After much procrastination I finally bought myself the phone I had been considering. The price on ebay was too good to turn down. My old phone was falling apart and it's about time I got a bit more up to date. This is my first 'smartphone' and the first with Bluetooth or Wifi. These open up a few possibilities, but may involve further expenditure.
I don't expect to use mobile internet too often. On my Virgin PAYG plan I can get a day's access for 30p, but I don't expect that will be very quick. I've tested it with my home wifi and web pages load fairly fast. Usability is more of a problem. Entering URLs and navigating pages takes a lot of button presses. I may well be missing out on some tricks to improve this. Wifi is available in lots of places now, but cost seems to vary widely. I can imagine that I may want to check email if I'm away from a PC for an extended period and perhaps look something up on the web, but have managed without so far. Let's see how tempted I get to use it.
Bluetooth creates other opportunities. I often listen to podcasts in the car by burning them to CD. I had been considering a new radio that would take flash memory, but I know there are some that can stream via Bluetooth. That may be more versatile and give me hands-free. Obviously I don't want to be fiddling with tiny phone buttons too much whilst driving. I expect to use the phone to listen to music and other audio in other places. I shall need to get a Micro SD card for this. They seem incredibly cheap these days. I'll have to use the included headphones for now as they use a mini-USB connection for which there does not seem to be much in the way of adaptors for standard 3.5mm connectors. Someone blogged about his experiments in getting around this, but he eventually gave up on the phone, partly due to noise issues. I'm hoping the noise is not bad enough to stop me using the phone instead of my old PDA. Part of the reason for getting this phone is so that I don't need to carry multiple devices.
The phone runs Windows Mobile 6. There's plenty of software for it, but I need to find some basic applications to suit my needs. Those I anticipate so far are:
- Audio player - Windows Media Player is pretty crap. I used GSPlayer on the PDA. I'll try it on the phone. Not having a touch screen may make some operations trickier
- Book reader - I've read a few books on a PDA in the past. Feedbooks looks like a good source of reading material. Having a few books on the phone will cut down on the luggage when travelling. They suggest Mobipocket as a reader.
- Microblogging - I've been playing a lot with Twitter and Identi.ca lately. Some tool to allow use of those would be cool for rare occasions when I feel to need to blog on the move. pocketwit looks promising.
I'd like to carry some data around including contacts and calendar. Ideally these would be synchronised with my main databases. I have this information in Kontack on my Linux box, but have been tending to use Google Calendar so that I can access it elsewhere. I've heard that it is possible to synchronise some Google apps with WM6. In fact I am tempted to switch fully over to Gmail rather than just using it to poll my main account for access away from home. I could still use my personal domain as an address. Are there any downsides to just using Gmail?
Having just used simple phones in the past I'm a bit lost in this new world. I've not really kept up with developments in how people use their mobile devices. So what can I have fun with that will not break the bank?
Finally, here's a group shot of the phones I've used over the last 10 years or so, starting with my first, bulky Motorola.