You might have already read about SoftMaker, the full-featured office suite for Windows Mobile on TamsPPC several times. Tam Hanna, for example, wrote about SoftMaker Presentations in June 2010. Now I want to focus on TextMaker 2010 which promises the power of a desktop’s word processor.

softmaker2010 TextMaker 2010 for Windows Mobile ReviewInterface

The interface is very similar to Microsoft Word or OpenOffice.org. There are several views available, such as an outline or the standard page view, with different zoom levels and a ruler, of course. The toolbars are shown on the bottom of the screen, for example file and formatting options or a drawing toolbar and a toolbar for editing images. But it also allows creating and editing own toolbars. The average Microsoft Word user will recognize the organization of toolbars, menus, dialogues and tabs quickly.

Handling

Windows Mobile, an operating system which was designed for stylus use, displays smaller buttons or checkboxes in its dialogues than finger-based interfaces like HTC Sense or other smartphone operating systems like Android or iOS, which is is not a problem as long as you may use a stylus. As this also applies to TextMaker (which does not use an alternative interface), owners of a finger-based phone like the HTC HD2 might have problems to hit small buttons.

But there are also small issues beside the interface:  The “Open file” or “Inserttextmaker03 180x300 TextMaker 2010 for Windows Mobile Review image” dialogues do not only show a list of files, but also dropdown lists for choosing a different folder and file type and several checkboxes / buttons. Hence there is not much space for the list of files, which – in case of inserting images – shows only the name of the images. A preview box for images does exist in this dialogue, but a thumbnail view would have been better.

Fonts and characters

On my blank Windows Mobile 6.5 phone, there are nine fonts available, including Courier New, Helvetica, Tahoma and Windings. Beside several font collections which are also being offered by SoftMaker, you can install fonts which you find in the web or on your desktop computer.  You just need to copy them to your font folder.

You can define the font size and style, but also different underlines, font and background colors or the space between characters.

textmaker04 90x150 TextMaker 2010 for Windows Mobile Review textmaker05 90x150 TextMaker 2010 for Windows Mobile Review textmaker06 90x150 TextMaker 2010 for Windows Mobile Review

Images and drawings

As one of very few mobile word processors, TextMaker allows inserting images. Unfortunately, the insertion and even the preview of photos (3 MP) textmaker022 112x150 TextMaker 2010 for Windows Mobile Reviewmade my device took about a minute and it slow (HTC HD2) or even unstable (MDA Vario IV). As some expansion cards are slow, the speed could be increased by installing TextMaker directly on the device.

A small image (200 x 150 pixels) made no problems. The editing capabilities include changing the brightness, contrast, colors and the orientation. It even allows you to set a special text flow or put a frame around the image.

The drawing tool bar includes many shapes you already know from Word, including lines, free-hand, boxes and ellipses. A tap on the Auto Form tool shows a variety of another ~ 130 shapes. The shapes can have different line styles and can be rotated and filled with colors, color gradients, pattern and images. Furthermore, all fills may have a transparency from 0 – 100%. Even shade, 3D and mirror effects are available.

Supported file types

Beside the support of  printing, TextMaker also exports documents to PDF files, which can include a table of contents and even form elements from the document (PDF forms).

The list of supported file types includes several TextMaker formats, but also Microsoft Word (even the 2007 .docx format), OpenDocument, Rich Text, Pocket Word, HTML and plain text.

textmaker07 90x150 TextMaker 2010 for Windows Mobile Review textmaker08 90x150 TextMaker 2010 for Windows Mobile Review

Conclusion

Indeed, it is the best word processor for Windows Mobile and indeed, it is a desktop software on a mobile phone. Nevertheless, this fact can sometimes lead to lags when you are working with many shapes, big documents or images. But this is not necessarily the fault of the programmers, it is the consequence of these high-end features on slow devices. Expensive smartphones with a fast CPU have an advantage, of course.

The handling of the software could sometimes be better, especially on finger-controlled devices. This is why I am looking forward to testing the announced SoftMaker Office for Android.

After the Android  port for the HD2, developers are working on the port of Ubuntu, a Linux operating system for desktop computers and laptops. Beside the computer version, Ubuntu is also being offered for machines with an ARM architecture for some time now. However, Ubuntu had also to be adapted to the special hardware of the smartphone.

The HTC Linux community now offers their second built of Ubuntu for the HD2. At the moment, there are drivers for the touchscreen, the Wi-Fi and the phone including 3G communication. There is, however, no audio driver and therefore no sound, even not in calls. It also includes USB host drivers, which support mass storage, audio and networking devices.

On my phone, the boot process lasts 86 seconds until the desktop and its icons appear. The build uses its own Wi-Fi software (Wicd). You can switch between portait and landscape mode and access the Micro SD card. There is also an onscreen keyboard for text inputs.

As Ubuntu has its own software center, you can install virtually any program being offered. You can, of course, also install software which comes in a .deb archive and is compatible with the ARM processor. The build comes with Firefox, Evolution, GIMP and OpenOffice.org. Below, you see the loading / reaction times of several programs / actions and some pictures:

Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala, GNOME 2.28.1 loading of the entire system 86 seconds
Mozilla Firefox 3.5.3 web browser 10 seconds (without loading a page)
Mozilla Fennec leight-weight web browser 8 seconds (without loading a page)
Midori 0.1.9 leight-weight web browser 7 seconds (without loading a page)
GIMP image editor 26 seconds
Scribus 1.3.3.13svn desktop publishing 20 seconds
Evolution 2.28.1 personal information manager 15 seconds
AbiWord 2.6.8 word processor 7 seconds
OpenOffice.org Writer 3.1 word processor 36 seconds
Audacity 1.3.9 sound editor 9 seconds
Ubuntu Software Center software directory 12 seconds
Switching from portrait to landscape mode and vice versa (graphical user interface must be reloaded) 40 seconds

Ubuntu on a HTC HD2 with dynamic CPU clock rate and a Class 2 16 GB Micro SD card

IMG 0001 150x150 Ubuntu on the HTC HD2 IMG 9999 150x150 Ubuntu on the HTC HD2 IMG 9998 150x150 Ubuntu on the HTC HD2 IMG 9997 150x150 Ubuntu on the HTC HD2 IMG 0003 150x150 Ubuntu on the HTC HD2 IMG 0002 150x150 Ubuntu on the HTC HD2

The speed of Ubuntu can be compared with an eight year old laptop. The further development might bring some speed increase due to better hardware support, but also by disabling unimportant services or choosing other software. Beside Ubuntu, a look at a leight-weight operating system, for example Xubuntu, might also be worth it.

But you should not expect wonders. Another big problem is the usability: Ubuntu was designed to be handled by a mouse. A smartphone with a resistive touchscreen and a stylus would also be possible. But as capacitive displays can only be handled by a finger, it is extremly difficult to hit small icons, menus  or keys on the onscreen keyboard.

Nevertheless, I am already looking forward to test the next HD2 Ubuntu build, which is going to be based on Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat).

Puzzle games were among the first genres to hit mobile devices – games like Astraware’s infamous Bejeweled have become bestsellers. Gross Games SpinBalls wants to combine puzzle and action…but can it impress?

SpinBalls is played on a grid made up of balls – these balls must be rotated to create groups of at least three adjacent balls. These can then be removed by pressing the button at the bottom of the screen, refilling the timer in the process:
0 SpinBalls   the review

The four large bubbles on the sides can be charged by destroying groups of balls close to them – when enough balls have been loaded, the charge becomes available.

Charges have extremely interesting features. One of them stops the timer, the other doubles the score:
1 SpinBalls   the review

The two other charges clean up the playing field.

This review looked at SpinBalls on a Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 running its stock distribution of Windows Mobile 6.1. The game needs KB of memory and can be installed onto an external memory card.

In the end, it is difficult not to like this game – addicting to the extreme. Definitely get the free trial to see if you like the concept – the price of 6 USD is more than ok…

Creating PowerPoint presentations on the go never was easy: most mobile office suites just display PowerPoint – in the best case, they allow you to make minor changes to the text. Presentations wants to be different…but can it stack up?

You see the difference the moment you start the program – rulers and other tools which can (and should) be hidden to save screen real estate:
softmaker presentations 0 SoftMaker Presentations 2008 for Windows Mobile   the review

The toggle at the bottom left opens the huge menu:
softmaker presentations 1 SoftMaker Presentations 2008 for Windows Mobile   the review

Trying to add a new slide reveals the first glimpse of the product’s insane functionality. No other mobile office suite supports so many formats:
softmaker presentations 2 SoftMaker Presentations 2008 for Windows Mobile   the review

Various slide backgrounds can be deployed – the image below shows the built-in blue color scheme on a slide containing a table:
softmaker presentations 3 SoftMaker Presentations 2008 for Windows Mobile   the review

PowerPoint transitions are unpopular – but they can still be managed using SoftMaker’s presentation editor:
softmaker presentations 4 SoftMaker Presentations 2008 for Windows Mobile   the review

Reviewers will be happy that comments can be added and edited on the go:
softmaker presentations 5 SoftMaker Presentations 2008 for Windows Mobile   the review

The product’s ability to leave multiple presentations open at any given time also deserves a honourable mention:
softmaker presentations 6 SoftMaker Presentations 2008 for Windows Mobile   the review

And don’t get me started on print and PDF export options:
softmaker presentations 7 SoftMaker Presentations 2008 for Windows Mobile   the review softmaker presentations 7a SoftMaker Presentations 2008 for Windows Mobile   the review

This review looked at version of Presentations on an XPERIA X1 running its stock distribution of Windows Mobile 6.1. The program needs about 7000KB of memory and can be installed onto an external memory card. Stability-wise, it was ok except for a few graphical distortions and crashes when opening large files.

In the end, it is impossible not to like Softmaker Presentations. I will soon hold two presentations I mostly prepared on my XPERIA during a boring event – the product offers much more than its competitors in this aspect. Two hours saved is all to say..

Weaknesses like the inability to handle very large slide decks (30MB), and the sometimes confusing user interface are easy to forgive – if you want to do some heavy-duty PowerPoint slide editing, definitely invest the price.

P.S. Get the full Office Suite supporting Word, Excel and PowerPoint from our TamsShop. A discount code will be made available in a few days from now…

We’ve covered Aiko Solution’s SecuWipe in the past – the company has just released a significant free update. In particular, version 1.1 adds the ability to trigger wipes.

Wipe settings are configured via the Wipe Scheduler:
Screen040 SecuWipe now with remote triggering

Then, play around with the Occurance option:
Screen041 SecuWipe now with remote triggering

Various useful triggers are available in addition to the traditional SMS:
Screen042 SecuWipe now with remote triggering

For example, why not wipe your phone when an unknown SIM is inserted?
Screen043 SecuWipe now with remote triggering

Unfortunately, the old weakness of the Aiko bunch remains. The user interface is extremely confusing, and the product doesn’t integrate into WM well. Give it a popup dialog, and you have to start again from the home screen – a nuissance!

User interface left aside: these new features add significant value to an already useful program. If you feel like one of the abovementioned features, use the discount code CHEAPERAIKO in the TamsShop

Use the discount code VISKEEPER to get 20% off the product’s list price in the TamsShop!
Password managers are dime-a-dozen – good password managers are rare now that Resco has discontinued its IDGuard product. Can VisKeeper stack up?

Starting VisKeeper for the first time presents you with a pretty thorough “introduction”. It is shown as a series of notes stored in the program – not at all a bad idea.
0 VisKeeper   the review

VisKeeper generally adheres to the “template-and-object” design. According to SFR, they had it first – but it was made really popular by SPB Wallet. It defines that you first create a template specifying the fields needed:
1 VisKeeper   the review

And then fill in the fields in order to create an entry.
2a VisKeeper   the review 2b VisKeeper   the review

Entries can be arranged into folders, and text notes can be stored everywhere:
3 VisKeeper   the review

A very basic search tool is also included:
4 VisKeeper   the review

One of the most impressive features of VisKeeper it its ‘image password’ – a tap sequence on an image of choice can be used in Vislieu of a password:
5 VisKeeper   the review

Unfortunately, you must activate the password manager manually. If it is not “armed”, everybody can access your stored password by following the tutorial sequence.

Another thing which made me angry is that the program forces you to use the UI in the language set up in the Prefs. As I use an Austrian locale, this means that I am stuck with German – other programs allow you to choose the language in a more flexible fashion.

This review looked at VisKeeper version 3.2.2 on an XPERIA X1 running its stock distribution of Windows Mobile 6.1. The program needs 1228KB of memory and can be installed onto an external memory card.

In the end, VisKeeper is an extremely useful password manager once you wrap your head around some of its peculiarities. Being forced to activate the password manually is stupid – other than that, there’s little not to like. The price of 10$ for the stand-alone and 20$ for the PC-enabled versions is humane.

SPB Pocket Plus is a feature-rich today plugin that allows you to basically control your whole system from the today screen. It is skinnable and fully customizable.

If you choose to install via Activesync(a CAB installer is available on SPB’s website as well), you are given the option to choose what elements of the program to install. The choices are; Today Plugin, Button Mapper enhancement, File Explorer enhancement, Internet Explorer enhancement, Enhanced save/open dialog, safe mode, smart scrolling, and Switch Programs(Alt + Tab). For the purpose of this review, I only installed the Today plugin which was 1.83 MB, but if you chose to install other componentshere it would be a larger installation. Only 2.49 MB for all features though, so this app leaves a relatively small footprint compared to a lot of similar apps out there. Also, after choosing which bits you want to install, it will ask if you want to install the trial or the registered version. If you purchase the program and have a key, here is where you would enter it after selecting “Install registered version” and clicking Next. After that, you will see a screen asking if you’d like to try a 15-day trial of SPB Diary & SPB weather. If you choose to install these as well, the installer then proceeds to download them at that point.

On to the plugin! On your today screen SPB Pocket Plus gives you 5 main tabs upon first installation.

Home tab- Battery meter, brightness meter, file explorer, Word, Excel, Notes, and Powerpoint.
HomeTab SPB Pocket Plus   the review

Media tab- WMP, Pics & Videos, Bubblebreaker, Solitaire, Screen-off button, Mute button, and a Sound settings button.
MediaTab SPB Pocket Plus   the review

Internet tab- Text messages, Internet Explorer, Windows Live Messenger, and 3 smaller icons for Internet Sharing, Activesync, and Remote Desktop.
InternetTab SPB Pocket Plus   the review

Programs tab- About 100 tiny icons for EVERY program that is on your device.
ProgramsTab SPB Pocket Plus   the review

Tools/settings tab- Buttons for soft resetting, changing themes, screen-rotation, clock/alarm settings, and 5 smaller buttons- Remove programs, Screen settings, Today settings, Button settings, and regional settings.
SettingsTab SPB Pocket Plus   the review

Buttons & links can be removed or added to your preferences. Same thing with tabs, you can delete the default tabs or add your own custom tabs. You can set it to auto-arrange items so you don’t have to rearrange them yourself after customizing, and you can add any link to any screen, whether it be a program, file, folder, or even a contact. The program launcher tab was my favorite, you can launch any program on your device from those tiny little icons. I also thought the screen brightness slider was a nifty little widget, and it worked quite well. There are a bunch of different skins available from SPB’s website as well. The come in EXE form so you will need to install via Activesync.

Performance- SPB PP was amazingly fast. I usually use HTC Sense, AKA Touchflo 3D, so I’m used to a bit of a lag, but this plugin was extremely snappy. Screen taps were immediately registered, and programs & settings launched almost instantaneously. I noticed zero lags, even with my phone underclocked to 384 MHZ.

There is really not much more to say about this program, it’s pretty straightforward & incredibly simple to use and customize. To customize or change skins, all you do is tap & hold, and follow the dialogs. I found this program to be thorough but not overwhelming, and the skins are a nice touch. I didn’t notice any bugs during use. It’s a very solid program, and I highly recommend it.

Use the discount code WERNINGSCODE to get 20% off the somewhat steep list price of 30$ in the TamsShop!

Here is the second part of Kristin Werning’s review of Resco Contact Manager. Those of you who missed the first part can find it here
RCM features a dialer skin that replaces the default dialer. It has large buttons and displays your last dialed calls, much like the default dialer. There is an SMS button next to the number buttons, which when pressed allows you to instantly compose an SMS to the highlighted phone number.
Threaded Text Resco Contact Manager v2 review, 2/2

You can also save numbers in your call history to your contacts. There is also an option to have RCM replace the standard caller ID with a custom full screen caller ID with slide-to-answer. This feature can be disabled in the settings menu, but if you want full screen caller ID, here you go.

RCM replaces the standard Outlook text messaging app with a much smoother, more intuitive interface. Anyone Windows Mobile user who texts a lot has most likely grown frustrated with Outlook at some point, so it’s really nice to have RCM ‘fix’ text messaging. Usage is much the same as Outlook, but faster, smarter, & easier on the eyes.
SMS Inbox Resco Contact Manager v2 review, 2/2

You can view messaging statistics, place calls, and export your messages in CSV or XML format. Very neat. I can think of at least 3 times in the past where I could have really used this function so it’s a wonderful feature to have. Texts can be displayed either individually or threaded.

This review looked at the 2nd edition of Resco Contact Manager, on a Touch Pro 2 running MightyRom. It takes approximately 3mb of memory. It will not run from a storage card, as far as I know. I attempted to install it to my card, but got a message urging me to install to main memory.

I’m sure I’m probably missing some things, but that should show you just how many features this program really has! It is easily the most powerful & complete contact manager available, in this reviewers opinion. One more neat feature- it’s skinnable. Though I was not able to find any skins online, there is a black one provided with the program, and I believe I read somewhere that there will eventually be a skin editor. I did not encounter any lockups or crashes while using this program, you can tell Resco spent a lot of time polishing it to perfection. The only minor glitch i did notice was that sometimes the bluetooth/wifi controls on the today plugin did not always work right. I had to manually go into the bluetooth settings to change my visibility one time, and another time my wifi remained on after I set it to off via the plugin.

I am a touch cookie to impress when it comes to Windows Mobile apps. I have high standards & very little tolerance for glitches or shoddy programs, and I am really impressed with this Resco Contact Manager. You do not have to be a businessman to find it useful either, it’s good for both business users and casual users who just want a more intuitive interface. I highly recommend it.

Resco Contact Manager(hereafter abbreviated to RCM) is a very robust, thorough program, so this will be a relatively thorough review. It has so many features it is almost overwhelming at first, but once you spend a little time playing around with it, you learn how it works rather quickly. Everything is pretty self-explanatory, and there are no confusing or hidden menus or useless options you will never use.

RCM replaces the default Windows Mobile contacts app, AKA Outlook. It replaces it with a visually pleasing, finger-friendly interface that scrolls like butter with a mere flick of the finger. When you open the contacts, you have buttons at the bottom of the screen for favorites, contacts, history, SMS, and keypad.
Contacts Resco Contact Manager v2 review, 1/2

Tap & hold on a contact and you get a nice little popup with options to Call the person, send them an SMS, send the contact via bluetooth, SMS, MMS vCard, or email, edit the contact, delete it, or link the contact to your Facebook account.
Tap & Hold Resco Contact Manager v2 review, 1/2

If you choose to link it to your Facebook account, it takes you to a login screen where you enter your email & password, and there is an option to remember your password which I found pretty neat.
Link Fbook Resco Contact Manager v2 review, 1/2 Fbook login Resco Contact Manager v2 review, 1/2

Unfortunately, I rarely use Facebook and have long since forgotten my password, so I was not able to test the performance of the facebook integration. I would prefer Myspace integration as well, hopefully that will be added in future releases .You can completely manage your contacts with this program- add & edit contacts, add/delete photos, even take new contact pistures on the fly & add them instantly. In a nutshell- LOTS of options!

RCM features a today plugin that has all sorts of functions. It is actually my favorite feature of the whole program. It displays the time, your alarms, contacts(faves, SMS, call history, and Email), connectivity(Bluetooth, WiFi, cellular radio), sound profiles, and a lock button which initiates the default phone lock. It has a transparent background, which is nice if you use custom wallpapers on your today screen like I do.
Today plugin Resco Contact Manager v2 review, 1/2

When you switch to landscape the plugin reorients itself instantly, no lagging that I noticed. The sound profile option is really cool, you can completely control your sounds from the today screen. It even allows you to select your ringtone on the custom profile tab. My favorite thing about the today plugin- the buttons are customizable. Tap & hold and you get a popup menu that allows you to delete and add shortcuts. It allows you to add individual contacts, connectivity icons, the keylock button, applications, or documents. You can have up to five rows of stuff in this plugin. Very cool! I use HTC Home as a program launcher normally & this is able to completely replace it. Note- this plugin will not display if you are using TouchFlo 3D.

Tune in soon for Part 2!

RNS::’s HiLauncher for Palm OS can be considered the staple food of Palmary launcherness – it remains the most commonly used “start menu” for the operating system. Microsoft’s decision to abandon the classic start menu on WM 6.5 motivated RNS:: to port…can HiLauncher stack up in the new environment?

After setting up HiLauncher, the product immediately displays a “basic configuration wizard”. It allows you to configure the most essential things immediately:
rns hilauncher 0a HiLauncher for Windows Mobile   the review

Once this is done, the program takes over the start menu immediately. Customization happens via a control panel which is displayed in the Programs view:
rns hilauncher 1a HiLauncher for Windows Mobile   the review rns hilauncher 1b HiLauncher for Windows Mobile   the review

Unlike the traditional start menu, HiLauncher supports a variety of special items. Things like status indicators and toggles are a non-issue:
rns hilauncher 2a HiLauncher for Windows Mobile   the review

As are multi-level folder hierarchies:
rns hilauncher 3a HiLauncher for Windows Mobile   the review

Customization can be done in an extremely flexible fashion – the shots below show a few of the available font settings:
rns hilauncher 4a HiLauncher for Windows Mobile   the review rns hilauncher 4b HiLauncher for Windows Mobile   the review

Unfortunately, replacing a core system component never is easy. For example, the default programs view still omits all programs on the start menu – if they aren’t on the RNS menu, you can’t access them anymore.

This review looked at version 1.0.1 of HiLauncher on an XPERIA X1 running its stock distribution of Windows Mobile 6.1. As the program needs but 500k of memory, it should definitely go into RAM to reduce latencies.

In the end, RNS’s HiLauncher is a must-have for all who dislike the WM 6.5 start menu. All others have to evaluate the benefits against the somewhat high cost (15$ without rebate) and the speed penalty of replacing a core Windows component – I personally feel that the added possibilities are worth the minimal extra delay…

Recently, a ROM dump of the XPERIA X2 was leaked to xda-developers. As the hardware of the box is essentially unchanged from the X1, hackers were quick to try backporting stuff…and were largely successful. Sony Ericsson’s TileWave panel is hailed as one of the key features of the new device – but can it be ran on an X1?

An insider source recently provided me with a cab file called “SE Tilwave Panel.cab”, which installed onto my device without any issues. No further CABs were provided. However, getting it up and running is not as easy.

The first step involves opening the panel list, and going into “panel management mode”:
xperia tilewave panel (1) XPERIA X2 TileWave panel on XPERIA X1

Then, click an empty space and assign the TileWave panel to it:
xperia tilewave panel (2) XPERIA X2 TileWave panel on XPERIA X1

When this is done, activate the panel. It will take a few seconds to load:
xperia tilewave panel (3) XPERIA X2 TileWave panel on XPERIA X1

Unfortunately, the panel is not particularly useful. Here are a few shots of its limited offerings:
xperia tilewave panel (4) XPERIA X2 TileWave panel on XPERIA X1 xperia tilewave panel (5) XPERIA X2 TileWave panel on XPERIA X1 xperia tilewave panel XPERIA X2 TileWave panel on XPERIA X1

Getting rid of it is difficult, as the XPERIA panel manager of the R3A ROM is blocked while the panel is running. The only way to switch to a different panel is switching the device on and off again. This must also be done prior to uninstallation.

In the end, I struggle to see much value in the panel. Yes, it works – but I have since booted it off my handset and have returned to the default today screen.

Microsoft’s Windows Mobile has traditionally been an enterprise user’s darling – features like its domain integration made the product extremely easy to manage. However, not all is good: the IMAP client is not exactly useful. Can FlexMail stack up?

WebIS’s flagship product is centered across two views – one of the two is the folder list. It shows all ‘accounts’ on the handset:
flexmail 0a FlexMail 4.1 review   where Windows Mobile IMAP is fun

Clicking on a folder lets you look at the emails. A Outlook-style preview panel is available for easy viewing:
flexmail 1a FlexMail 4.1 review   where Windows Mobile IMAP is fun

When opening an email, the sender data is not shown immediately – you have to scroll up for the full scoop:
flexmail 2a FlexMail 4.1 review   where Windows Mobile IMAP is fun

FlexMail might not be too flexible when it comes to formatting outgoing email. However, it allows for a variety of quoting styles and can even manage and request (!!!) read receipts:
flexmail 3a FlexMail 4.1 review   where Windows Mobile IMAP is fun

Background downloading of emails is a non-issue. The program presents itself pretty chatty and makes extensive use of notifications:
flexmail 4a FlexMail 4.1 review   where Windows Mobile IMAP is fun flexmail 4b FlexMail 4.1 review   where Windows Mobile IMAP is fun

Power users will be delighted to hear about the multi-window capabilities of the program. They allow you to edit one email and look at another one ‘at the same time’.

Version 4.1 added threaded SMS support:
flexmail 5a FlexMail 4.1 review   where Windows Mobile IMAP is fun

While this is not bad on its own, it blocks access to the default SMS/MMS tool via the start menu:
flexmail 6a FlexMail 4.1 review   where Windows Mobile IMAP is fun

For future versions, webIS must definitely overhaul the contact management – if I enter an email address once, I want it cached…even if it isn’t in the address book. Furthermore, the program still crashes from time to time (approx 1 in 1000 emails, device restart required) – this is unavoidable for a HTML renderer, but should be minimized.

This review looked at version 4.10 of FlexMail on an XPERIA X1 running its stock version of Windows Mobile. Memory usage starts out at 5MB, and then depends on the number and size of emails downloaded. Running FlexMail from a memory card is possible, even though RAM installs tend to deliver more speed.

In the end, my delay at writing this review can and should be the best possible endorsement for the program. It has managed my email without one outage for the last year – if you own an IMAP server, throw the 10$ on the table NOW. You would be stupid not to…

Use the discount code DONTGETWET to get 20% off HandyWeather in the TamsShop!
Displaying weather information was one of the oldest usage scenarios for smartphones. Since the humble beginnings, these programs have evolved significantly…some even go as far as to offer animated 3D globes.

All of this is nice and dandy when you are in a club – but when it comes to a panel for the today screen, lean is king. Can HandyWeather stack up?

Starting HandyWeather for the first time pushes you through an introduction wizard, which helps you set up the basics:
handyweather 0a HandyWeather   the review handyweather 0b HandyWeather   the review handyweather 0c HandyWeather   the review

Picking a city works well, but is slow due to the annoying animations:
handyweather 1a HandyWeather   the review

Once the wizard is gone, you find yourself confronted with the following screen:
handyweather 2a HandyWeather   the review

Tapping around on icons and the menu then lets you access a variety of other options including a detailed 24h “weather radar view”:
handyweather 3a HandyWeather   the review handyweather 3b HandyWeather   the review handyweather 3c HandyWeather   the review

The real reason most users install a program like HandyWeather is its today plug-in. HandyWeather’s plugin is lean, and can be customized comfortably to take up comparatively little space:
handyweather 4a HandyWeather   the review handyweather 4b HandyWeather   the review

As for customization, the product generally goes a long way – you can modify everything except for the highly annoying animated transitions:
handyweather 5a HandyWeather   the review handyweather 5b HandyWeather   the review

Unfortunately, Paragon had to add an extra craplet to the launcher:
nuissance HandyWeather   the review

This review looked at version 4.00 of HandyWeather on an XPERIA X1 running its stock version of Windows Mobile 6.1. The program needs about 3800KB of memory and can be installed into RAM or onto an external memory card.

Turn it around and around, but HandyWeather always remains about 2MB less fat than its competitors. Of course, it also is less flashy – but is very close to an ideal no-frills weather software. If Paragon would allow users to disable the flashy animations, eliminate the annoying icon and would clear up the GUI a bit, we had a clear winner here. As it stands now, the price of 17$ is insane…

Use the discount code CHEAPSPBTV to get 20% off the program’s retail price in the TamsShop!

3G connections, faster CPUs and falling data have opened doors for various applications which used to be impossible in the past. Mobile TV is one of these areas: what once required clumsy reception gadgetry, is now offered for free by many carriers.

Unfortunately, carrier TV solutions are usually limited to a few “broad appeal” channels, and omit high-quality news and finance channels. SPB TV wants to fill the void – but can it stack up?

The home screen of the program contains a scrollable list of channels along with a preview of the currently-running program:
spb tv frontpage SPB TV   the review

Some programs stream a TV program, which is displayed by SPB TV:
spb tv program SPB TV   the review

Reminders can be created easily – and are actually written into your device’s calendar discreetly:
spb tv reminder SPB TV   the review

Channels stream in very high quality, but can neither be recorded nor be kept playing while in the background. In fact, even screenshots turn out all black:
spb tv screenshot SPB TV   the review

SPB TV allows you to hide channels which you do not want:
spb tv channels SPB TV   the review

As already said before, SPB TV offers many channels which are not offered by any carrier solution. I am currently pursuing a list of channels, and will post it here as soon as I can get it from the company.

This review looked at version 1.0.0 b461 of SPB TV on an XPERIA X1 running its stock distribution of Windows Mobile 6.1. Three-G coverage was provided by Hutchison Austria. BTW: SPB TV needs 4850KB of RAM and can be installed onto an external memory card.

People who are happy with the channels offered by their carrier won’t need SPB TV. Everybody else should rush and pay the 15 dollars – the money is well invested if you need one of the TV channels on the go (think N-TV or BloomBerg) and are on an unlimited data plan…

If your Windows Mobile-phone is web-enabled, then this program is a must-have. Depending on your mobile-phone carrier and contract, browsing can be very expensive – all the more if you have no idea, how many data has been transferred.
An example: with my phone carrier, 1 MB costs 0,24€. Now if you’re a Youtube enthusiast and watch ~10 videos (one around 10 MB) in a week, you would have to pay 24€ only for internet!
Spb Wireless Monitor helps to keep your expenses low by counting the internet traffic and notifying when you reached a previous set limit. Let’s take a closer look:

 Spb Wireless Monitor   Review

After starting up the program, you will see this screen with the most important functions. Open up the first function and you will see statistics about the internet usage. The program differentiates between the different types of internet connections: USB, WiFi, the data plan of your mobile carrier or other connections available. After choosing the type of connection, Spb Wireless Monitor displays which program used how much web traffic over this particular connection. These statistics can be displayed as a detailed list or as a diagram – a very clear way to present them.

pc capture2 225x300 Spb Wireless Monitor   Review pc capture3 225x300 Spb Wireless Monitor   Review

In addition, you can limit the time range of the data which should be displayed, for example the program can display only the transferred data volume of the last month. This is very useful, if you’ve a one-month volume flat. If you’ve previously entered the rate, Spb Wireless Monitor even shows how much you had to pay for your web trip.
Another nice feature are the notifications. The user can create as many notifications as he wishes. Spb Wireless Monitor can notify the user, if a determined volume or a determined cost-limit was reached. An example for a possible notification:

Notify me, if the daily volume exceeds 20 MB over the connection 3G Internet

 Spb Wireless Monitor   Review

If this notification is active, the program displays a pop up message, if you used your mobile 3G internet connection and downloaded 20 MB of data, or watched some videos on Youtube which were 20 MB big in total, or if you just browsed web pages…

For those who like to have an overview over their expenses on the desktop computer, the export function might be a handy feature. The user can chose the connection, and the time range of the data which should be exported, then with a tap on the ‘Export’-button, the chosen data will be saved to a file. Supported output file formats are HTML and comma seperated values (CSV).

pc capture6 225x300 Spb Wireless Monitor   Review

The last option in the main menu calls up the configuration dialog of the Spb Wireless Monitor today screen plugin. By default, data of all available connections are shown on the today screen. In this configuration dialog, the different connections can be hidden or shown.

Conclusion

If you use your phone for mobile surfing, you should use this program – only then you have a clean and precise overview over your expenses and which program caused them.

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