Soon after reaching out to the HTC folks at CTIA, I received an HTC Fuze to review. The HTC Fuze is AT&T’s locked and branded version of the HTC Touch Pro. This is my first review unit from HTC, and hopefully the first of many. Within about an hour of getting the phone, I unlocked and unbranded it into an HTC Touch Pro (sans front-facing camera).
Contrary to popular belief, I rarely get free devices to review! So after recently acquiring my Nokia N95, I decided to sell my Nokia N80 – I also decided to sell my Samsung i607 (BlackJack), and I acquired a Sierra Wireless AirCard 860…
The AirCard 860 is extremely affordable and is HSDPA (1900/850MHz) and EDGE (quad-band) compatible. This is my first time owning a dedicated data card – mine is unlocked, and is working very well with both Cingular (HSDPA) and T-Mobile (EDGE) in Windows XP Pro.
I plan to test it in Linux (Ubuntu) as well :)
On Tuesday, Apple released the Mac OS X 10.4.9 update, which (amongst other things) adds support for Bluetooth PAN! Strangely, this profile was missing from OS X, despite Apple traditionally leading Bluetooth support.
So why does this matter to me? Like most devices running Windows Mobile 5.0 with AKU3, my Samsung i607 (BlackJack) does not support Bluetooth DUN, so until this OS X update, I was forced to connect via USB…
I’m happy to report that Bluetooth PAN in OS X works flawlessly with my BlackJack.
On a related note, I was asked why I’ve not mentioned the BlackJack here recently. Well there’s really not much to report… I tweaked the device to be useful to me and I’ve been using it on and off ever since.
I originally picked up the BlackJack because I was looking for a US-compatible HSDPA smartphone. It is a good device overall, and Windows Mobile is better than I expected. Nonetheless, I still prefer Symbian!
Other than OS X not (yet) supporting Bluetooth PAN, the lack of Bluetooth DUN on my Samsung i607 (BlackJack) was not a major problem for me… Until yesterday.
I tried to share my Bluetooth PAN connection over WiFi in Windows XP (thus turning my OQO into a WiFi access point for a friend’s Mac) – but no, it’s just not possible! Yet it’s possible to share a Bluetooth DUN connection.
So Microsoft, what’s going on here?
Thanks to a bit more help, I now have working Java solution for my Samsung i607 (BlackJack)! Java applications are no longer constantly prompting for permission to access the network… This makes the Google Maps Mobile and GMail Mobile actually useful :)
And speaking of Google, I recently installed the native (Windows Mobile) version of Windows Live Search, and I’m pretty impressed! Which begs the question: when is Google going to release a native (preferably Symbian) version of Google Maps Mobile? Because despite being a non-Microsoft person, I’m sorry to report that Windows Live Search walks all over Google Maps Mobile…
So I’ve been using my Samsung i607 (BlackJack) for several days now and I’m pretty impressed! You see, I’m primarily a Symbian & Mac person so I’ll admit being a little worried about purchasing a Windows Mobile device, especially since the ones I’d tested in the past generally appeared to sacrifice basic phone functionality (poor RF, audio and UI performance) without being particularly compelling “multimedia computers” (as an aside I think Nokia’s terminology is dead on).
Samsung hardware is generally pretty decent, and the i607 is quite nice. But surprisingly, Microsoft’s software is also pretty decent, and is quite stable, too! However, there’s one nagging problem with Windows Mobile… It’s called ActiveSync. Call me crazy, but in this day and age, how can you make a smartphone without support for Bluetooth DUN & OBEX? I know Microsoft likes promoting ActiveSync, but why Bluetooth PAN? Why not also support the existing industry standards?
So I ended up purchasing Missing Sync. It’s not particularly intuitive, but after some trial and error, I managed to sync over USB and Bluetooth. I also succeeded in getting DUN (over USB) setup on my Mac, and Bluetooth PAN setup on my OQO (Windows XP). Then I got the phone SIM unlocked and application unlocked. With a bit of help, I also got SlingPlayer working and the annoying startup/shutdown audio disabled. The only fix left is finding a way to stop Java applications from constantly prompting for permission to access the network.
Give this device a better camera, WiFi, and Symbian and I’d have my ideal smartphone – like blending the E61, N73 and adding tri-band HSDPA. Nokia, are you listening? In the meantime, if you’re looking for a decent Windows Mobile device, the BlackJack is it… But in the end, my N80 is not ready to be retired yet.