Saturday, 4 October 2008

From Palm Treo Pro to HTC Touch Pro

As I wrote earlier, I was all the rave with my Palm Treo Pro. Wonderfully thin, with touchscreen. What a relief from Blackberry's ball. That ball can really get on your nerves. What if something greasy gets stuck in it, and it stops turning. I quite like my old BB 8310 and it is nice to have such a small gadget with all those functions. But touch screen is a must.

So when I looked at the Blackberry Bold, when I eventually got it, I was really laughing. Life knows best. No wonder it took so long to get to me. It is huge. The Bold is the size of the 8310 with the leather cover on. Once you put the cover on the Bold, it is massive. Then the text rendering on forum sites was awful. With no touch screen, back it went, and I stayed with the Palm. But then one day I was trying to synchronize my email with the Vodafone business mail server, and it just did not guess my server's details. This so called push-mail actually is useless, if it takes 15 minutes to get to you. I prefer to set it up as normal windows pull mail. Finally the software in the Palm is not recognised too many places. Go to Opera and they don't know whether it is a smartphone or a pocket pc. You end up with softwares that do not use the Windows Mobile 6.1's features. Ah it's a mess. Vodafone said they will send me another one as it could have the wrong updates from the server at their end.

The mail arrives, and I get a HTC Touch Pro instead. Wow, that is weird. The names are two similar. So I thought, "well maybe there is a message in all this?". I will give it a go. Now I am person who was the first person to try the first Pocket PC called the MDA Vario on T-Mobile yonks ago, with good old version 3, then 5. So I knew this son on TytnII's pedigree very well. I never considered it, because I thought it was going to be too big. Well let me tell you this. This thing is lovely. First of all it is really shinny and narrow and not too long. It needs to be thick to have the sliding keyboard. The Keyboard is so much like a normal keyboard.

So it really comes down to keyboard. When you want to type on a Blackberry, you need to press so many function keys to get a stupid comma or full stop or an apostrophe, that you forget what you wanted to say. Now you might say, "why don't you just sit down behind a normal desktop or a laptop". My answer is that I usually get inspired at the toilet or some stupid place, and I do not have access to my laptop or desktop. So it has to be a handheld device.

Then you have the one handed moments in your life. And this new HTC Touch Pro accomodates that situation really well. Because they have kept the length and width down and thickened it, as if you feel you are holding a Mars bar. So if you are on a bus with one hand on the hand-rail, the other thumb can do everything with the virtual keyboard like the iphone. Yeah it has that same effect of making the letter pop out, as soon as you push on the screen. If you want to put numbers you hold the key for a split second more. Really easy. So this phone has all the features of iphone, smartphone, as well as the sliding keyboard that a laptop has. Ingeninous.

But nothing goes without a few errors. The folks at HTC need to put a few more buttons on the phone. The way it is, it is lovely. The phone switches off the screen quickly and you can wipe that shinny glass very nicely forever and it will look just like new all the time. Everything is flat and smooth. But they should have allowed more virtual buttons for customization, and let the user decide what to do with the physical buttons. You only get one button you can customize. On the Palm you have a side button as well as the front ones to customize. Long pressing is what people do to, to get a dual function. So I have to push the Start Menu on the long press phone button (the default is voice dial). The other way is to use voice commands for everything instead of buttons. But then you are stuffed if you have a cold. So two recordings are needed.

So there you are. Life moves on. I have my eyes on the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1. They make all this fuss about the nine panes, which is what I meant by customizable buttons. The keyboard though looks like it has much better metal buttons. You know what would be nice. One should be able to draw the buttons, and then have the software make a connection to it. Special needs people could really use it. Hopefully one day with the new Haplo technology it will even give you the bumpy feel you want.

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