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Talking Point: What keeps you stuck on Windows Mobile, and what tempts you away?

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Welcome to the return of 'Talking Point', the weekly MoDaCo feature where we put a question out there (with my answer too) to solicit discussion around a particular topic. In contrast to the Talking Point of old, these will now happen on a Monday rather than a Friday, and you'll also find the question covered by myself and Chris / Monolithix in the MoDaCo podcast.

This week's Talking Point...

What applications / aspects of Windows Mobile / devices keep you faithful to Windows Mobile, and what application / aspects of other OS' / devices tempt you away?

Simple eh? :)

For me, things that make me stick with WinMo are...

- the brilliant Exchange sync story and super productive e-mail client

- .net Compact Framework for simple development on the device

- turn by turn navigation solutions at a low cost (e.g. McGuider is my current fave)

- CamerAware!

- an OS i'm familiar with at the very deepest level, and that I find productive

- a wide variety of devices with a wide variety of form factors

- high resolution cameras

- 20 key and 12 key touchscreen input (iPhone NEEDS this imho!)

And things that tempt me away...

- App Store!

- applications that co-exist with apps I use on my mac, such as 1password touch and Things iphone

- Regular, OTA OS updates

Let us hear your thoughts! :rolleyes:

P

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whats going to take me away is the palm pre which looks like a great communications device plus windows mobile 6.1/5? i'm just not satisfied with windows mobile any more. i just want something that works well out of the box without the need to install media players, browsers, file explorers etc. M$ has had long enough to get things smoother and faster but with the exception of htc and a few others i have not seen enough improvements which warrent another 18 month contract or £300-£400.

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I can tell you what is missing.... and that is some way of Syncing Lotus Notes with the WM Handsets. While I know MS want to push their products and they provide a connector for Outlook for some one like my self who wants to use it with a Work system because it makes my life better its near imposible with out spending money - and yet Nokia do this for free.

I went away some time ago because my Wizzard running WM5 was just unreliable how ever I have just bought a Artimus on 6.1 and I am hoping this wont be an issue.... this is one thing Apple does well - No matter what it is it just works.... MS need to learn about that principle.

In terms of hardware WM devices are stunning and there is no end to the choice making it difficult to decide what you want :rolleyes:

Terran

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I've used nothing but WM handsets since the Orange E200. What keeps me coming back is the flexibility of the platform. The phone you have doesn't have a particular feature? Nine times out of ten there's software out there that will give you that feature. Skinning the OS with various bits of software (let's face it the WM interface is long past it's sell by date). CamerAware! Syncing with Outlook. The other platforms just don't interest me:

Nokia Series 60 - No touch screen and the interface looks as dated as WM

Blackberry - not a fan at all and don't know what the fuss is about.

iPhone - It's all been said before. As far as I'm concerned it's all hype. Yes the interface is nice but there are far better WM phones out there (Touch HD and Omnia for example).

If there's anything I've seen that may tempt me away from WM it may just be the Nokia N97. Looks promising but we shall wait and see!

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What really tempted me away from WM devices was my music collection, I have way too many gapless albums and don't like the slight pause switching from one track to another. The iPhone just gets it right without any mucking around making single MP3s of the albums then chopping up into individual songs with playlists. There lots I'd don't like about it 2G only (as I bought early last year), no SMS forwarding, no GPS, crippled Bluetooth, no MMS, no cut and paste etc. but many of these problems can be sorted out when you jailbreak the phone. The only things I'm really missing now are 3G, GPS and sending MMS video. An office suite would also be nice, but not really essential for me at the moment, and I'm sure that someone could do an iPhone port of open office if they had the time. Would jump back to WM for the touch HD when my contract is up if WM is able to handle gaplees albums though, even if I have to get sorted out for Mac syncing now as I got a Macbook late last year.

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I'm still on my very old Orange SPV C500, but the 2 main things that make me stay are:

1) nice synchronization of contacts and calendar with Outlook

2) T9 dialing - as I use my smartphone mainly for making (surprisingly) phone calls these days!

The problem with Orange Slovakia is that they didn't have any smartphones on offer for months (years?) so I've decided to keep using my C500 until it breaks / stops working. Today, after almost 4 years, it still works with no problems, and battery lasts for 4-5 days if I turn it off at night (which I do). I've tried to switch to a SonyEricsson (my favorite non-smartphone brand) and just couldn't get used to not having the T9 dialing :rolleyes:

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whats going to take me away is the palm pre which looks like a great communications device plus windows mobile 6.1/5? i'm just not satisfied with windows mobile any more. i just want something that works well out of the box without the need to install media players, browsers, file explorers etc. M$ has had long enough to get things smoother and faster but with the exception of htc and a few others i have not seen enough improvements which warrent another 18 month contract or £300-£400.

I agree partly with unicorn, one of the aspects of Windows Mobile which I find a right pain are the following:

  1. Needless operator customisations which make the device look crap, and laggy (esp if you are on T-mobile). I accept this happens on a lot of branded phones but is there any need?

  2. The fact that making any use of the os now requires everyone else bar Microsoft to add in their own developments just to keep the format alive i.e touchflo 3d, panels etc etc.

  3. constantly I find I have to install a customised rom just to get the full set of features I want. Why can this not be done on a more professional scale rather than relying on xda devs to come up with solutions? Imagine, the only mobile os where you can pick and choose the services you want and it all working reliably.

  4. Lack of app store. I have a data plan and would like to use this to get all my apps. Currently all my apps have to reside on my phone, incase I have a disaster and need them again suddenly. Plus, I have to manually look for updates to my installed programs unless they are supported by Paul's superb App to Date. Again this proves my theory of multiple apps having to prop up this os.

  5. Is always late to catch up with the competition! We have gone from an equivalent of windows 95 and currently WM6.1 is just a win 98 SE! Better but in major need of updating!

  6. We never seem to get any news on when we can expect the new WM os and what it is going to have in it!

What I like about Windows Mobile:
  1. Exchange. This is absolutley brilliant. If I were to buy a new phone today, a couple of settings entered, brings my contacts, calandar, and email back to life. Imagine, if exchange were to remember the applications you have installed and then bring them back up if you got a new handset, or had to do a hard reset for any reason. That, and then it registers to your device, saving you having to put in all the reg codes, passwords, nans birthdays, lottery numbers etc etc, just to get it going again! If exchange can be done imagine if WM did this?!

  2. Clunkyness aside, when working, the os is pretty powerful and does allow you to do a hell of a lot, its just that its in the way you would use a pc. I want my mobile to be powerful, but I want it to remember that it is a mobile and not a pc, and therefore have the os designed around these facts: Be mobile and powerful!

  3. It connects with my pc so easily when I want it to.

There is so much more Win Mobile can be, yet isnt it is so frustrating. The only thing that keeps me using WM is the fact that I can add the programs I like and all the above, without having to have too much stuff I dont like. However apple really has taken the imagination of a mobile device much further now than when MS did it when it launched Windows Mobile.

Im hoping that Microsoft really shuts all the critics up this year and shows what a good platform it is and also how much better it can be.

Cheers

Phill

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whats going to take me away is the palm pre which looks like a great communications device plus windows mobile 6.1/5? i'm just not satisfied with windows mobile any more. i just want something that works well out of the box without the need to install media players, browsers, file explorers etc. M$ has had long enough to get things smoother and faster but with the exception of htc and a few others i have not seen enough improvements which warrent another 18 month contract or £300-£400.

I would have to agree. I've had windows mobile phones for the last three years! All HTC.

The novelty of being able to customise your phone to hell and back wares off after the 10th hard reset.

Windows mobile gets bogged down way too quickly! For the first year I never thought that having to pay attention to which programs where running and what the current memory consumption was like would annoy me. Then it did.

Sometimes I just want to run TomTom and Google Maps, putty, pOutlook, pIE, activesync, dashwire all with the bluetooth enabled at the same time and not have to go in the damn task manager to kill some programs - yes I know you can hold the close button or set it to automatically close etc...

M$ says they do it so that you can access your programs faster, why the hell just not clean up the whole way WM functions so that the programs load faster isntead?

I'm also sick and tired of having to hard-reset the damn thing every 6-9months.

Also for the love of god, someone figure how to update ALL windows phones at the SAME time!

There is a windows update feature on the phone is there not? I've never seen an update available! EVER!

Why does windows permit carriers do decide wether or not their users deserve an update from 5.0 to 6.0? From 6.0 to 6.1?

I think updating the mobile OS should be centralised and managed by windows, not by the networks!

Surely if your trying to boost sales of a product which is in a super competitive market - BlackBerry, iPhone anyone? - you would want users to feel that they are being taken care of and benefiting from all the updates available to them? I like many other users, had to make my way to XDA-dev and run the risk of bricking my phone in order to take advantage of the update. Though the excuse I suspect will be due to the diversity of the hardware used.

Also anyone has yet to create a battery that can go a day without charging - one that does not deform the phone.

Only problem is, every time I hard reset I remember why I got the phone in the first place!

The link with the phone and exchange is amazing. Second to none.

The flexibility of adding nearly any desktop equivalent application on your phone - putty, rdp, keepas, word, excel etc...

In my case, the slide out keyboard.

All in all, windows phones are very good. But if they ever want to get more popular, break some ground and seriously compete with other phones on the market they need to be simpler without compromosing on all the advanced functionality. You know, like the iPhone, blackberry and symbian!

Hell as much as I hate blackberry's I'm thinking of getting one. It supports exchange, its got google maps, its smaller than my current phone, its got BlackBerry messenger - which lets not kid ourselves is very practical - and most importantly, its ready out of the box, idiot proof.

Either way my contract ends in September.

Somone just make a phone that works.

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Well, I moved to a Nokia E71 (Symbian S60) late last year and honestly haven't really looked back. I didn't choose Symbian - I chose the device, which happens to run Symbian.

I miss the tweakability of WinMo, but my device actually doesn't need tweaking - it just works.

I miss changing devices regularly, but I only did that because none of the devices had the "right" hardware.

I miss the touch-screen novelty factor, but can actually type MUCH faster on a small keyboard.

Things that made me stick with WinMo for so long are...

- Optimism that I'd eventually find my "perfect" device (small, light, 3-day battery, fast)

- Exchange and e-mail client

- .net Compact Framework

- variety of devices with a wide variety of form factors

- Touch-screen

And the things that tempted me away...

- Adequate out-of-the-box Exchange support (not enough for some I know)

- 3G device with really excellent battery life

- Form factor - size, weight, keyboard

I was looking at WinMo devices the other day, and there still (since August 08) isn't anything out/coming that beats the Nokia E71 on my criteria.

1x Vodafone TytnII and 1x HTC Touch (unbranded) going to good homes soon...

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whats going to take me away is the palm pre which looks like a great communications device plus windows mobile 6.1/5? i'm just not satisfied with windows mobile any more. i just want something that works well out of the box without the need to install media players, browsers, file explorers etc. M$ has had long enough to get things smoother and faster but with the exception of htc and a few others i have not seen enough improvements which warrent another 18 month contract or £300-£400.

How do you mean? The Pre is Palm's own WebOS, not WinMo at all!

P

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I can tell you what is missing.... and that is some way of Syncing Lotus Notes with the WM Handsets. While I know MS want to push their products and they provide a connector for Outlook for some one like my self who wants to use it with a Work system because it makes my life better its near imposible with out spending money - and yet Nokia do this for free.

I went away some time ago because my Wizzard running WM5 was just unreliable how ever I have just bought a Artimus on 6.1 and I am hoping this wont be an issue.... this is one thing Apple does well - No matter what it is it just works.... MS need to learn about that principle.

In terms of hardware WM devices are stunning and there is no end to the choice making it difficult to decide what you want :rolleyes:

Terran

What are you trying to Sync? Mail? Calendar? Address book? If you have Outlook on your PC, you can use the MS Mail connector for Outlook with Activesync, and get your mail at least across that way.

For more fully featured sync, you will need to buy a licence...

P

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What really tempted me away from WM devices was my music collection, I have way too many gapless albums and don't like the slight pause switching from one track to another. The iPhone just gets it right without any mucking around making single MP3s of the albums then chopping up into individual songs with playlists. There lots I'd don't like about it 2G only (as I bought early last year), no SMS forwarding, no GPS, crippled Bluetooth, no MMS, no cut and paste etc. but many of these problems can be sorted out when you jailbreak the phone. The only things I'm really missing now are 3G, GPS and sending MMS video. An office suite would also be nice, but not really essential for me at the moment, and I'm sure that someone could do an iPhone port of open office if they had the time. Would jump back to WM for the touch HD when my contract is up if WM is able to handle gaplees albums though, even if I have to get sorted out for Mac syncing now as I got a Macbook late last year.

All my music is WMA... = iPhone or iPod FAIL!

P

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I'm still on my very old Orange SPV C500, but the 2 main things that make me stay are:

1) nice synchronization of contacts and calendar with Outlook

2) T9 dialing - as I use my smartphone mainly for making (surprisingly) phone calls these days!

The problem with Orange Slovakia is that they didn't have any smartphones on offer for months (years?) so I've decided to keep using my C500 until it breaks / stops working. Today, after almost 4 years, it still works with no problems, and battery lasts for 4-5 days if I turn it off at night (which I do). I've tried to switch to a SonyEricsson (my favorite non-smartphone brand) and just couldn't get used to not having the T9 dialing :rolleyes:

Yeah, this really is an awesome feature. I remember a Smartphone called the 'Vox' (with that weird flip out QWERTY pad), where the predictive-dial like thing brought up not only contacts but everything on your device. That was neat.

P

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I'm sitting on the fence right now and can see all sides around me. I've got a dead iPhone 3g, a Nokia N80, and a Vario II that's had all sorts of ROMs on it.

As a sysadmin I loved the idea of the customisation that I could do to the Vario II , the wide range of apps available for it, and the syncing abilities.

What drove me absolutely potty was the simple things. I lost count of the times I was nearly late for work because it couldn't wake itself out of sleep mode to sound the alarm. When I woke up, and then pressed the power button to bring it out of sleep, then it'd decide to start sounding an alarm an hour and a half after it was needed.

The constant niggling need to soft reset every couple of days to bring it back into line of operating normally. The need to install another application to close another application properly.

The nagging of the other half "Why doesn't it just work like a simple phone??"

I became disillusioned with it. Even with the upgrades to WM6, although prettier, did nothing to instill confidence that I could always rely on it.

The iphone however, changed my view on things. Yes it can't sync wirelessly, yes it doesn't have MMS etc etc.

I went into the phone purchase fully aware of it's limitations.

I never looked back. It's the perfect device I feel (minus the lack of Flash support) for consuming media nowadays. My train journey to and from work was me listening to lots of music, catching up on my emails, and reading lots and lots of RSS feeds. All without a hesitation, no need to soft reset to close some apps so I can do something else. I had no issues in whipping it out in a shop to browse online before bartering down a price :-) All very easy to navigate and use.

One thing I'm not currently happy with is it's durability. It's currently dead due to apparant "corrosion" on the dock connector, and as a sensor inside has been triggered, it's classed as liquid damaged and out of warranty. This dispite me arguing with the Apple Genius, and him stating that it could just be a single drop of water in the wrong place, and thats it. That's the hardware as opposed to the OS though.

I'm back to using the N80 :-( While I'm sure it's fine for the masses, going back to an essential 'dumb' device after being spoilt is like going from HD tv to mono radio.

Just my 2 cents!

Edited by Dakers

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What are you trying to Sync? Mail? Calendar? Address book? If you have Outlook on your PC, you can use the MS Mail connector for Outlook with Activesync, and get your mail at least across that way.

For more fully featured sync, you will need to buy a licence...

P

Diary - thats it.... worst case as I said before I can get the Outlook connector and do it that way ( although I have a copy Easy Sync assuming it works with this new version of Notes )..... my point was Nokia do this out of the box espcially since the buy out of Pumatech but if MS wanted to be a serious contender they need to consider users needs and not what they want to sell.

That aside I do like WM as it is so close to my desktop and although its a niggle its one I can get round in a number of ways.

Terran

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After 9! years of using WinMo PDA's and phones I finally moved to the iPhone, despite it's limitations. An HTC Touch HD with WM 7 and a capacitive screen would have saved me, but no luck.

It's hard to fully appreciate just how clunky Windows Mobile is until you've used an iPhone for a week. It's like upgrading from Windows 95 to Vista. I switched for reasons including:

- Slowness, crashing, clunkyness, stupid operator customisations

- Always having to upgrade to cooked ROMs for the latest updates

- No installable OS updates from MS

- Hacked on touch support from HTC or Sony

- Expensive apps (often $10-19 compared to $1)

- No App Store

- No iPod quality media player

- Much less responsive to touch than an iPhone

- The stupid alarm that rings when you power it on, hours after the event, usually in a meeting (See post above)

- Having to reset it all the time to keep things working

- Appalling process and memory management, that gradually lets the system grind to a halt

I couldn't justify another 18 month contract for no innovation and the same problems.

I think MS is faced with a huge problem that to make a phone as good and intuitive as the iPhone or G1 they'd have to kill stylus support and redesign the OS totally. Then almost every Windows Mobile application would need updating.

Edited by nickynoodles

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Likes (to name just a few):

  • Better hardware
  • More customization
  • Variety of form factors
  • Easy-to-program in a variety of languages & availability of the .NET Compact Framework
  • Native support in Windows-based PCs

    • Freezes and crashes
    • Slow rotation for keyboard-based devices (TyTN II for example)
    • Small storage memory in comparison to devices like the iPhone
    • Bulkiness in devices with built-in keyboards.
      Personally, all the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, especially with online capabilities (HSDPA), the storage problem isn't too much of an issue as smaller files can be retrieved online.

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Long time WM user, both Smartphone and PPC. In the old days...the choice was simpler...Smartphone or PPC. (Though that is not always an easy choice).

I used to love to tweak. Love to change ROMs. Love to try new apps. Loved to know more about the phone than most!

But the great apps were fewer and further between....and thats why you use a SMART phone.

The tweaking aspect lost it's appeal to me. I dont want a phone that I need to tweak to be fun.

Other phones/OS's have hit the market. iPhone, Android, etc. Matching or exceeding all/many of the features in WindowsMobile.

That said (other than Exchange) Whats the draw to KEEP Windows Mobile?

For me...I have switched to mac...and the iPhone compliements the mac so well.

The Apple AppStore is great in many ways (It has it's flaws) but is soooo convenient.

The phone is fun and functional and fits my needs well. PIM apps, games, video, internet, music...etc.

I remember when there was just the SPV Smartphone.

That was fun because everyone focused on it. Then the e100 emerged....everyone switched together. Everyone found new tweaks. Everyone was developing new apps as quickly as possible.

I think that may be what I like about the iPhone...there is one iPhone choice (well...really two...but you know what I mean!). I dont want so many choices! I want the best there is in it's category with the option of it bettering itself along the way. It's success has drawn a huge amount of Software Development....which WinMo has lost.

I've wasted ALOT of money on WinMo phones trying to get the best there is only to find it is a mionor upgrade to my previous phone (HTC's evolution of phones)....or I bought into someone else's idea of better....when it really wasnt for me.

I'm rambling....but think about it like a desktop/laptop. You either buy a mac or a pc. You continually buy software or hardware add-ons. But you keep your PC til it dies or you need a more powerful one. Unless you are Paul :) ...you dont need to buy a new PC every month to keep up with technology.

Thats how I feel about my phones today. One phone....new apps emerging every day to get more out of my phone/mac/life. When a new model comes out....I'll upgrade if there is something more I want to do with the phone...not just because there was a minor tweak to the hardware.

I rambled on and on...vomiting my thoughts. But I guess I'm saying I've been swayed because I want my phone to work for me...not the other way around. iPhone seems to do that for me. There is too much effort in WinMo phones to enjoy or be satisfied with just one phone.

(Make sense? I've lost all ability to communicate effectively!) :D In short....I've already been swayed!

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But to answer your original question...what tempts me away?

- Easy sync with my current (mac) system/iTunes

- Matched & Synchronized Apps

- The App Store

- iTunes/iPhoto compatibility (I am now a fan of both!)

- Ease of use.

- No need to tweak (for me personally....yet)

- Uniform UI....(WinMo is too Mix and Match these days)

The End!

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I'm a big fan of iPhoto too, the new version looks sweet too. I like the iPhone Facebook app. There's a LOT of cool iPhone apps.

BUT...

I just *can't* get on with the on screen QWERTY! If there was a 20 key option, i'd very seriously consider picking one up... in white of course! :)

P

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How do you mean? The Pre is Palm's own WebOS, not WinMo at all!

P

but the question is also what tempts me away? and from what i saw at CES, the pre does most of what i do on my kaiser with better intergration( don't know if pre does word docs or cut and paste across all programmes) but smoother and faster. i like customisation to a point but i'm done with custom roms just to have simple things like being able to have msn or other things t-mobile turn off. i actually want M$ to succeed with winmo7 but i don't want the stop gap 0f 6.5. my next phone needs to be a good phone first with the smart stuff well integrated.

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Thing that keep me on winmo:

- by far the most complete os

- much more free (and much better walue if not) software than symbian

- an interface that personally i quite like

- pretty much seamless sync between windows and my e-mail server

- dont have to use crap apple desktop software (read itunes)

- fully compatible with all music download services e.g. napster

- the best selection of devices means that somewhere there's a device for everybody's need

- massive user base, and lots of huge communities like modaco

- almost infinite upgradeability (there are still htc blue angels around y'know)

- don't have to pay (cr)apple anything

things distracting me away:

- slick interface of iphone

- much higher operator support of symbian devices (nokia phones are usually available on any network, win mo devices are rarely on more than 2 networks)

- centralised app store

- the sheer cost of win mo devices - decent ones are ridiculously expensive and barely ever reduce in price with age

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What Keeps me with WinMo:

I can't get an iphone unless I want to go to o2.

I'm happy with vodafone, and they've always given me good customer service.

I don't want to pay £600 for a legitimate unlocked phone, and i'm not paying £450 for an illegally unlocked one that I have to keep cracking everytime itunes updates. I don't want to pay £350 for an unlocked 2G phone.

Oh and this forum... honestly if it wasn't for this, i'd have sold the thing after a fortnight of owning it.

er... that's it really.

What Makes me want to stray from Winmo:

It's got a clunky interface, and the shelling is just window dressing. As all the comments have said, its the OS that's at fault and could do with overhauling.

MS's lack of support of their product, expecting the users to be oh so faithfull until they're ready.

Oh and my missus complains that it's not as easy as a normal phone as well! - she's getting rid of her omnia after a days use - brand new in it's box if anyones interested. Yet she picked an iphone up at the store and was working it like a natural without any help in the space of three minutes.

It's not the device but the underlying OS.

I've tried re-shelling but from spb to winterface, they all are flawed due to the base OS core fuctions that at some point you have to face. (i'm going to put the manilla rom on it, to see if that'll work next).

MS really should sort their OS out, especially in the light of iPhone's dominance and the promising new android phones, which you just know are going to go from strength to strength. (the one thing that I can see making the iphone go cross network).

I'm a consumer, not a programmer or systems engineer, and thus I like the ease of fuctionality of the iphone. I know it has limits, but what it can do, it does well, without fuss, and intuitively. - it encourages the user to play and explore rather than poke it with a stick.

Edited by saverio

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What keeps me on WM?

Sure, the iPhone is very pretty, and may be easier to use for somethings, but it's a media player with a phone (that can barely connect to the network) strapped on the back, that can't do very much without jailbreaking (and the fact that people complain about HardSPL/ROM flashing, and yet say jailbreaking is perfectly fine and great seems ridiculous! They're the same idea of getting functionality not intended, and have a similar execution). Apps (although the app store may make things "easy" to get) have to be developed on an Intel based Mac, with a $100 SDK (I can compile things on my phone for free!) and then get disassembled by Apple to make sure you're not "duplicating core functionality" or doing anything that could be remotely useful to end users, rather than replicating instantrimshot.com, or a coin toss (since you won't have any money left after you by the thing). over>

My HTC Prophet, and now my Diamond have been small, and although they may not instantly do everything I want (the 2.03 Diamond ROM is pretty much there though) I know that I can get anything I want with a search of the 'net/xda-devs.com and that it'll be easy (if you're at all computer literate) to do, and will work.

To answer one question above asked about on device updates...

The Windows Update feature needs OEMs to upload the ROMs for it to work, which none of them do because you can download an RUU and flash it really easily. And Operators tend to distribute ROMs differently, and slowly as they have to pay the license fee for your update.

As to operator branded devices, you paid less for your device so quit whining. Or, buy a network unlocked device from expansys with a contract, and you'll get it sooner and without the branding!

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All my music is WMA... = iPhone or iPod FAIL!

iTunes can import WMA, but I've not tried syncing any with an iPod. Surely you should keep music in a neutral format such as MP3 ;-)

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