After too long with a single-ringer, no-frills, colorless, call-and-text-only Motorola cell phone, this blogger has upgraded to a touch-screen, Windows Mobile, wi-fi capable, hand-held nugget of a computer.
Enter the HTC Touch, also branded Dopod S1.
I picked this phone up yesterday from the mobile phone market in the "Super Bar Street" (星吧路) complex at N?ren Jie (Women Street) in Beijing. I'll have to give a tour of the market later on, but the key here is to come with a friend who knows one of the stalls. In my case, one member of a couple who have bought several phones from one stall came along to introduce me and help negotiate a fair price (though I still had sticker shock, being one of those "Which phone is free with the plan?" consumers).
Just the other day, Rick Martin at CNET Asia's Little Red Blog had some fun with the "the Dopod 'Don't call me iPhone' S1," and while it seems this phone was in development at the same time as Apple's masterpiece, I can't blame him for initially thinking this was a clone.
The Touch-FLO interface, which hides some of Windows Mobile 6 Pro's uglier sides, is based on touch (with your finger--you use the stylus for other things) and uses gestures to bring up menus and perform other tasks. Check out this video that Rick posted:
I find the main complaint from reviewers, that the on-screen keyboard is too small, has been relatively easy to overcome over the last 24 hours. I'm already texting at a much faster rate than before, but then again, I had no predictive text for the last few months and anything would be faster than that.
The folks I bought the phone from installed the English OS on my phone, which means that I'm now in the process of installing Chinese language support. After that comes an install of Pleco, the truly brilliant Chinese-English dictionary for Windows Mobile and Palm OS that motivates otherwise frugal language students to sport smart phones and PDAs. More on all this later. For now, I'm happy that I don't have to carry my laptop all the time anymore.
UPDATE: Here's an interesting post from CNET Asia's Geekonomics blog on the Taiwanese ownership of HTC and Dopod.