v6.2.3 - moving along, a point increase at a time

Vintage Tech - HTC Blue Angel, Universal, HD Mini, and Moto Mpx

Windows Mobile. So much promise...So much frustration ;-)

After a hiatus from Windows Mobile (after mu iPaq), I had decided to try windows mobile again.  At the time HTC seemed to be the golden child of the industry when it came to windows phones.  They made reference designs that other companies could use or rebrand.  One such design, which caught my eye, was the HTC Blue Angel which was rebranded as the Qtek 9090, SPV M2000, Dopod 700, Qtek 9090, T-Mobile MDA III, i-Mate PDA2k, XDA II and so on.  The model came to Cingular at the time as the Siemens SX66.  I really loved the O2 version (XDAIIs), which retained the camera (which Siemens removed because corporate clients didn't want cameras...due to security...blerg...)

  • Dimensions: 125 x 72 x 19 (L x W x T mm)
  • Weight: Approx. 205 g
  • Operating systems:
  • Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition. 
  • Processor: Intel(R) XScale PXA263 400 MHz CPU (possible overclock to 600 MHz)
  • Memory: Flash ROM:96 MB, RAM:128 MB SDRAM
  • Memory expansion: SDIO/MMC card slot
  • Camera: VGA camera (except on the Siemens version, which lacks a camera)
  • Standard battery capacity: 1490mAh
  • Display: QVGA Transflective 65k Colour LCD, 3.5 inch, 240 x 320 pixels
  • Wireless connectivity: GSM/GPRS and Wi-Fi 802.11b, plus IrDA and Bluetooth on both models
Out of the box it came with Windows Mobile 2003, but unofficial "cooked" ROMs for Windows Mobile 5, 6 and 6.1 became available on different forums like xda-developers.  Windows Mobile 2003 was still annoying.  Near the end of the device's life, I got annoyed and it met a wall forcibly ;-).  I tried to give it some extra life by loading cooked Windows Mobile 5 and Windows Mobile 6 on it, but it was too little too late.   I really loved the form factor, but the chicklet keyboard left A LOT to be desired.  I had used a Blackberry phone before this and I actually liked the feel of the keyboard a lot.  I was hoping the same would be true for the Blue Angel, but I was sorely disappointed.  The keyboard actually went mostly unused, and eventually, I switched to a Nokia S60 phone.

Other HTC Phones

There were other phones that HTC made that I loved the design of (but I never got).  Two of these were the HTC Universal, which was a convertible phone. The keyboard was larger, and you were able to use it almost like other messenger phones (like the sidekick) which worked best on the landscape orientation.  By comparison, the Blue Angel felt top-heavy.

HTC Universal Specs (2005):
  • Screen Size: 3.7 in (9.4 cm) Transflective LCD
  • Screen Resolution: 640x480 VGA at 216 ppi
  • Input: 62-key QWERTY keyboard and touchscreen with stylus (included; stylus also available separately for 19 EUR as of October 2008)
  • Cameras: 2
  • 1.3 MP CMOS Camera with LED "flash" mounted on the reverse of the keyboard section
  • QVGA (320x240) CMOS Camera for 3G video calling, mounted beside the screen, close to the hinge
  • Processor: Intel Bulverde (PXA270) 520 MHz CPU
  • Memory: Flash ROM: 128 MB, RAM: 128 MB/64 MB SDRAM
  • Memory expansion: SDIO/MMC card slot (officially without SDHC, with maximum capacity supported being 4GB, but there is unofficial SDHC support from xda-developers - SDHC cards are accepted with Windows Mobile 6.1 or higher and there is another unofficial update to Windows Mobile 5 that allows use of SDXC cards up to 64GB.)
  • Network Standard: Tri-Band GSM/GPRS (900/1800/1900) + WCDMA (UMTS) (2100 MHz)
  • Connection interface: Client only Mini-USB connector, USB charging, USB 2.0 protocol
  • Wireless connectivity: Infrared IrDA FIR, Bluetooth 1.2 Class 2 compliant, WiFi 802.11b IEEE 802.11b compliant, Internal Antenna, 11, 5.5, 2 and 1 Mbit/s per channel, 64-, 128- bit WEP & WPA standard data encryption
  • Standard battery capacity: 1620 mAh (included; the battery is removable)
  • Charging: Mini USB (also used for data transfer)
Touch Pro 

HTC Touch Pro 2 Specs (2009):
  • 3.6" 480 x 800 pixels
  • Qualcomm MSM7200A, Single core, 528 MHz
  • 3.2 MP camera
  • 512MB ROM
  • 300MB RAM
  • SDHC
  • Windows Mobile 6.1
  • 1500 mAmp battery
  • Quadband GSM, 900/2100 UMTS
  • Bluetooth & Wifi
One of the things that HTC started doing (when Windows Mobile as an interface wouldn't really cut it) was to create an overlay UI called HTC Sense. This put a more usable face on top of Windows Mobile's (aging) interface.  I do believe that HTC sense has also been moved to their android line of phones now, making it one of their distinguishing characteristics.

The Motorola MPx

Finally, one phone that I was really looking forward to, but never came out officially, was the Motorola MPx. The MPx may have come out for developers, but it never really saw the consumer market.  This phone was a convertible flip phone.  You could use it in landscape mode with a full keyboard (which doesn't look all that comfortable), or you can use it as a flip phone.    I thought that the forward-facing media keys were innovative for the time, and the dual-hinge meant that you could use it as a 'regular' phone most times, but flip into smartphone mode when needed.  I think it ran Smarphone OS, which was Windows CE-based, like Windows Mobile, but it was different, so I am not sure what the app compatibility looked like

Motorola MPx Specs (2004ish?):
  • Triband GSM 900/1800/1900 support.
  • GPRS Class 8 (4+1 slots), 32–40 kbit/s speed, browser supports WAP 1.2.1 and HTML (PocketIE).
  • Weight: 118 g.
  • Dimensions: 89 × 48 × 27 mm.
  • Main: 2.2-inch (35 × 44 mm) 176 × 220 pixels TFT, 65,536 colors (16-bit), 9 lines.
  • Secondary: 80 x 48 pixels monochrome TFT.
  • Smartphone 2002. Can be upgraded via unofficial firmware, up to Windows Mobile 6.5.
  • Supports 32 presets, polyphonic (24-channel) and WAV for ring-tones (WMA and MP3 support are added with OS upgrades), silent alert: vibration.
  • 132 MHz Texas Instruments OMAP 710 processor.
  • 32 MB of RAM.
  • 16 MB internal memory (8 MB available to user).
  • Expansion slots: SD MMC/SD Card slot (1 GB max).
  • Camera:
    • none, optional Viewtake CM35D SD slot camera available separately.
    • Image sensor type: 0.3 megapixels CMOS.
    • Image preview: 160×120 JPEG 10 frames/second.
    • Photo shot format: 160×120, 320×240, or 640×480 24-bit color JPEG.
    • Video file format: 160×120 24-bit color AVI, 8 frames/second.
    • Lens: 180¢X rotation
    • View angle: 60¢X
    • Fixed focus: f/2.8, 4.1 mm focal length
    • Focus range: On-screen 16-bit color 20 cm to infinity
    • Shutter speed: f/2.8, 4.9 mm focal length 1/7.5 ¡V 1/500
  • Software: IA camera 2.0 (includes driver).
  • Connectivity:
    • IrDA.
    • miniUSB port with USB 1.1 support.
  • Dimensions: 26.7 mm × 33.6 mm × 12 mm (without SD card)

Windows Mobile 6.5

Finally, it's worth looking a bit at Windows Mobile 6.5  Microsoft's last-ditch effort to "save" a current product and evolve it, before they went with Windows Mobile 7, which was totally new underneath the hood (I think), with a new user interface (Metro), which meant a complete re-launch of Microsoft's mobile phone line - which...SPOILER ALERT...they managed to bungle as well...

From what I remember Microsoft wasn't fully invested in Windows Mobile 6.5, but it is worth noting that they changed the interface of the OS from something that resembled Windows on the desktop, to something closer to the Zune interface (their failed attempt at a media player).  It wasn't a bad effort, but I think it was too little too late by this time. By this time (2009) iOS was in its third iteration and the iPhone 3GS was close to being out the door (this is my first iPhone since I wasn't all that impressed with the original and the 3G). One of the innovations here is that microsoft now had a store that people could buy apps from them and install without sideloading.  I remember back in my iPaq and HTC days, the only real way to install applications on your Windows Mobile, or Palm device for that matter, was through sideloading.  You needed to buy the software separately, either on CD or via an online store.  Run the hot-synch function while tethered to a computer, and run the executable installer on your PC.  The Apple AppStore really did revolutionize this, and it's amazing that no one else had done this before...

It's too bad really.  Microsoft had a commanding lead, in my opinion, both in the enterprise and in the consumer market (thanks to HTC), but they really squandered it.

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