Ok, I know I just raved about my new phone like every other MS employee. No, they are not just dropping them off at everyones door.  Yes, they do give us a pretty good discount on them. I spent a lot of time over the last few days trying to learn everything I could about it and have been wanting to write this post to share the things I've found with others and have as a personal reference for myself.  And I haven't even started writing any software for it. 

  1. Backing it up: Before I really started playing around I wanted to back up the functioning phone I had already setup to synch with my mail. A bunch of people raved about it, so I purchased Sprite Backup for Smartphone and it worked as expected.  Now I'm safe to play around a bit more.
  2. Task Switching: I found it a bit disturbing that most of the default applications don't have a shortcut or menu item for "close" or "exit".  Even the manual says something like "if your phone starts slowing down please open the task manager application and shut down some applications". That just seems wrong.  The default task manager also seemed cumbersome for switching applications.  One of the top Smartphone downloads is a application called "Xbar" so I paid a few bucks for that.  Now I have a clock on the Icon Bar, easily switch to and close applications, and even see the temperature on the back of the phone!
  3. On Gaming: I've been able to run several smartphone games, SNES , NES, Atari, Sega, and Gameboy emulators.  They all look great. It's unfortunate that there isn't a great input mechanism of the phone for gaming that lives up to the performance of the screen.  Forget any sort of action game or something that requires simultaneous button pushes. I'm still trying to find the best version of Tetris, but so far Worms is my favorite. The graphics are great, the controls are simple enough for the phone, and it's just fun to blow up other worms with a sheep bomb. I'll take any other recommendations.
  4. Activesynch Remote Display is cool for entering in a lot of text and even better if you learn the additional shortcuts.
  5. Media: My phone came with photo contacts/callerID software. Music and small video files seem to play great, but I'm really waiting for my 512 miniSD card to try out something like this and get podcasts/video right onto my phone. I'm really looking forward to getting all the video highlights from MLB games next season on my phone.
  6. Writing custom home screens. This is the best information I could find.  I just wonder if something is updated for the Smartphone 2003 OS since this doc was for the 2002 release.
    1. Personally I just wanted to make some tweaks to the default screen. I'm not done, but see below for what I have so far. You can Download my XML.
  7. Home_Restore: If you want to play around with some of the complete themes for your smartphone you are going to want to read this post and download the home_restore cab. It will change your extra screens back to the default.  
  8. Community: There are some really great smartphone user communities out there. I would recommend coolsmartphone, airfagev, smartgamer, and especially the modaco forums.
  9. The battery: I learned that having it sync all my mail every 15 minutes drains the battery pretty quickly. I've changed this to 60 minutes during peak times (I have unlimited data) and only every 4 hours in off peak time. Since I make this change the battery doesn't seem to drain as fast and I can always manually start a synch.

Of course I'm still looking for a bunch of stuff.

  • A good RSS reader with autosync options and homescreen integration.
  • More games that work well with the input available.
  • A good weather plugin for the home screen.
  • Web pages designed for a higher end mobile device. My problem with most of the default links on the device is that the sites were clearly written for a phone that couldn't show pictures or download a lot of date. For example: I keep having to click "More" on the mobile ESPN links. Why not just download the whole story?  Some "full" web pages work well, but not any complicated ones.
  • Anything else you guys think is cool????