Windows Mobile Weekly Roundup

by Todd Ogasawara

Ack... Windows Mobile 6 Confusion By the Print Press
Well, I knew this was bound to happen as soon as I heard Microsoft changed the names of the Windows Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition and Smartphone to Professional Edition and Standard Edition. It not only confuses the ordinary customer, it also confuses technology journalists. Take a look at page 22 in the May 2007 issue of PC World. The half-page article is titled: Windows Mobile 6: New E-Mail Options. Read the sentence (about half-way through): And now you can edit data in an Excel spreadsheet (you still can't create formulas or new spreadsheets though). Um, what? Yep, we have one confused tech journalist here. So, if you hear/read this repeated somewhere, please try to spread the correct information back down the path (I'll try to track down the writer's email address and do the same). The Pocket PC/Phone Edition has had the ability to edit Word and Excel documents (though translation was required until Windows Mobile 5) since, hmm, the Pocket PC 2000 days. Windows Mobile 6 Professional Edition devices (Pocket PC Phone Edition) can still create and edit Word and Excel documents in their native formats (though not all functions are supported). The Smartphone (now called Standard Edition) never had any Microsoft-provided Word or Excel viewing capabilities at all up to and including Windows Mobile 5 Smartphones. Some vendors supplied third party tools to view documents, but Microsoft never provided the capability for the Smartphone. However, as I mentioned in a previous blog item, Windows Mobile 6 Standard Edition (Smartphone) does allow editing Word and Excel documents. Next, you Excel Mobile for Standard Edition (Smartphone) does let you enter functions in a cell. It doesn't provide an function list, but you can type it in yourself ( e.g., =SUM(A1:A3) ). Finally, yes, for some odd reason, Excel Mobile and Word Mobile do not let you create new documents on a Smartphone (let's drop the Standard Edition stuff). However, there is a simple workaround. Just think about it for a moment and it will come to you :-)
ActiveSync vs. Hibernate & ActiveSync vs. Poke in the Eye
If you think I rant about ActiveSync, check out my friend Ed Hansberry's blog item on PocketPCThoughts.com titled... Windows Mobile Device Center Poked Me In The Eye ...where he describes a particularly painful encounter with ActiveSync the Next Generation (aka Windows Mobile Device Center - WMDC) which deleted as he says: ...about 90% of my files from both the PC and device, so there were really no files to be found. Ouch! In my effort to conserve energy and reduce my personal carbon footprint, I've been using Hibernate with both Windows XP and Windows Vista for the past two months or so (you can check out my new GreenTechies blog if you are interested in such things... One of my slogans is: You don't need to believe in global warming to want to save money :-) And, guess what piece of software seems to get particularly confused by Hibernating a system? [In my best Mr. Rogers' voice] You are right... I knew you could guess that... I don't use my Vista PC to sync regularly with a Windows Mobile device (just for testing). So, I don't really see it over there yet. But, Windows XP + Hibernate + ActiveSync 4.5 doesn't paint a pretty picture. If you know how to stablize ActiveSync on a hibernating PC, please let me know.
Windows Mobile 6 T-Mobile Dash Bluetooth ActiveSync Video Demo
I could never get my T-Mobile SDA Windows Mobile 5 Smartphone to work with ActiveSync over a wireless Bluetooth connection. There was nothing wrong with the old Belkin USB Bluetooth adapter on my desktop or ActiveSync since other Windows Mobile devices could sync with it over Bluetooth. Fortunately, my new T-Mobile Dash with the Windows Mobile 6 upgrade doesn't suffer from this problem. The new WM6 communications center has an ActiveSync button (unlike WM5's comm center) to make the whole process of wireless syncing Bluetooth a bit easier. I recorded a brief video (1 minute 28 seconds) this evening to give you an idea of what the Bluetooth ActiveSync process looks like. You can find the YouTube link to the video below... Video: Windows Mobile 6 T-Mobile Dash Bluetooth ActiveSync Demo
Windows Mobile 6 Word Mobile Looks Surprisingly Good!
I had to rush out of my office early this afternoon after completing a 6 page memorandum draft. I didn't want to use a USB thumbdrive or a take the notebook with me. So, I just emailed it to myself after saving the file to Word 97-2003 format (from Word 2007). The document does not have any unusual formatting (e.g., embedded images). But, I did use a Word 2007 theme (Header 1 is a large font in blue, etc.). So, I was quite surprised how good the document looked on my T-Mobile Dash. The edge wrapping was well done, the titles and text looked good and was easy to read on the phone's screen. I kind of wish there was an option to view it at, say, 33% size to fit more on the screen. But, the 50% size view was reasonable to use. If you haven't tried viewing a "real" Word document on your Windows Mobile 6 phone, try it out. You might be pleasantly surprised like I was.
Google Calendar for Mobile Devices
Google Calendar for Mobile DevicesGoogle Calendar for mobile devicesGoogle announced a mobile device friendly version of Google Calendar today... Calendar for Mobile Devices I gave it a quick try on my T-Mobile Dash by adding an event. The agenda view (list of events) is the only view available on a mobile device. I went to the regular PC to flesh out the information (I could type faster there). Adding the address for an event lets you use the mobile version of Google Maps from a link on the event. Microsoft Pocket Streets used to integrate with Contacts on Windows Mobile devices. But, now that it is gone, I guess that this Google feature could be handy (unless you are out of tower range :-) . You can find Google Calendar at: calendar.google.com
Windows Mobile 6 Pocket PC
Windows Mobile 6 Excel for Pocket PCI've got Windows Mobile 6 on a Pocket PC to compare with a Smartphone (or Professional and Standard Editions if you prefer). Word Mobile and Excel Mobile have obvious advantages on the larger Pocket PC format factor with a touchscreen. But, it is amazing how much nicer some features like word completion look on a Smartphone vs. a Pocket PC. You would think the more mature (from an editing perspective) Pocket PC would have the advantage. But, that is not the case from my point of view. Despite this, though, entering information in Word Mobile or Excel Mobile on the Pocket PC is still a much better and easier experience overall. And, ack, ack, ack, when is Microsoft going to bring the good ol' calculator for the Pocket PC out of the 20th century and into this one? It looks awful and out of place compared to the rest of the Pocket PC and downright archaic compared to the small but reasonably effective UI they added for the Smartphone's WM6 calculator.
Small Smartphone Excel Mobile Display Glitch
Windows Mobile 6 Excel Mobile screen glitchWindows Mobile 6 Excel Mobile for Smartphone Find Screen GlitchI found a minor display error in Excel Mobile running on a Windows Mobile 6 T-Mobile Dash (Smartphone; AKA Standard Edition). The "Look in:" selection box in the "Find" window is not completely displayed. It is still usable since I can see enough of the option to figure out what the choices are. But, it would be nice to see the whole thing. I suspect we'll see a few more of these screen form format glitches as time goes by. The variety of resolutions and screen orientations (landscape or portrait) is bound to mess up some applications on the Pocket (Classic or Professional Edition) and Smartphone (Standard Edition). Excel Mobile is probably a double whammy case since the Office Mobile components are seeing their first appearance on the Smartphone starting with Windows Mobile 6 and most people (including developers) probably think of the Smartphone as having a portrait oriented screen.