends the most. As such, it is a good thing it is VERY easily done via the “Media Hub” side of the cube. Bring up the TouchFlo interface by swiping a finger up the screen and then rotate the cube to the “Media Hub” (if it is not already on the correct side). Music is the top most choice, so let’s start there. Pressing the “Music” button will open the “Audio Manager”. This is a welcome change of scenery for most experienced Windows Mobile users. The player has very large finger friendly buttons that makes any adjustments you want to make to your music (volume +/-, play/pause, ff/rew, random play, and repeat) extremely easy. There are two soft buttons labeled “Library” and “Menu”. The menu button lets you determine a few settings like repeat and shuffle, time display (elapsed or remaining) etc. And, there is a tool on there for making the track you are listening to a ringtone. You can clip just a snippet and save it very easily. This is a nice add-on many will find useful. The library button takes you to the music you have stored on your device or storage card. The first time you open it, it will take the player a little bit of time to search and identify all your music files and playlists. It also sorts the same songs into the categories/folders album, genre, and composers. The one labeled “Playlists” is where I hit my first snag.

I am using the same storage card I used in my HTC Wizard PPC and I had already stored my playlists in a folder named “My Playlists”, but these were not found since it only looks for playlists in folders named “Playlists” (which can be on the storage card and/or the device – see the note on page 177 of the user manual). That’s just silly in my opinion. So be it. I created the properly named folder using the built-in “File Explorer” and moved on. Once that was done, things went great. When I re-open the player, the music (playlist) I was listening to prior to shutting the player down the last time I used it is ready to pickup where I left off. This was a nagging issue for me on my prior device. Back then, each time I opened Windows Media Player (WMP) it would not have any music loaded and I would have to go to the library, then playlists, and then choose a playlist BEFORE I could start listening to music. The new Audio Manager is user friendly and ready to play music as soon as it’s opened which is a big improvement in my book. Well, not quite “as soon as it’s opened”…from the time you press “Music” on the “Media Hub” until the time the player actually opens and is ready to play there is a delay that the first time you experience feels like something has gone wrong and the phone is frozen. It is not, just give it a moment or two to open the player and the music file and all goes fine from there. I think the size of the delay maybe depends on the size of the playlist or song that is being opened. At any rate, allow it to do it's thing and do not immediately go into panic mode.

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So, this music player is better than the old WMP, but that is not to say it is not without its own issues. If you have your music files named to include the track number, for some reason it will not honor that sort order and so your album will be played out of order. I do not have entire CDs on my storage card so I did not notice this myself and I generally listen in random order anyway, so I have been pleased. Also, this application was designed specifically to be used without a stylus yet when you press the “Library” soft button if you want to return to the player you have to either press the right soft button labeled “Menu” and then choose “Player” or simply tap on whatever music track you want (either the one currently playing, or a new choice). Both can not go as expected if you touch the wrong choice. The left soft button space is empty and seems like it should be labeled “Player” so you would have a very easy and obvious way to return to the player (most the other screens have such a button). On the other hand, it is very easy to return to your library by touching the name of your current playlist which is indicated by a dark color “button” at the top of this window. It does not really look like a button, but it is. If you keep pressing the dark colored choice at the top of each window you will move up the list until you return to the original screen where your files are sorted into the following folders/categories: all songs, playlists, artists, album, genre, composers, and protected. This system is very easy to navigate.

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If you are using a headset (either wired or stereo bluetooth) to listen to your music and a call comes in, the music will pause until the call is ended then it will resume. If you want to multi-task (continue listening to music while you use your device for something else) simply press the red “end call” key to be returned to your Today Screen. Now, when you call up the cube it will be on the “Media Hub” still but you will see the player controls and your track info on the “Music” button. You do not need to return to the player to pause or ff/rew to another track. Nice. If you want to stop your music AND close the player, just go ahead and press the “Music” button and you will be returned to the full player. Press the play/pause button to stop your music then either close the player using the “X” in the upper right hand corner (easiest) or press the right soft menu labeled “Menu” and then select “Exit”. The player will close and you will see the “Media Hub” once again. A quick swipe down will close it and return you to your Today Screen.

I have noticed there will sometimes be a delay as the player closes down before I get back to my Today Screen. The first time this happened I kind of panicked and thought the phone was frozen and was ready to reset the device when all of a sudden the “Media Hub” disappeared and all was well again. This needs to be improved in my opinion. I can live with it and it is not that big of a deal, but the delay should not exist at all. New users may be thrown if they experience this, that is until they get used to the delay.

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The other choices on the “Media Hub” are photos and videos. Press either one and you will see the contents of the “\My Documents\My Pictures” folder or the “\My Documents\My Videos” folder. Neither one of these is where I store my pictures or videos and it is harder than it should be to make these buttons point to where you want them to – like “Storage Card\My Pictures” or “Storage Card\My Videos”. Again, in the Tips installment I will detail how to get around this if it is not setup the way you want.

So, say you clicked on “Photos” and you are done looking at them - just close the window by pressing the “OK” button in the upper right corner (if you are looking at a specific image) then the upper right “X” to close the Pictures & Video viewer, then swipe down the screen to put the “Media Hub” away.

That’s it. It is fun to show off to friends with the exception of the delay when you startup or close the Audio Manager and want to return to your Today Screen. However, after the pause, things work well.

Next time we’ll look at the camera, which is much improved over previous versions!
  Forum: Hardware Reviews · Post Preview: #59339 · Replies: 22 · Views: 41,348

runningtiger
Posted on: Jul 25 2007, 11:58 AM


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Continuing our look at the HTC Touch p3450, today we see how to use TouchFlo to bring up the Applications Launcher and use Comm Manager to make an internet connection via EDGE/GPRS or Wi-Fi.

Read the full review here, and today's installment here.

Come back daily for a closer look at this little wonder as we make our way up, down, and around this baby and point out the highs and lows.
  Forum: Home Page News · Post Preview: #59330 · Replies: 0 · Views: 988

runningtiger
Posted on: Jul 25 2007, 11:48 AM


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Besides listening to music, looking at a particular web page is probably one of the things most are interested in doing. There is more than one way to make an internet connection on the Touch. The two most common are using EDGE/GPRS and the other is to use Wi-Fi. EDGE/GPRS is built-in and ready to use once you have your carrier’s settings in your phone correctly (see yesterday’s post). EDGE is the faster of the two, but not always available. If that is the case your phone will default down to the GPRS connection.

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You can tell which of these services is available to you by checking the top bar of your screen. If there is a large “E” or “G” located in the center that indicates which service is available. If there is nothing there, then you cannot make a data connection for the moment. Once you see one of these indicators you can make a data connection. And, when the connection is active, you will also see the corresponding letter over the signal strength bars…“E” for EDGE, “G” for GPRS.

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From the Today screen, swipe your finger up to bring up the cube and rotate it to the application launcher and press on the Internet Explorer button. This will open a default screen with a quick link to mobile.htc.com – which is a good first page to visit. It has links to some interesting pages to start viewing as well as some free downloads etc. That is all there is to begin surfing the net using the EDGE/GPRS connection. Notice that the left soft key is named “Favorites”. Press on it and you will see a few bookmarked pages to give you some place to start. Once you start visiting your favorite sites you can bookmark them and save them here so you can easily come back to them later on. To bookmark a site, once you are on that page press on the right soft button marked “Menu” then select “Add to Favorites…” A page will come up where you can name it something meaningful to you, verify the address is correct, and then press add to save it.

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The second common way to make an internet connection is by using Wi-Fi. Again, start out by bringing up the cube, but this time press the Comm Manager button and then press the WLAN button. This will turn on the Wi-Fi “radio” inside your phone. If you are within range of a Wi-Fi signal (your home network perhaps) a wizard will pop up on the bottom of the screen indicating wireless networks that are within range and it asks you to “Select a network to connect to:”. These are “access points”, or commonly referred to as “hotspots”. Chances are there will be more than one so simply tap on the name of the one that is available to you and that you know the password for if necessary.

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The next window will ask you to select if the access point/hotspot you selected connects to the internet or to “Work”. “Work” indicates a private network, so chances are you will want to tap on “the internet” as your choice. If the network you chose is “security enabled” you will be asked to enter the “key” (password), then press “connect”. If it is not a secure network, do not enter anything and just press “connect”. Look at the top of your screen and notice the Wi-Fi status indicator. When the arrows stop being animated and the little tower icon has a solid circle around the top part you are connected to the network and ready to surf. The next time you are within range of this network you will be able to connect automatically within seconds of turning on Wi-Fi in the Comm Manager. You only have to go through this setup procedure each time you connect to a new network for the first time.

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Once you have connected to a Wi-Fi network, the settings will be saved and you can see/edit/delete these settings by tapping on the soft menu labeled “Settings” from the Comm Manager page. Choose “Wireless LAN” then press the left soft button labeled “Menu” and choose “Wi-Fi”. There you will see the network names that are available to you now, or that you connected to in the past. If you will not be using a particular network again you can delete it by either pressing directly on the name of it long enough to bring up a menu that has “remove settings” as a choice or by highlighting the one you want to delete and then pressing the right soft button labeled “Menu” and choosing “Remove Settings”.

Once you are connected, press Comm Manager’s left soft button labeled “Exit” or tap the “X” in the upper right-hand corner then bring up the cube and press the “Internet Explorer” button. Then you can go to whatever web page you want.

Normally, you do not need to go into the settings menu. Just bring up the cube and if it is not already on the correct panel then rotate it to the application launcher. Press the Comm Manager button, press the WLAN button, and then press the "X" in the upper right corner to close the window. Watch the top bar and when you see that Wi-Fi has connected bring up the cube and this time press the Internet Explorer button and you are off and running.

The Touch can also connect to the internet via a dial-up connection just like your computer can do. You will need to contact your ISP (Internet Service Provider) for an access phone number and have your username and password handy before you setup this connection. This is a less common way of connecting to the internet, so if you need the details go to page 138 in the user manual for instructions.

If you use EDGE/GPRS or a dial-up connection you will be using either data or minutes from your phone plan. Both these methods can run up quite the bill unless you have the unlimited plan. Also, carriers may charge even more if you use your phone as a dial-up modem for a laptop. So, be sure and consult your carrier and completely understand the charges involved BEFORE you connect for the first time, or you may be VERY sorry when you get next month’s bill!

If you have access to a Wi-Fi hotspot the connection and any surfing you do is “free”. The exception being some hotspots you have to pay to use. For instance, the ones at Starbucks and McDonald’s etc. Starbucks are part of the T-Mobile “hotspots” network and many McDonald’s and Barnes & Noble stores are part of the “Blue” (AT&T) network and there are monthly charges involved. That said, depending on where you live, there may be PLENTY of free hotspots. There are entire cities with a complete blanket of Wi-Fi coverage or there are individual businesses that offer it as an incentive to customers. Many restaurants and cafes, car repair facilities, schools and libraries, and city parks are common locations to find free Wi-Fi networks available. A little research may turn up a few locations that you frequent, or that you will become a customer of now that you know they offer this service to their patrons. **Common sense is imperative when choosing to connect to a free Wi-Fi hotspot. Only connect to networks that you trust not to be malicious.** Be as protective of the information on your phone as you are of the information on your home computer.

However you choose to connect to the internet, you can now explore Windows Live, Messenger, check your email, streaming media, RSS info feeds, etc.

Have fun!

Next up is the new Audio Manager and the "Media Hub" panel of the cube.
  Forum: Hardware Reviews · Post Preview: #59329 · Replies: 22 · Views: 41,348

runningtiger
Posted on: Jul 25 2007, 09:32 AM


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Welcome to MGN and congrats on your first post! We all learn from each other, so dig in!!!

Is your phone a Motorola Q? Or, is it just something particular about this home screen that attracts you? I have no experience with the Q's home screen, so can't offer any assistance there. If that is your device, hopefully Smeg will pop in here 'cuz he had that phone and has posted some of his home screens. Check the "Show us your Home Screen!" post to see his most recent efforts. If you just want some basics on home screen editing, then I can offer some help and hopefully others will chime in with their .02

Basically, if you have a Smartphone (not a PocketPC), then home screen .XML files are located in the \Application Data\Home folder. Use ActiveSync to COPY that file to your computer then open it with Notepad so you can see how it's been written. You should see things like "schemes" being defined, "plugins" being inserted in the desired order, labels in different languages defined perhaps, etc.

Practice by starting with one of the default home screens that comes closest to what you want and then work at changing it one thing at a time so you can see what changes when you edit something. It's very much about trial & error. At least it was for me. WARNING: Be prepared for things not to go right. The very first time I had to hard reset my device was 'cuz I downloaded someone else's home screen and tried it on my phone and my phone would no longer boot. I had to hard reset, which means I lost every bit of customizing I'd done and I had to start over. <drag> So, if going back to square one is too depressing at this point, make a backup of your device now using something like Sprite Backup software for instance. It costs about $30 but is well worth it if you're gonna start tinkering under the hood of your device. It'll save you a LOT of pain and heartache. That said, what happens more often then crashing your device (if the code isn't perfect) is it just won't load right. You'll get a funky b&w screen with the message to change you home screen to one that works and once you do that you're fine. Just be ready to have it not go perfect...then go for it!

So, once you have made some changes to the .XML file you copied to your PC, save it with a new name then copy it back to your device, load it by going to "settings\home screen\home screen layout" and choose the file you created and see what it looks like and go from there.

If you start researching home screen .XML you'll quickly notice that a lot of the developers use plugins that are not included with your device. Some of these, like Fizz Weather and Facade, are not free. If you try to use a home screen that has a plugin on it that you don't have on your phone - it won't work. Obviously, right?

Anyway, much can be done with the free plugins included on your device and free ones that can be downloaded elsewhere. I'll wait until I read what you like about the screen you commented on before going into any more detail.

So, what do you want your home screen to look like? To make it more feminine do you just want a different wallpaper (background image)? Do you like the row of icons to launch your favorite programs? If so, do you want to see the same icons there all the time, or are your most recently used (MRU) program icons the ones you want to see? Be as specific as you can so we can offer specific advice.
  Forum: Motorola Q · Post Preview: #59328 · Replies: 16 · Views: 34,982

runningtiger
Posted on: Jul 24 2007, 08:20 PM


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The boys over at Airfagev love their games and free apps! Check them out, but take note that not all the applications are wm5 (or wm6) compatible. Of course, most the newer ones are.
  Forum: General Discussion · Post Preview: #59323 · Replies: 6 · Views: 2,474

runningtiger
Posted on: Jul 24 2007, 10:41 AM


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Today we are continuing our look at the HTC Touch p3450.
What comes in the box and how do you get started using the Touch?

Read the full review here, and today's installment here.

Come back daily for a closer look at this little wonder as we make our way up, down, and around this baby and point out the highs and lows.
  Forum: Home Page News · Post Preview: #59316 · Replies: 0 · Views: 1,048

runningtiger
Posted on: Jul 24 2007, 10:28 AM


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So, let’s get started…

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First off, the packaging is EXTREMELY nice. Once you open the lid, you are immediately presented with the Touch and a pair of stereo ear buds that also control the phone part of the device. You can adjust volume, send/end calls, and put a caller on hold all with the same headset. Lift the phone up and out and you’ll see it also comes with a 1GB microSD card (made by pqi) to use for storage of music files, photos, etc. My first impression is that the photos I have seen on the internet just do not do justice in showing how small this device is (see the photos below compared to my MDA/Wizard). The Touch is just about the same size as the MDA minus the slide out keyboard part - it is shorter and a tad thicker than just the top of the MDA.

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Digging down in the box there is a battery which HTC rates at 200 hours standby/5 hours talk time for GSM (phone use). Media playback time is up to 12 hours audio (WMA) and 8 hours video (WMV). The WMA and WMV are extensions for Windows Media files as opposed to MP3 audio or AVI video files for example. I wonder if that means the battery will run out faster if you have all your music encoded as MP3s? My guess is since this is a Microsoft Windows Mobile device they want to highlight the MS file options. FYI: WMA files encoded at the same quality (say 192kbps) as an MP3 will result in a smaller file size allowing you to store more music on your storage card. For instance, the same song is 3.14 MB as a MP3 file, but only 1.59 MB when encoded as a WMA file. Moving on…

There is an AC adapter to plug into the wall (and since this device is not for sale yet in the U.S. and therefore not packaged for here, the supplier has included a U.S. plug adapter – thank you!) and there is also a USB Sync cable to plug into your desktop computer. There is a small pouch/sleeve to tuck your Touch into, however it does not have any way of attaching it to a belt, or waistband, or clip, or anything. It is solely a snug sleeve that will protect the phone if you put it in a pocket, bag, or briefcase. There is also a set of foam earpiece covers for the headset, an extra stylus (there is another one tucked away in the stylus holder on the phone, so you get a total of two of these things that hopefully will almost never be needed!), and a screen protector. Nice!

There are a couple CD-ROMs. One is the Getting Started Disc, which has a digital copy of the “Windows Mobile Device Handbook: installs on your desktop giving you instant access to the user manual, tours, tutorials, and helpful links” and ActiveSync since it probably isn’t already installed on our PC. There is also a 60-day trial of Microsoft Office Outlook 2007. Suffice it to say, you do not need the latest version of Outlook to sync your device. I am using the 2003 version and it works just fine. The other disc is the included applications disc and has some great software on it. You will find Sprite Backup (do NOT leave home without it!) Sprite makes a backup copy of your personalized setup and allows you to restore it on the fly if for some reason you have to hard reset your device (blank it out and start over), Spb GPRS Monitor (measures the amounts of data transfers via your network connection and calculates network usage costs), and CE-Star (enables your WM5 (and WM6) device to view and write Chinese and Japanese in all applications). This is some very impressive software to have included. I previously have purchased Sprite and it cost about $30 US.

Next, there is a “Read Me First” guide in the box that has all the basics to get up and running. There is also a user guide, which is excellent, so I am going to skip past how to insert and charge the battery (3 hours is not much to ask you to wait before diving into your new toy…err, phone/device wink.gif ). Installing the SIM card and memory card are easy enough also. I will say I was expecting this to be harder than it was. I had read reviews that made it sound like one had to do acrobatics to get these cards in/out of the phone. I had no trouble with it whatsoever and so really do not know what these other reviewers were taking issue with.

Lastly, there are the warranty, Microsoft software license terms, and HTC Customer Care phone number cards. Let's hope I will not be needing that! Ever!! laugh.gif

Once the Touch is charged, turn it on by pressing the power button on top for a couple seconds then follow along through the Quick Setup Wizard. When it reaches the Today Screen, it is ready to be used. But, what can you do with it besides use it as a phone and to listen to your music? And, by the way, it is an excellent phone. I have not seen less than the full four bars of signal strength. I use my Touch on the AT&T network in Southern California and have not had any calls dropped or any connection issues at all. I hear callers very well and they report no problems hearing me. I have traveled outside my home area, taking a trip to Phoenix with my new phone, and had no problems there (or, in between) either.

The first thing I do is Sync my phone with my PC. If you are using Windows XP, ActiveSync is probably not pre-installed on your PC so you will start out by installing it from the included software disc. Vista uses the Mobile Device Center. I have no experience with it so will not be mentioning it again. I assume whenever I mention ActiveSync, just substitute Device Center and go from there. The Touch is running Windows Mobile 6 (wm6) so it allows you to easily sync your Outlook contacts, email, tasks, and calendar with your desktop PC. A really cool feature of a Windows Mobile device is you can customize it to work the way you work (or, play wink.gif ) If you want to use more of the standard plugins on your Today Screen then just the calendar (that is setup automatically), then go to “Start” in the upper left corner of the screen and choose Settings, then press the “Today” icon and select the “Items” tab. Simply put a check mark next to any of the ones you want to use, or uncheck the ones you do not want. Select the “Appearance” tab and choose which theme you want and notice the box that you can select and then browse to an image anywhere on your device that you want to use as wallpaper. It is completely customizable.

Once you have your contacts on your device and your SIM installed you are ready to use your Touch as a phone. Next thing to do is there are several programs to check out on your Start Menu in the Programs folder. Play with them and get acquainted. Just press “Start” in the upper left corner then select “Programs” and then choose something that interests you. Dive in, the water is fine! Using things is the only way to figure out how to use things.

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Now is also a good time to try out the TouchFlo interface. Place whichever digit you prefer (I use my thumb) on the HTC logo and swipe upwards. Hopefully you are now looking at one of the panels, or sides of “the cube”. Swipe your thumb/finger back down and you should put the cube away (close it). Do it a few times until you are comfortable with how much pressure you need to make it work. It is VERY easy to use. Now, bring the cube back up with an upwards swipe and then slide your finger left or right to view the other sides of the 3-D cube. You will see there is a media hub, a speed dialer for your “favorite 9” contacts, and the third panel provides easy access (shortcuts) to the most commonly used applications like email, internet, calendar, etc.

The Touch's screen has a different (harder) feel to it than a regular Pocket PC that was designed with a touch screen also but intended to use with a stylus much of the time. The Touch actually works better using finger presses rather than the stylus and is very precise. After a few presses the user can be very confident what you press is what you’ll get. Having a flat surface across the face of the Touch, as opposed to the slightly lowered screen of a regular Pocket PC, means the corners and edges are very easy to press and a quick swipe across your sleeve wipes any smudges off the screen. If you are like me, and were already avoiding using the stylus most of the time, the Touch is a joy to use! It responds to a light touch and the accuracy, even on smaller buttons or menu selections, is impressive.

Since this phone is not yet for sale here in the U.S., unfortunately the automatic network setup wizard did not work for me. I had to manually enter the settings (page 137 of the User Manual) for AT&T (SMS settings are here) (MMS settings are here) so I could make an internet connection and start using SMS/MMS. Once you’ve got your carrier’s settings up and running you can connect to the internet either by using the EDGE connection built-in to the phone or setting up a Wi-Fi hotspot (at home or your office perhaps). I will cover this in more detail later. Until you have a Wi-Fi connection set up, you can just connect to the internet using your data plan. I recommend the unlimited package since anything less will be used up quickly if you intend to connect to the internet/check email with any regularity. However, I get along just fine without unlimited data, and I am on a pay-as-you-go plan! Free Wi-Fi is just about everywhere, so depending on your needs – plan accordingly.

Tomorrow I will go over how to connect to Wi-Fi hotspots at home, at work, or wherever! Free Wi-Fi is available all over the place. You will be surprised how much of the time you can connect to a very fast internet connection and have it cost you nothing extra.
  Forum: Hardware Reviews · Post Preview: #59315 · Replies: 22 · Views: 41,348

runningtiger
Posted on: Jul 24 2007, 09:55 AM


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I don't know how to keep it from happening, but once it does (or, perhaps before it does) start try plugging the charger into the phone like normal then leave the flip open and turn the phone over and rest it on a flat surface with it's backside up. You should be looking at the outside parts of the phone while the keypad and screen are facing down. This puts just a little pressure on that two-pronged charger plug and keeps it in good contact to completely charge your phone.

I used the ROM you've settled on, and like Smeg said, after you get done tweaking it over to English it runs great. The tweaking part is very easy and well worth the effort. I used my 220 until the camera pooped out, but never changed the ROM again after going with the Asian 3.45.

Good luck!
  Forum: Motorola MPx220 · Post Preview: #59314 · Replies: 9 · Views: 8,788

runningtiger
Posted on: Jul 24 2007, 09:46 AM


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Being able to turn on/off only the tabs one finds useful is fantastic. The photo dialer of the hacked plug-in bothered me in that it only wanted to dial the contacts mobile number. Now that I have an actual HTC Touch running the actual 3 tab version, but accompanied by "the cube" that includes a photo dialer - I am happy 'cuz the photo dialer in the cube brings up your contact's card with all their numbers and from here it is very easy to simply call the last number you dialed for them, pick another, or send an email or SMS etc.

I like being able to choose what I want and not be bound by "defaults".

Thanks for the info regarding the customizable tabs Smeg. That's a great improvement!
  Forum: General Discussion · Post Preview: #59313 · Replies: 11 · Views: 9,300

runningtiger
Posted on: Jul 23 2007, 10:03 AM


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HTC's newest offering is also one of it's most intriguing. Offering all the function of it's bigger brethren, along comes the Elf. More formally known as the HTC Touch p3450, will this little gadget be your next, or possibly FIRST Windows Mobile device? Read the full review here, then come back daily for a closer look at this little wonder as we make our way up, down, and around this baby and point out the highs and lows.
  Forum: Home Page News · Post Preview: #59296 · Replies: 0 · Views: 1,075

runningtiger
Posted on: Jul 23 2007, 09:49 AM


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HTC Touch p3450, the Elf
By HTC Corp.
MGN Rating -

Rating Legend

1 star: Find something else; save your money
2 star: Below average; not recommended
3 star: Average; performs as advertised but not inspiring
4 star: Good; worth the money
5 star: Great; best of its kind on the market

Review by runningtiger
Review Date / July 23rd, 2007

I have been asked to do a review of HTC’s Touch and then a follow-along series of getting to know and use it. First things first - I am not a professional reviewer. I am just an average Joe, like you, looking to get the most bang for my buck and not end up being let down by a device that is sweet to look at but does not really deliver the promise. Most of us have been there and done that. I think the Touch is good for first timers as well as seasoned users and so delivers mightily. Read on and see if you agree…

Certainly you have already noticed I have given the Touch the most stars MGN will let me. Let me start off by saying five stars is a hefty rating for this little device. And therein lies why I feel justified giving it 5 stars, defined as “Great; best of its kind on the market”. I believe it to be the only one of it’s kind on the market. Yes, there are other phones that use a touch screen interface. Has anyone heard of the iPhone? There is also the LG Prada that fits this description. I have not seen either of these other devices up close but have read plenty about both of them. However, the Touch is the only one of the three that runs Windows Mobile (the latest incarnation, WM6), therefore making it the only one of it’s kind on the market. If you are already familiar with earlier Windows Mobile devices, then the Touch is enough similar to make transitioning to a newer device painless. If you are not familiar with Windows Mobile, or Smartphones/Pocket PC in general, then this is a user friendly enough device to make transitioning from your Razor – or, what have you – relatively painless.

I have read plenty of reviews of the Touch, and inevitably (it seems) they eventually somewhere try to compare it to the iPhone. In Windows Mobile circles there always seems to be mention of other higher-spec devices to compare it to. I am going to talk about what the Touch IS, rather than what it IS NOT. It is not an iPhone and it is not a high spec device for road warriors or power users.

What it is…is a very small and attractive Pocket PC. I have had it in my hands since Thursday and have been showing it to just about everybody. The initial reaction, almost universally, seems to be “Cool!” People are not intimidated by this device the way many have been of more traditional Pocket PCs past and present (and judging from what is coming over the near horizon, I predict future devices as well). An alternative has been the Smartphone, which has a smaller screen and so less of a WoW! factor, but many appreciated that these devices looked more like “normal” cellular phones. The Pocket PC variant has had a strong “Geek factor” associated with it and therefore many potential users looked away immediately. They just could not see themselves carrying a rather large “Geek box” around. The device just was not “cool”.

Until now, one has had to choose form over function, or function over form. With the Touch, you get both! Now, at long last, there is a Pocket PC option for users that have wanted more from their phone than traditional cellular phones have offered AND a larger screen option than Smartphones have offered.

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Speaking of the screen, the large 2.8” screen consumes most of the front of the Touch. Other than the screen, there is very little else to distract one’s eyes away from that large beautiful bright screen. At first glance, only one other thing on the front of the phone is really noticeable and that is a 4-way directional thumb pad dressed in a brushed/satiny metallic color. Looking closer, you’ll also see the green and red place a call/end a call buttons and at the top a little mesh screen covers the earpiece and lights that indicate the phone is on (and/or charging) and if BlueTooth and/or WiFi is on/off. The mesh screen gives it a bit of a hipper non-stodgy appearance. And, of course, there is also the HTC logo (more on that later). So, the Touch is very sleek looking. That is the word I kept hearing over and over again…sleek. In your hand, it feels like that perfect stone you search for at waters edge to skip across the pond that fits so perfectly in your hand. In your pocket, well, you hardly notice it at all. Weighing in at just less than 4 ounces means you can use the built-in lanyard/strap holder to dangle the Touch around your neck and it is not a pain in the neck to do so!

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On the top of the Touch there is a power button, on the left side a volume slider, and on the right a well hidden stylus plus a dedicated camera button (user setup allows you to change the application you want to launch with this button if the camera is not your highest priority). The back side has a 2.0 Mega Pixel camera with a tiny little self-portrait mirror and a small (but, relatively powerful) speaker - also covered in mesh. That is it. That is the clean, not cluttered, impossibly slim little HTC Touch. Yes, with it’s soft velvety exterior it appeals to the sense of touch, but with it’s eye-candy good looks it also is very easy on the eyes. Two thumbs way up as far as I am concerned!

Under the hood there is not too much new other than it is running the latest version of Windows Mobile, WM6. Meaning it has great integration with your PC for syncing your contact list, email, calendar, tasks, music, etc. That is one of the main attractions of a Windows Mobile device to begin with!

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Wait a minute, did I say not much new? Actually, HTC has come up with a completely new system they call TouchFlo. This is a user-friendly interface that does not scare people away, rather it draws them in! Just placing your thumb (or finger, whichever is more comfortable to use) on the HTC logo on the front of the phone and swiping upwards calls up “the cube” as it’s been nicknamed in certain circles. This cube has three sides and a thumb swipe left or right rotates the cube to one of it's other sides. Very cool! One side of the cube offers up easy links to email and SMS/MMS, Internet, your tasks and calendar, and lastly the communications manager (where you can easily turn on/off the phone and change from ringer to vibrate mode, access phone settings like ring tones etc., turn on/off BlueTooth and WiFi, disconnect from a data connection, initiate ActiveSync, and easily toggle between automatically receiving and/or manually retrieving Outlook emails (if you have Microsoft Direct Push setup). Another side is your media hub and gives you quick access to your music, photos, and videos. And the third side is for your “favorite 9” from your contacts list. Attach photos to your favorite contacts and you have got a very nice visual speed dialer.

People seem to get this cube thing very instinctively and immediately they were pressing the large finger friendly on-screen buttons to bring up the most commonly used applications. I have handed my prior Pocket PC to people and they just stared at it, having no idea what to do with it. Once I showed off the TouchFlo, everyone was off and running.

Experienced Pocket PC users may find the TouchFlo system gimmicky and avoid it all together. That’s fine, it’s very much out of sight, out of mind. But, for the newcomer, it definitely seems to make things a lot easier. Plus, it is cool to look at. The designers have put together a very appealing package.

Attached Image

Part of that package is a new Audio Manager to play your music files in place of the standard Windows Media Player. Windows Media Player is still on board, if that is your player of choice. But, again, the large finger friendly buttons of the new Audio Manager will make many a convert.

Finally, the Touch also comes with a Today homescreen plug-in that utilizes three tabs. The first is “home” and it shows a VERY large digital clock that when touched brings up the screen for setting alarms and other clock options. There are also status indicators for unread emails, SMS/MMS messages, and missed phone calls. Simply pressing on any one of these takes you to the appropriate list (email accounts, SMS/MMS inbox, and calls list respectively). The next tab is a fantastic looking 5-day weather forecast and current temperature for the customized locale of your choice (or, a nearby larger metro area if your specific town is not available). The default view for this tab is the current (or, most recently downloaded) conditions. Swiping your finger across the weather display (or, simply touching it) will bring up the remaining four days forecast showing expected conditions (sunny, cloudy, rainy etc.) and the forecasted highs and lows. The graphics are very eye catching. The last tab is a launcher screen for 9 of your most used/favorite/quick access applications. It does not have to be an application however. Anything available to you in the start menu can be added to the launcher. For instance, if you make shortcuts to your playlists and put them in a folder on your start menu, you can have instant access to the playlist of your choice.

The bottom half of the Today Screen remains available for standard Today Plugins like tasks, calendar, Windows Live Search etc.

Attached Image

The Touch is a very nicely designed device that is user friendly in a way unlike any Pocket PC that preceded it. The diminutive size and weight (lack of!) make it a pleasure to carry. The inexperienced can use it "as is" right out of the box and more experienced users can customize, and customize, and customize.

There are plenty of very detailed techy reviews out there. That was not the goal here. I intend to share how I use the Touch and what the hits and misses are as I see them. Check this space and follow along for the next week or so and I will take you through the basics (and, some not so basics) of using the Touch to it’s fullest. I will discuss the lack of a slide-out keyboard (is that a good or a bad thing), personalizing the Today screen, connecting to your home and/or office WiFi “hotspots”, take a look at the camera and media player and a few other goodies along the way. I hope you will have a better idea afterwards if the Touch will be your next (or first!) Windows Mobile device and just what it can (and can’t) do for you.
  Forum: Hardware Reviews · Post Preview: #59295 · Replies: 22 · Views: 41,348

runningtiger
Posted on: Jul 22 2007, 10:48 PM


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Since there are separate listings for the HTC Wizard and the Cingular 8125, I think there should be one for my T-Mobile MDA as well (all are essentially the same phone).

My previous phone, the i-Mate SP5m, isn't on the list either. The SP5 is pretty close and the SP5m could have fit in an HTC Tornado category as well, but that's not listed either -whereas the Cingular 2125 is (again, all are basically the same phone). In actuality though, the SP5m is really an HTC Tempo.

I just got the HTC p3450 - Elf - Touch (so many names for such a small device!)...and it's not listed yet.
  Forum: General Discussion · Post Preview: #59291 · Replies: 4 · Views: 1,403

runningtiger
Posted on: Jul 19 2007, 07:56 PM


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I don't know if any of the mobile mapping programs do what you want. I'd check Microsoft's Pocket Streets, since I do know their Streets & Trips for desktop PC does exactly what you're asking for (import from Excel spreadsheet & automatic routing etc). It's not as elegant a solution as accomplishing everything on your phone, but you can use a laptop with a BT GPS receiver and PC mapping software to get you where you want to go in the most efficient way - with very little effort on your part. And, since I haven't looked into this much (except right now for you), so I can't say for sure, but I think there is a Streets & Trips package out there that comes with Pocket Streets for Pocket PC included (2005 appears to have it). I just did a VERY quick search to see what I could find and came up with a couple links you may want to check out:

Download Pocket Streets 2005 for free

Download Maps for Pocket Streets 2005 from Microsoft

Here's a blurb from Microsoft's WindowsMobile Site regarding GPS on your mobile discussing several options:

Microsoft Pocket Streets
If you want a low-cost GPS solution, and don't mind not having voice directions—for instance, if you always have someone in the passenger seat who can call out directions—you can use Pocket Streets with a separately purchased GPS receiver. Streets & Trips comes with Pocket Streets. After you download the maps onto your device, you can use your Pocket PC or Smartphone with a GPS receiver to see where you are on a map. It won't route you or give you turn-by-turn directions, but it will help keep you from getting lost, and has points of interest so you can find nearby restaurants, banks, shopping malls, and more.

So, I can't tell from that if you can create a map using Streets & Trips then somehow convert it to Pocket Streets. Clearly, Pocket Streets does not offer turn by turn navigation.

I found this and have no idea if it's helpful, but thought I'd throw it in the mix.

Like I said, I know for a fact you can do what you want using a laptop (so you can use the Streets & Trips software) and a BlueTooth GPS receiver. They make clever mounts for safely holding your laptop in the car on a swivel mount so you can position it correctly for use while you drive. But, new laws about no screens forward of the drivers eyes might mean this isn't kosher any longer.

If you don't need mapping on the fly, here's what I used to do...
The addresses/stops I would be going to would come to me in text format (via download from the company's site). Using Excel, I'd import the list and convert it to a spreadsheet. Then I'd simply import that into Streets & Trips then ask it to give me the quickest route to all the stops. Then I'd print out the driving directions. I'd do this each evening for the next days work. It worked great and took less than 5 minutes to go from virgin list to scheduled route. It's not hard at all once you get the steps down.

I've also connected an external GPS receiver to my laptop just to see how it worked and that was easy to do to. But, I never used it in the field so can't speak to how well it works.

If you get a device (Smartphone (pre wm6 name)/Standard (new name since wm6 came out) OR PPC/Professional (same deal with the naming scheme) that does not have GPS built in (the way Smeg suggested) you can always buy an external BT GPS receiver and have it interact with whatever mapping software you choose.

Personally, I use the Holux GPSlim240 (got it on eBay for around $40) 'cuz it's so small I can hang it on my keychain and I always have it + my phone so I can anytime/anywhere use active navigation or just get a map. I use the Mapopolis software, but I know it won't do the multi-point maps you're wanting to do.

Thinking about it, and if I wanted to use the hardware/software I have right now (PPC+HoluxGPSlim240+Mapopolis), I'd import my list of addresses into Outlook (make sure they're named 01_whatever, 02_whatever, etc so they show up at the top of your contacts list and so they can be deleted en masse quickly and easily) then sync my phone so all those stops became part of my Contacts list. Then use "find Contact" in Mapopolis to get from one place to the next. BUT, you can only see from one stop to the next this way so you'd already have to know what order you wanted to make your stops. Capiche`?

Good luck!

ps...just read Slacker's post and I'm replacing my Wizard with The HTC Touch and sticking with my HoluxGPSlim receiver. Both phone and GPS receiver are small and easy to carry so they fit my needs/wants extremely well.
  Forum: General Discussion · Post Preview: #59280 · Replies: 3 · Views: 1,487

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