Here’s the weekly summary of a mix of Windows Mobile and general mobile tech related items from my personal blog.
Windows Live Barcode
Microsoft’s Windows Live Barcode sites touts using Denso’s QR Code. QR Code is a 2d matrix barcode that can store more information than other kinds of barcodes currently in use. Microsoft’s website lets you create a QR Code barcode (you can see mine here) and says they will provide a reader for handsets to use them. However, the site does not have any download just yet. QR Code has been around since 1994. It will be interesting to see if it finally catches on because of this apparently new push from Microsoft.
New Google Mobile Gmail (if-fy on Windows Mobile Devices)
Google released a Java Midlet Gmail client for mobile devices today. So, of course, right off the bat it doesn’t work with my Dell Axim X50v (Windows Mobile 2003 2nd Edition) or T-Mobile SDA (Windows Mobile 5 Smartphone). My i-Mate K-JAM (Windows Mobile 5 Pocket PC Phone Edition) has a Java runtime, however. So, I was able to install and test it there. Couple of thoughts.
- The fonts look horrible on he 240×320 LCD. The fonts are small and jaggy (aliased).
- The scrollbar on the right is razor thin. I guess this is ok on a phone/smartphone device. But, it is difficult to grab with a stylus on a PDA type device. Of course, the navigation buttons work on a Pocket PC. So, I could use it instead of a stylus. But, when I am using a stylus, I don’t want to have to put it down just to scroll a page.
- Navigation through a threaded message list is fast. But the navigation is not as intuitive as it could be. Clicking on a thread item’s tab expands or collapses it. But, it is not immediately obvious.
- The menus look ok when my K-JAM is used in portrait mode but are truncated at the bottom when I’m using it in landscape mode (keyboard pulled out).
Google should go back to the drawing board for this one. They should also take a good look at the Yahoo! Mobile web interface. Yahoo’s mobile web interface is a relatively simple HTML one that seems to work with everything, is easy to understand, and look fine on pretty much any screen.
Windows Mobile Device Center (WMDC) Overview (MS’ Mr. Mobile)
Microsoft’s Jason Langridge (AKA Mr. Mobile!) wrote an overview of the Windows Mobile Device Center (WMDC) that replaces ActiveSync in Windows Vista. He also provides a bunch of screenshots. So, head over to his blog to get the details.
Windows Mobile Device Center Overview
Free Pocket PC Software @Microsoft Windows Marketplace
The Microsoft Windows Marketplace lets you filter and sort in a number of ways. If you filter on Pocket PC and sort by price, you can find the free downloads for a Pocket PC.
Microsoft Windows Marketplace filtered on Pocket PC
Microsoft Mobile Windows Live Beta
I use Microsoft’s Live.com as my default Internet Explorer 7 home page. Its tabbed page interface and hover over text expansion work great on my desktop and notebook PCs. The Mobile Live Beta is interesting but loses everything but the main page. Clicking More… just takes me to the current Windows Live mobile page which is a rehash of the MSN Mobile page. The Mobile Windows Live portal can be a great resource once they get more of the info from the desktop version and navigation that isn’t totally tied to a phone-centric interface (i.e., don’t forget the larger Pocket PC form factor).
SoftMaker Office for Pocket PCs
SoftMaker is taking pre-orders for their SoftMaker Office for Pocket PCs which bundles TextMaker 2006 (word processor) and PlanMaker 2006 (spreadsheet). Although Microsoft provides Word Mobile and Excel Mobile for Pocket PCs, SoftMaker’s offerings were much more full featured and closer to the desktop Office versions that Microsoft offerings the last time I took a close look a few years ago. If the firmware based Microsoft products lack some of the functions you would like to have on a Pocket PC, take a look at this bundle.