Windows Mobile newbie
During last couple of years I had a chance to try almost every popular mobile operating system. That includes Symbian on N95, iOS on iPod Touch and Android on HTC Hero. Couple of weeks ago I’ve got lucky and got HTC HD2 phone with Windows Mobile 6.5. The phone itself is awesome: screen size, CPU speed, memory etc. But this time I would like to write a little review about Windows Mobile and not the phone itself, since this is my first time with this mobile operating system.
Despite the fact I’ve never tried Windows Mobile before, I’ve always thought that it sucks. From the pictures from the internet I’ve got impression that this mobile OS doesn’t’ look good, doesn’t run smoothly and doesn’t have any good software. Well first ones might be correct till 6.5 version of Windows Mobile. Currently it is pretty nice (mostly thanks to HTC Sense). Despite the looks and the feel what impressed me the most is how open this operating system is.
Tweaks and customizations
As I’ve said, I’ve used Android OS for almost half year. The OS was open (in fact, the OS is open source), therefore there were a lot of things I could do with one. But the number of possible customizations and configurations was much smaller then the one on <a href="http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/Windows_Mobile” onclick=”__gaTracker(‘send’, ‘event’, ‘outbound-article’, ‘http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Mobile’, ‘Windows Mobile’);”>Windows Mobile. For starters, I can change every single icon (of application, folder, taskbar, weather), organize them to folders, edit bootscreen, screensaver, apply many tweaks (and here’s more) to OS etc. There are event custom made drivers/patches for GPS, video and audio I can easily install. Last mobile phone I remember I could do that (install additional drivers) on was my Sony Ericson k750i.
One of the things I like the most on Windows Mobile is real filesystem (not some isolated storage or something user has no access to) and the registry. Using file explorer (I like Resco Explorer but default one is pretty good too) I can move, hide, archive, encrypt any file, I can modify configuration files of the programs, create shortcuts and manage them. I can have “My Documents”, “My Pictures” etc catalogs and I know exactly where to put and how to access my files. I remember one time when I wanted to upload couple of docs and pictures to my iPod Touch I had. I was unable to find the way to do that so the best I could do was to upload those files on the internet and download them after. Oh, and for the most geeky users (count me in) there are software to do stuff it’s hard to imagine phone could do. With TaskMgr I can view a process list, view (stop, disable, enable, set them to manual, too) running services, view devices, edit IP configuration, register DLL’s and so on. Any other operating system has same kind of tools?
While talking about software, there are a lot of programs and tools you can’t find on other smartphones: port scanner, network sniffer, WiFi router, Remote Desktop, electronics tools, math software and many more. I can even use Skype for calling via WiFi, which is something I couldn’t do on my Android. Oh, and there’s iGo for GPS. There is one for Android, too, but no any other mobile operating system can run this great GPS software, as far as I know.
There are a lot of games available for Windows Mobile, too. There are Warcraft 2, Duke Nukem 3D Atomic, Quake 3, Worms, Moorhuhn, Guitar Hero, Earthworm Jim (which kinda reminds me my childhood while playing this game on the NES) and many other games. There even are some NES, Sega, GameBoy and Playstation 1 emulators for Windows Mobile.
Still, there is no perfect mobile OS yet
Although there are many nice things about Windows Mobile, there are some bugs or things I don’t like too. But feel free to name at least one mobile operating system/smartphone that hasn’t any bugs. I remember my N95 rebooting itself or stucking on vibration. HTC Hero, until I’ve upgraded it to newer custom ROM (which has some bugs too) was amazingly laggy when using dialpad. For iOS bugs, just search for the latest news. While talking about my HD2, what I don’t like most at the moment is too long vibration before call/SMS and poor battery life.
So, to sum up. If you ask me, I would say that Windows Mobile is much better, more open and customizable mobile operating system then I thought before. Thing is, that this operating system makes mobile phone more like pocket PC and not smart phone, if you know what I mean. That might be reason some of the users don’t like it. Upcoming Windows Phone 7 should be completely different. I’m really waiting for this new operating system to try, but in my country (Lithuania) it ain’t gonna come soon, which is really sad.