Archives for: June 2009


Permalink 10:00:14, by Eric Baber Email , 1002 words, 69042 views   English (EU)
Categories: Announcements

Samsung Omnia i900/Windows Mobile: a rant

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know that I've recently taken on a Samsung Omnia i900 mobile phone.

The main reason for it is that a) I need a mobile with Windows Mobile OS on which to try out various applications, and b) it's got a touchscreen roughly the size of the iPod/iPhone so we can compare apps and content to a certain degree.

Now - I was really looking forward to getting it. And while I wasn't expecting it to be wildly exciting (it's Windows, after all) I was at least expecting it to be enjoyable. You can probably feel a "but" coming on and you're quite right. Herewith a part-rant (thanks for listening!) and part request for clarification. If I've done either the handset or the OS a misjustice, please do correct me - I'd be delighted to be proven a mobile-klutz.

So then - after having it for less than a day, I already hate it. Here are some of my gripes:

- Being Windows, there are lots and lots of options for everything everywhere. On a large desktop screen this is useful, but on a small screen - correction, *touch*-screen - seeing and *accessing* the options is impossible. My fingers are probably average sized for a male, and trying to access options and generally interact with the interface is utterly frustrating. Yes you can buy a stylus, but how old-fashioned is that?

- Speaking of the touchscreen, it needs to be calibrated, in the same way that interactive whiteboards need to be calibrated. The very first time you turn it on it prompts you to tap on the various crosses on the screen in order to set it up. a) I didn't need to do this with my iPod, so how come I need to do it with the Samsung? b) "tap" is completely the wrong word for it. It took me 5 minutes of increasingly frustrated jabbing before I realised (through trial and error) that during the calibration process you need to actually push and hold for around 3 seconds before the screen registers the touch.

- Settings and options are hidden in utterly unintuitve places. It's Windows, but not as we know it, Jim. It feels like Microsoft have taken the various features within Windows, stuck them into a bag, given it a good shake and then let them fall out whereever they felt like it. I have spent inordinate amounts of time trying to find how to turn off the screen lock and other features

- Wireless (1). In addition to 3G it can pick up wireless signals. It picked up my home network alright, but - get this - there is NO field into which to enter the password for my network. I entered it fairly randomly into various fields that were presented to me, but come on, how difficult can it be to have a field called "password". Some publicly available wifi networks and many private networks ask for passwords, so please make it easy to input it!!

- Wireless (2). Having entered my password at random, it *appears* that the Samsung is connected to it. However, when I access my e-mails on it, it informs me that it's connecting to my t-mobile Internet provision. Why?! Surely if I've connected my phone to a wireless provider - which is likely to be faster than 3G - then why isn't that the default connection? I can probably change a setting somewhere that will tell my phone to do just that, but why should I have to - isn't that what most people will want?

- Using Opera on it is sloooooooow. This may have been my connection so far, but pages are very very treacly to load. And once they're loaded, trying to navigate around a page by dragging it around with your finger a la iPod is a nightmare. Sometimes the screen recognises that you're trying to do that, sometimes it doesn't. Oh, and I still haven't figured out how to reliably zoom in and out. It appears that by dragging your finger up/down on the right hand side of the screen that activates zoom, but again that doesn't work reliably. Or is all of this down to the screen not being sensitive enough? If so, can the sensitivity be set? I've looked but haven't found an option for that.

- Here a request for help - this is neither the Samsung's nor Windows Mobile's fault. I'm looking for a good Twitter app along the lines of ubertwitter (for Blackberry). I've tried Tiny Twitter and ceTwit and they have various issues (I can't figure out how to follow a link in a tweet in Tiny Twitter; ceTwit doesn't seem to load people's icons properly; and a few other things). Granted this may be a personal thing, but any other suggestions for Twitter apps?

- The address book and its use is stupid. The address book displays names in the format surname, firstname. If I start a text or email message and into the To: field enter my wife's first name, it's not recognised. I have to either scroll through the address book and choose her name, or if I enter it exactly as surname, firstname it'll detect it, but it won't offer me up her name as someone I probably want to send the message to if I only enter her first name. Primitive.

- THE PHONE IS SO NOISY!!!! Have just arrived at my meeting in London and it's bombarding me with messages like "connecting to web'n'walk"; "found another wireless network - do you want to join" (no, I've already told you which one I want to join!!!) This sort of stuff never happens with my Blackberry or my iPod....

I think that's it. Gary Motteram has just made me jealous by showing me his new touch-screen mobile running Android - looks properly intuitive, didn't need any calibrating etc. I think I'll use the new Samsung for trialling relevant software, and apart from that leave it at home.

Why oh why did Motorola stop manufacturing the Razr - best phone I've ever had...

Eric Baber's blog

Thoughts and links to articles about a variety of ICT and education-related topics. Where an article or resource is referred to in the header of a blog post please click the header to read the article.

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