Mike Schaeffer's Blog

January 12, 2008

Last June, I wrote a bit on my experiences with the Cingular 2125 Windows Smartphone. After more than a year, the phone has been a good choice, but there have been several suprises, for both the good and the bad.

  • This is the first phone I've used with a web browser that's usable for general web surfing. Most sites render reasonably correctly, and the display is large enough to contain a useful amount of content. It's still not perfect, the browser crashes too often and it is difficult to log into reddit, but this is a vast improvement over conventional phones.
  • I installed a 1GB SD Card that is borderline useless. This might be different if I'd been more aggressively installing software or music, but as it is, the primary benefit of having a card like this is that I can now take 40,000 pictures before I run out of space.
  • Outlook integration is still incredibly useful, but it's been harder to keep the calendar in sync than I thought. This is probably due to the fact I get lots of meeting invites that change, but it's made it difficult to rely on the phone as the 'authoritative' source for my scheduling information I hoped it would be.
  • J2ME is a non-starter on this phone. There is a JVM, but it's buried under a submenu and the applications running on it look more like 'steerage class' than 'first class' citizens of the phone. They aren't integrated with the main application launcher, and their interfaces look like something out of 1988. I really get the impression that the phone has J2ME solely for the purpose of selling into corporate clients with a requirement to run custom J2ME code.
  • Given the power of the underlying hardware and the quality of the display, I was hoping to find more games for the phone. My previous two phones both had small collections of J2ME games purchased through my service provider's web site. AT&T has finally started adding games for this phone to their site, but the selection is limited, expensive, and not that great. I did at least find a few games elsewhere that are pretty fun, Atomic Cannon and Nethack. These were both pretty easy to install. Atomic Cannon, in particular, demonstrates the graphics of the phone quite well.
  • I don't use the 'Phone as Modem' capability at all. I don't have as many places where I need to use it as I thought. That said, it does work, and would be a nice way to check mail in a pinch.