I'm sure at this point you're tired of hearing about my trials and tribulations in the world of cell phones. I can't say I blame you. It's time to move on to more important things like Windows 7 Beta 1, Windows Server 2008 R2 betas, and some of the other goodies we have in the virtualization pipeline.
I ended up deciding that at this point in time I wasn't going to give up my precious hardware buttons for a software based keyboard solution. The Omnia is kewl and all and there were many things I liked about it, but I am personally more productive with a device like the one pictured at right.
Now before you rush off to do the same thing, let me make it clear my device usage habits are probably different then yours so keep that in mind. For instance, I don't use a cell phone on a regular basis unless I am traveling or running around town doing errands. Because of that, the battery life for me is longer than most users and that really comes into play with the Palm Treo 800w.
The 800w doesn't have a high capacity battery so those of you that talk a lot on the phone should plan on carrying car chargers, spare battery and charger. The flip side of that is that because the battery capacity is pretty low, it also recharges REALLY fast even when plugged into your laptop via the supplied USB cable.
I installed some software I really like called Spb Mobile Shell from Spb Software House. I don't use it to totally replace the Windows Mobile Professional 6.1 shell. Instead I use the Now screen for quick glances at information on my device, and for some Today items that you can see in the picture of the device above. Those little icons at the top of the screen are the items I am referring to. They provide quick access to battery life, time, weather and contacts information.
The Spb Mobile Shell Now screen (shown at left) comes in real handy for quick views of information without having to unlock the device. Our Exchange EAS policy forces device locks after 15 minutes. With my 800w, I can hit the Power/End button to have the Today screen display. If I want to look at it for a slightly longer period of time, I can unlock the keyboard by pressing the Palm key in the middle of the directional D pad.
As you can see on my Now screen, I can see information pertaining to text messages, call log, phone vmail, weather, battery life, date, time, upcoming appointments, unread email messages, etc. See the other screens and modifications possible with Spb Mobile Shell @ http://spbsoftwarehouse.com/products/mobileshell/screenshots.html?en.
This is a welcome extension to WinMo 6.1. Be sure to checkout all of the other modifications you can make to your WinMo 6.1 device with Spb Mobile Shell and all of the other software from Spb Software House. Their stuff rocks and is priced very nicely. Microsoft employees reading this should checkout our internal http://wmstuff website.
So there you have it. I ended up going back to a Palm device in order to use it effectively as a phone, quick access to email and calendar information, and the other traditional needs I have. The Omnia did teach me to use Voice Command so I am now using that with the Palm Treo 800w as well.
I am also starting to get GPS religion. The Palm Treo 800w allows me to use all of the kewl Live Search Mobile GPS capabilities and I must admit, it's an amazing experience. It's so easy to look across the gas stations in my area and check prices. It's super easy to find restaurants and hotels close to my GPS position, and Sprint doesn't charge extra for the feature. Now that's a nice benefit. I'll do a screencast on this really soon.
And while I'm thinking about it, I must say I am super impressed with the corporate plan prices I receive from Sprint. Of the corporate plans available to me, they are the most economically priced plans. Saving money right now is a good thing.
I'll probably write some more about the devices after CES in early January. Lots of rumors flying around about what will or won't be announced there. Should be a good show. Cheers.