I have a Dell Axim X50 from work which I use religiously. Ever since I got it, I discovered that I could actually remember meetings & things if I had them on a nice little PDA. But the trouble is, it's (a) old now and (b) a work item, so putting personal things on it (like, say, my DVD collection) wasn't good. My tax refund was nice (well, it sucked they took my money interest free for so long, but there ya go) so I decided to start pricing PDAs. The major thing is that the had to have Windows Mobile 6 (because of my DVD database software, DVD Profiler). When I researched Win Mobile 6 devices, I found out that they were either phones or GPSs. I didn't want one of those! Or did I...
trinalin rationalizes the purchase of an AT&T Tilt
So I did some research. For my DVD Profiler Mobile to work, the device not only needed Windows Mobile 6, but the Professional Edition. It only works on touch-screen devices. Suddenly my choices dropped considerably. I decided to research WM6 machines with touch screens. And since I had NO intention of going with some 2+ year contract and $40+ a month for a rip-off service (for a little as I use my current cell phone), I started reaching Pay As You Go options.
I currently have a Cingular GoPhone as my cell. And AT&T (which bought Cingular) turns out to be the best service for this area. (Oh, and I found out why my phone didn't work in Vermont when elsaf & judiang's AT&T phones did - the Pay As You Go service doesn't work in Vermont.) So now I was looking through the WM6 devices from AT&T. I researched whether the SIM from my current phone would work in the Tilt, and from what I'd read, it would.
The Tilt also has an in-built GPS in it (nyah nyah iPhone holders), but I wasn't sure I wanted to use the $10/month service that AT&T was touting. A bit more research and I found out that the GPS in the phone plays nicely with both Garmin XT and Tom Tom software. It also works with Google Maps (though you need a Wi-Fi or data connection for that). I priced Garmin & Tom Tom and decided to go with Garmin cuz I knew the interface somewhat. (Though if my phone sends me through the Holland Tunnel again, I may have to visit the honchos at Garmin and yell at 'em.) Now the Garmin software locks itself to the microSD card that it's on, so I researched that and found out a way to transfer the stuff to another card. I have an 8GB microSD card on order (my last hold-out on phone customization) which I'll add the Garmin software to (it arrived the day before the phone did) when it does show up.
As you saw yesterday, there's also a camera feature in the Tilt. When I was at the Lake and realized I'd left my camera at home, I thought "If I had one of those cell phones with a camera..." which is probably the moment when I decided to research WM6 cell phones. The phone also has wi-fi capabilities, which will let me use the data features without using up all my GoPhone money.
I had one major thing holding me back from doing this - Outlook. I do not like Outlook. I may grumble about FirstClass at work, but hell, it sure beats Outlook. I didn't want to install Outlook on my home computer. (It's installed on my work computer, but once I clear out my old PDA, I'll uninstall it. Ah, how nice.) Earlier in the year I'd researched an Outlook Alternative and discovered BirdieSync. It allows WM's ActiveSync to synchronize with Thunderbird and it's calendar plug-in Lightning. So I switched over from Pegasus (*sniff* I'll miss you ol' friend!) to Thunderbird and installed Lightning. It was rather nice to combine both of my address books (my e-mail one and address/phone one) knowing I'd be able to use 'em with my phone. I also entered all of the March dates from my old PDA into Lightning.
Yesterday the phone arrived. The first thing I did was put the SIM card in from my old phone. Then the battery. And then the moment of truth - I turned it on. It did its first time calisthenics, then I used it to dial my home phone. My phone rang. Ooooh! Then I phoned it from my home phone - the cell phone rang. Oooh! My Tilt is Pay As You Go! :-)
Now it was time to update the ROM and then customize it. For those of you with a Tilt (or HTC Kaiser or TyTN II) or pondering it, I'll share with you some of my research findings.
trinalin customizes her AT&T Tilt
- Upgrading the ROM to the latest version from HTC. The whole time I was doing this I was thinking "Don't go out, power! Please don't go out!" thanks to the flickers we'd had earlier in the day.
- Preventing the phone from installing all of the crapware. I did this after I upgraded the ROM. I was able to see what the instructions meant by the "3 second countdown" since I'd watched it the first time I turned it on.
- Installing HTC Home. The AT&T Tilt got rebranded by AT&T and thus lost some of it's cool HTC Kaiser features. I really like the HTC Home look, though there were several others I tried as well.
- Finding a nice Purple Theme for my Tilt. I'm still working on this, though I have two that are pretty good. Indeed, the first would be perfect if it didn't put purple lines through the contact list (though the person who created the theme intends to update it, I believe). I'll keep searching for one, but I really like the look of it thus far.
- Getting ActiveSync & ZoneAlarm to like each other. I was getting frustrated when I kept getting errors while syncing. And eventually I thought "I'll bet it's that damn ZoneAlarm." Sure enough, it was. These nice instructions have made it so that I no longer have to turn off ZoneAlarm to sync.
I'll be adding games once the microSD card arrives. I'm really loving the phone so far. I've added my address to the GPS software and switched to the British voice (though, alas, it's female. It was great listening to the male voice on the Garmin we used on our Vermont trip). Can't actually use it to go anywhere yet since we're in the midst of this snow storm, but when things clear up, I'll test it out with the $10 vent-attached phone holder in my car. Hoping to use it next Friday when I pick the folks up in Cincinnati.