In my last blog post, I wrote about my intention to stick with the Windows Mobile 6.5 platform on my HTC HD2 mobile phone for a while yet. Yes, I know the end is nigh and WinMo 6.5 is a dead O/S – but if there isn’t a compelling reason to move to another platform yet, why change for the sake of change?
It appears I’m not alone, as I received more than a few Tweets and messages from other Windows Mobile 6.5 users who are doing the same and not upgrading until they feel compelled to do so.
With that in mind, I thought I’d share a few apps for WinMo 6.5 that I’ve stumbled upon in the past few months and which have made my day-to-day Windows Mobile 6.5 experience even better.
For accessing the Social Networking site Twitter, HTC’s in-built “Peep” application for the HD2 is fine. But I’ve noticed it slows down the ‘phone when running scheduled updates from Twitter, and is none too rich in the features department. Panoramic Soft’s moTweets is a vastly superior Twitter interface. There is a free version, supported by advertisements, and an Ad-Free version which is only a few pounds in cost.
Featuring an efficient interface that is easy to use and customise, moTweets supports multiple Twitter accounts, support for URL shorteners (such as Bit.ly and TinyURL), uploading media such as pictures and videos, geo-tagging Tweets with GPS co-ordinates, and providing easily searchable Twitter topics, users and lists.
I love the way that moTweets touch-screen interface allows you to access all the relevant info within a Tweet (Users, URL links, Hashtags, etc) simply and easily.
I couldn’t live without moTweets now – and if you’re a WinMo 6.5 Twitter user who is not using it, I’d urge you to try it out!
The HTC HD2 comes with both Internet Explorer mobile and the Opera 9 web-browsers as standard. Both are fine browsers, but for the best browser experience on WinMo 6.5, why not download and install the feature rich and free Opera Mobile 10 browser?
Featuring a much slicker and faster interface than IE or Opera 9, with a “Speed-Dial” home page, I’ve found Opera 10 simply a great browser to use. With multiple (and easily navigable) tabs for web-browsing, and a feature to compress downloads (useful if browsing whilst outside your standard data tariff, say, whilst roaming abroad) it feels clean and snappy in use.
It also has a feature to synchronise settings (including open pages, speed-dials and search engines) between Opera on different phones and on your Desktop PC.
There are a lot of other features worth investigating too – but suffice to say, once you download and start using it, you’ll not look back.
A bit of a cheat here – as I suggest two apps with a common theme.
The first – Sprite Terminator – I’ve been using on my Windows Mobile devices for many years. Costing just a few dollars, very simple to setup, and unobtrusive whilst running, Terminator runs in the background on your WinMo 6.5 device and stays quiet until you need it.
If you lose your ‘phone, or worse, it gets stolen – Sprite Terminator comes into its own. From any paired ‘phone (you can either set Sprite Terminator to accept SMS from any phone, or specific pre-paired and trusted phone numbers) you can send your ‘phone a specially worded SMS message containing a specified password and a command, and without the ‘phone acknowledging it has received an SMS (you’ll hear no beep and it won’t show on-screen) you will receive an SMS message back with a URL link to Google Maps with the latest GPS location of the ‘phone, a list of recent calls the ‘phone has made, or you can remotely lock or even wipe the ‘phone via SMS. Very powerful indeed!
In the same vein, but with a slightly more friendly web-interface for owners and a richer feature list, Lookout Mobile Security provides a free version that installs on your WinMo 6.5 device and then runs quietly in the background. Providing protection from Viruses, Malware and dodgy app, Lookout Mobile Security also provides a backup feature – regularly backing up the contents (Call List, Pictures, Videos, SMS – just about everything) of your ‘phone to a secure web-storage facility.
Just like Sprite Terminator, if you lose your ‘phone then via the Lookout Web site you can send a request to locate it via the ‘phones GPS function. Once you’ve found the device, there are two very cool features.
The first is Remote Wipe – effectively nuking your device to protect the valuable and confidential stored data. Some users of Microsoft Exchange will already be familiar with this feature.
The second is SCREAM! If you suspect your ‘phone has been stolen, you can send a remote command that once received by your ‘phone, causes it to emit a full volume high pitched screaming sound that will un-nerve the thief and cause more than a few stares.
Personally, I run both Sprite Terminator and Lookout Mobile Security on my HTC HD2. I’ve noticed no performance reduction in doing so, and they give me peace of mind should I ever lose or have my HD2 stolen.
File Explorer Extension does what it says on the tin and extends the File Explorer included with Windows Mobile 6.5 to includes some very cool features that you’re left scratching your head as to why they weren’t included in the O/S originally.
For instance, it allows you to open files with a specific application – great for occasions when you want to study a .HTML files code within Notepad, for instance.
There is a picture preview function, you can view the properties of a file, there is an improved explorer interface, the ability to easily copy and move files between folders – basically, all the things you’re used to doing on a Desktop PC, but are inexplicably missing from Windows Mobile’s native file explorer.
A no-brainer install – go do it!
Have you ever wanted to filter unwanted telephone calls or SMS to your mobile phone from certain people or organisations? If you ‘phone your network provider, they may tell you it’s impossible, or that they can do it for a certain ridiculous fee. MagiCall from Mobiion allows you to create a smart rule-based filter to block unwanted callers and SMS.
It’s hardly the most intuitive of interfaces, but it is very powerful! You can setup filters by specific telephone number or contact, performing a number of actions if this specified number calls or sends you an SMS.
For instance you could program the number of a nuisance caller, and anytime that person rings you – your ‘phone answers and then drops the call, all without being displayed on the screen of your ‘phone. Or you could give the caller a busy signal, or send them straight to voicemail without your device ringing.
For SMS, you could mark the SMS and read and move it to a different folder. Or delete it. Or reply back with pre-defined text. Basically, a number of different ways to deal with calls and SMS, from both wanted and unwanted callers.
As well as specified numbers, you can use it to block “Number Withheld” or “No Number” for those irritating overseas call centres calls.
There is a logging feature so you can check activity later if you choose, or in the case of malicious calls or SMS, just make them “go away”.
There is a 10-day trial of MagiCall and it costs $24.95 to buy. The first time it saves you being bothered by an unwanted call, it’s money well spent!
So there you have it – five (ok, six…) apps that I use on my Windows Mobile 6.5 device and which I think are very cool!
As a final note, and if you’re a HTC HD2 owner like myself, I have to point out the XDA Developers Forum which has a number of sub-forums with amazing advice and guidance for HD2 owners. I’d particularly draw your attention to the “Boost Performance Tips” thread, which contains a load of really effective tweaks for WinMo 6.5 such as increasing the number of tabs the Opera web-browser allows, enabling the HD2 to turn on Bluetooth automatically when connected to a car charger, and many others. Check it out!