Moving to Windows Mobile Treo Pro
A Closer Look at my Move to Palm’s $549 Treo Pro & Associated Windows Mobile 6.1 Experiences
“I tried Windows Mobile a few years ago and it truly sucked.”
I found the above comment while reading some news online and I have to admit that it quite adequately describes how I also used to feel about the Windows Mobile operating system BEFORE I got my hands on Palm’s new Treo Pro and decided to make it my preferred everyday smartphone.
I am not now going to claim that Windows Mobile is the greatest operating system that I have ever come across but I have nonetheless been able to experience the fact that it’s actually quite a fast and powerful platform (particularly for the business market) – one that has become increasingly “friendlier” thanks to a number of Microsoft enhancements and many third-party solutions. I would basically describe Windows Mobile as a good “shell” on which an increasing number of great applications are running.
In sharp contrast to previous WM versions that had some good and many rubbish features, Windows Mobile 6.1 manages to deliver quite a few great features and only some poor ones – a positive balance that now actually makes using your Treo Pro or Treo 800w smartphone on a daily basis rather efficient, productive and even fun.
In my particular case, as I’ve mentioned previously, it is important to point out that that it was not Windows Mobile software that attracted me to the Treo Pro but instead it was the Treo Pro hardware that attracted me to Windows Mobile.
Palm’s latest smartphone thus stands as the perfect example that, like me, most people will often be swayed by great hardware design first and the operating system second. I believe that this partly explains why Palm has lost so much market share over the last couple of years with a collection of uninspiring device designs in the face of the iPhone and BlackBerry.
Although I clearly still have some way to go before I can claim to be a Windows Mobile expert I nonetheless feel that after a couple of weeks I have managed to get a very good grip on this OS – a growing knowledge that helps to enhance my overall experience on a daily basis. Having said this, below is a list of the Top 5 Windows Mobile software features that have thus far made the greatest impression on me:
Top 5 Windows Mobile Features (Treo Pro)
- Today Screen + UI Look & Feel
There is no doubt that the Today Screen is one of the most unique and useful features of Windows Mobile. I love the way that you can get so much done quickly without any further clicks from this screen alone. Standard Today plug-ins such as Windows Live Search & Messenger, Google Search, Messaging, Tasks and Calendar make it ultrafast to look up information and view or modify daily activities. Also, a new Comm Manager allows you to quickly control your Phone, Bluetooth, WiFi, Microsoft Direct Push and Data Connection.
Additionally, thanks to third-party software such as my preferred and essential Spb Mobile Shell you can add even more plug-ins such as an application Launcher, Clock, Weather and Fast Dial among others.
Perhaps even more importantly is the fact for me that Windows Mobile has now actually become “rather nice to look at” with very rich graphics and complex animations which actually make it feel extremely fun and modern to interact with on a daily basis.
- Making & Receiving Calls
Sometimes people forget to really pay attention to the “phone” portion of a smartphone. Thankfully this is not the case with the Treo Pro as it is the first Windows Mobile smartphone from Palm that offers a new “Smartdial” screen (quickly accessed by simply pressing the green button) from which you can make a call within seconds by just typing the first few letters of a Contact’s first or last name.
Considering that I have over 1,800 Contacts it’s obvious that I need to find and dial these as quickly as possible and the Treo Pro does a great job on this front (albeit it does not have Search-by-Company which is dumb).
Additionally, when using a Bluetooth Headset I was impressed to find out that when you answer a call by pressing the button on your smartphone the call smartly does not get routed to your BT headset. Only when you answer the call from your headset does it actually route the audio there – very smart.
- Web Browsing
Combined with ultrafast 3G data connectivity or WiFi, Pocket Internet Explorer provides a pretty good but rather slow mobile browsing experience. It also lack strong multimedia support but for the most part I am able to easily access any content while on the go in an environment that looks and feels good.
More importantly, although they are not part of Windows Mobile, the fact that there are three other excellent and ultrafast mobile browser alternatives which render webpages almost 100% as they would on your PC and provide full audio and video support plus are available for your smartphone at no additional cost is certainly a huge bonus – you have the stunning Opera Mobile 9.5 (screenshot above left), Skyfire browser (above right) and also Torch Mobile’s new Iris Browser.
Therefore, the option of having not one but _four_ browsers on your Treo Pro smartphone gives you all the options that you’ll need for a superb mobile web browsing experience.
- Microsoft ActiveSync
Although ActiveSync is not without flaws I love the way that I can quickly and easily Explore the contents of both my smartphone and its storage card to copy, paste or modify files as it is recognised as a “mass storage device”.
The main thing is that compared to my previous Palm Centro I no longer need to remove the memory card every time I want to change or add a file. Thanks to the SPE S&C Cable connected to my Treo Pro and PC I simply drag and drop those files I need on the go.
- MS Office Compatibility
It’s clear that most business professionals will be delighted to have the full suite of Office Mobile (including Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Word as well as Adobe PDF Reader) bundled on their Windows Mobile Treo Pro smartphone.
Not only are you able to synchronize and edit files from your PC as well as create new ones on your device but perhaps even more importantly you’ll be able to view any email attachments thanks to having these applications installed from the start on your smartphone.
Separately, it’s evident that also having your Contacts, Calendar, Messaging, Notes and Tasks sync with Microsoft Outlook on your PC or via Microsoft Direct Push is rather convenient and essential. In this respect, thanks to PocketMirror Professional I have also _finally_ managed to get more than 15 Outlook folders to sync with my smartphone (a Palm OS limitation that always bothered me).
My selection of Windows Mobile features above is but a small sample of the rather vast experience that a smartphone such as the Treo Pro can offer and over the coming weeks and months I will naturally continue to explore and share many more of these with you.
In the meantime, if you haven’t already been to Palm to buy your own Treo Pro below you’ll find 10 very good reasons to do so now…Top 10 Reasons To Get Your Treo Pro
- Ultraslim & Ultrasleek Form-Factor & Stunning Design
- Full QWERTY Keyboard + High Resolution 320x320 Flush Touchscreen
- Built-in WiFi (802.11 b/g with WPA, WPA2, 801.1x authentication)
- Built-in GPS (Standalone and Asssisted GPS)
- High-Speed Wireless Data (3G HSDPA, UMTS, EDGE)
- It’s a Palm Smartphone
- Dedicated Silent Ringer Switch Button
- Standard 5 Hours Talk Time (Up to 7 hours Continuous)
- Dedicated WiFi On/Off Button
- Windows Mobile Professional 6.1
Treonauts are always looking for new experiences…