27 January 2010

Getting a "sense" of the Toshiba TG01

As you may have gathered, my phone was upgraded, and I am now in posession of a Toshiba TG01. The shocking thing is that this phone is, for whatever reason, not very popular on Orange, and they are in the process of getting rid of them. I was amazed that they gave it to me entirely for free (on a contract, albeit a low one); we are talking about a Windows Mobile 6.5 smart phone with a 4.1" WVGA screen and a Snapdragon processor humming along at 1GHz encased in one of the most gorgeous and thinnest shells I have ever seen. Bargain!

Naturally, hardware alone does not a good phone make, and software also plays a very big role. I did try using Toshiba's own stripe interface which wasn't really as bad as people make out, and Orange's customizations which I think are truly dreadful and ugly, as well as Titanium, the default Zune-like interface of WM6.5, but because I have been using the HTC Diamond for so long, I have gotten used to the default HTC interface. I think the Diamond was the first device to use TouchFlo 3D, and with time this has gradually been upgraded and is now called HTC Sense. In fact, my Diamond currently runs HTC Sense 2.1, so I was seriously missing the interface.

Well, the good news is that this being Windows Mobile, if you don't like the UI you can always change it, and one enterprising soul has created a Sense 2.1 cab installer. This runs very well on the TG01 as you might imagine, and is both fast and responsive. You do get all the amazing 3D weather animations which never cease to wow me. Here is a video I made of it in action.

Sadly there are a few tabs which don't really work fully. The first is the contacts tab which, while you are able to assign favourites, on my device and setup crashes when you click on "All Contacts" on the left soft key. Also, video doesn't appear in the pictures and videos tab, nor does the picture viewer open when you click on a photo. HTC Album (HTC's own photo viewer) doesn't seem to install properly on this device. Obviously, and link to an HTC proprietary program is non-functional either.
None of these are deal breakers for me, and I have to say it does make the transition from my HTC Diamond to the Toshiba TG01 that much easier. I know that many people are hesitant about using a non HTC phone because they will lose Sense (which explains why HTC is going after the low end with the HTC Smart to get you hooked on the UI). HTC Sense on the Toshiba TG01 serves as a bit of a reassurance to those who are thinking of taking on leap with this great deal of a phone.

15 January 2010

18 months

Wow. I can't believe it has been 18 months since I first received my HTC Touch Diamond. The only reason I know is that upgrade time has swung around again, and I have a new phone. In the last 18 months I have to say that the Diamond has been a real trooper: I have flashed the ROM at least a dozen times, each time falling in love with the interface all over again as something new is discovered.

The last 18 months have seen the unofficial releases of Windows Mobile 6.5, 6.5.1 and 6.5.3, all of which have run on my phone, as well as TouchFlo3D in its various incarnations right up to HTC Sense. Not all the new ROMs were that stable and some were downright buggy, but it was a risk I was willing to take. At the end of the day, the most stable ROM was one still based on 6.1: Gen.Y's really quite wonderful D2 R5 ROM which uses HTC Sense 2.1, and that is the one I've stuck with for the last few months.

So, now that the new phone has arrived, it begs the quesiton, what should I do with my trusty Diamond? I still love the phone because it is so small. Over time, however, the WiFi has ceased to work, which has proven to be quite a big problem as without the SIM it now has no independent connectivity apart from Bluetooth and GPS. Of course when synchronized it can use the PC's pass-through connection, but that is quite limiting. At the moment I have it set up as a 4GB mp3 player, but I am thinking of doing something a little more adventurous with it. Any suggestions?