My Very Own Kaiser

I got a new toy… So what is it?  Well I’m glad you asked. It’s a German Emperor. Well, it’s more like a choose your own adventure, you get to pick a name for it. Whichever one you pick will be wrong at least some of the time, so go nuts:

  • Kaiser
  • AT&T Tilt
  • AT&T 8925
  • HTC P4550
  • SFR v1615
  • Swisscom XPA1615
  • T-Mobile MDA Vario III
  • O2 Xda Stellar
  • Vodafone v1615

Okay, so what is it?  Well I’m glad you asked. It’s a smartphone. Well actually it’s not really a smartphone, it’s a phone that is smart, see, according to Microsoft, it’s a PocketPC with phone capabilities, but it’s only considered a smartphone if it doesn’t have a touch screen. With me so far?

This is a replacement for my Treo 680, which despite having been loyal to Palm over the course of many years, I finally decided to replace.

Okay, lets talk design, features and specs first. The TyTN II has a sliding QWERTY 41-key keyboard, jog wheel, and 2.8″ QVGA (480×320) touch screen LCD.  3.0 megapixel camera.

The base operating system is Windows Mobile 6, but more on that in a later post…

In terms of communications,

About the only thing it’s missing is an IRda port, and a string to link to your tin can.  This baby is loaded.

Initial impressions are fantastic, it’s a device I have really enjoyed using, performance is so-so, it doesn’t have the “instant” feel of a Palm when moving between simple applications, however due to the multitasking nature of Windows Mobile, when moving between complex applications which are already loaded, it’s great.

Onboard GPS is a *huge* bonus too, since that’s one less device to carry around all the time — I can’t count the number of times I’ve been out and about, looked up an address, not had a clue where it was, and could have used a GPS to help out.  Now, I know the city well enough that I can take a good guess, and I had pretty decent maps on my Treo (Plus access to Google Maps, of course), but when driving circles around an unfamiliar neighbourhood, it’s sure handy to have full GPS capabilities.

I’ll still be keeping my external bluetooth GPS though, when we’re traveling I like to have the option to use my laptop rather then my PDA as a GPS, but then again, if I am taking my laptop bag, I can fit the GPS.

Anyway, back to the TyTN II.  Battery life is so-so, although the battery is only marginally larger then the Treo 680’s battery, I get a comfortable day’s use out of the TyTN unless I am on wifi or playing graphical games all day long, and even better, it recharges using a standard USB cable, so I can use my APC Universal Mobile Device Battery, should the need arise.

The 3.0MP camera is decent, although the automatic colour balance is just plain bad —  Manually setting the lighting setting helps, using white balance is even better, but lets face it, when I’m out and about, I probably won’t take the time to white balance properly.  Still, a fair step up from the Treo 680’s 0.3MP camera (yes, that’s an order of magnitude difference between the cameras)

Windows Mobile is a drastically different OS then PalmOS, probably as significant as moving from Windows to OSX, but once you learn your way around, it’s pretty decent. I’ll followup with some “must-have” apps that I’ve discovered in following posts.