alistairphillips.com

I’m : a web and mobile developer based in the Manning Valley, Australia.


Handy smartphone packs a punch

I can hear it now, "Resistance is futile, prepare to be assimilated...", as it's only a matter of time before Microsoft start to dominate the smartphone market. The Orange SPV C500 has recently been reviewed on the BBC website (see) so it's sure to spark some interest from all the readers out there.

A while back I would never really have entertained the thought of running a version of Windows on my cellphone - imagine trying to dial a number and getting the dreaded BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) or encountering non-responsive applications that when closed bring down the whole phone.

My most recent phone (before I sold it on eBay) was the Nokia 3650 running the Symbian OS which a few manufacturers have started to use as standard on their devices. I've got mixed feelings about Symbian as my experiences with it have not been that great as the phone always seemed sluggish and I would often have to restart the phone for things to start working again.

The whole point about having a smartphone is being able to sync your calendar, contacts and email - but you try doing that on the Nokia's - it's quite a task I assure you! Bluetooth should be the answer to all of our cable problems but with the sync software that all Symbian devices use we're still having to use COM ports (although they are virtual) and the connection seems to stop working after a while.

If you've ever used a PocketPC then you'll know that Microsoft have gotten it oh so right with ActiveSync. It's so easy that it really just works and before you know it you've got your email, contacts and calendar all nicely sync'd and you're ready to leave. Now imagine how great it would be to have a cellphone based on Windows Mobile - just stick the device into it's USB cradle and it sits there charging and syncing without any fiddling on your side.

This SPV C500 comes it at only 100g and has 65MB of built-in memory as well as a mini-SD Card for memory expansion. For a phone with all of this power bundled in a tiny package. Battery life has been quoted as 4 days standby and 8 hours talk time. Wonder what it's like with real use though?

Guess this phone really is a geek device as there is so much scope for development. The device comes bundled with the .NETCF (Compact Framework) environment so you can develop,deploy and run without any fuss. For the consumer this means that there is a wealth of new applications just waiting out there.

And speaking as a developer I would much rather develop in C# for .NETCF than trying to muddle my way through C++ and the Symbian API. Granted I'm not going to get as much power but then I could just use C++ on the Microsoft device as well. And you've still got the ability to develop and run J2ME applications on this phone.

So when are the other networks going to get with it and start offering Windows Mobile devices? Motorola has a new product, the MPx220, coming out before Christmas (in the UK anyway, already released in the US) so hopefully the other providers will begin offering it soon.

Weird to think that only a few years ago phones were very proprietary and closed to developers - now we're able to run custom games/applications, IM from your phone ...

Now we need to GPRS costs to come down ;-)