HTC Ozone (Snap) and Windows Mobile 6.1

Having been an Alltel customer for many years, I am now a Verizon customer and am considering my options to upgrade phones for my wife and myself. We can get the newish HTC Ozone, which is the Snap on Sprint, for $20 each with a 2 year contract and a “please don’t switch to another provider” discount. I also negotiated a plan with unlimited data for the two of us at a price that beats Sprint, so we are looking for something with PDA functionality and web-browsing for comparison shopping when we are out and about. This is the first time I have really looked at and considered smartphones in any depth, so I am wondering how practical a phone with Winmo 6.1 is for a non-enterprise user. Can I install new apps and whatnot on Windows Mobile? Is the web browsing worth a shit?

I’ve had a WinMo phone for the last four years now, and it’s basically borderline okay. (Four years ago, it was great; but it’s barely changed in a landscape that’s shifted drastically.)

Email is fine, and I don’t have any problems with it. It won’t integrate all fancy with GMail specifically, but it’s a decent IMAP client. The web browser is about as functional as Lynx – it can’t do much Javascript, its layout is so abysmal that its best to put it into One Column Mode, where the nav elements just stream down the page, and is basically minimally functional with most sites. You can install apps easily and freely, but every app I’ve ever installed, from Opera Mini to Windows Live has made my phone crash at one point or another.

I wouldn’t recommend WinMo in the modern world, but if you’re on Verizon, you don’t have any modern phones available to you (let’s not pretend Blackberry is any better than WinMo, please). In your shoes, I’d actually wait a few months for some Android phones or the Pre to hit.

Yes. IE is good, you can also get Opera and (I think) a beta version of Firefox.

There’s tons of free software. You can run SCUMMVM. Your wife can play Bejeweled. You can use it as car navigation device. Installing is easy; in Windows XP you install Microsoft ActiveSync, and plug the phone in to install stuff, some stuff has to be copied directly to the memory card. Under Vista (and Win 7, I guess) ActiveSync has been integrated into Windows as “Sync center” or something like that.

I’ve got the HTC Touch Pro, which I’ve complained about in another thread. It’s running Windows Mobile 6.1. I’ve installed new apps on it with no real problems, except the second party that my provider, Telus, farmed purchasing out to. I just use it as a regular phone, I wanted something fairly powerful and had a real keyboard.

I don’t know what comes with the Snap, but Opera, IE and Skyfire all work for browsing, although I’d recommend Skyfire, since I had a lot of weird issues with the versions of Opera and IE included in the original phone.

I’ve since flashed to a custom ROM, which fixed the Opera and IE issues and broke a bunch of other shit

It seems to be trendy to diss Windows Mobile because it doesn’t look as fancy as the iPhone. There’s really nothing my four year old HTC Trinity doesn’t do convincingly enough for me.

I thought about this, but I should have mentioned that the cost of a modern phone is well out of our budget at the moment, and would be for at least a few years. So I guess my real question is:

Will I completely hate Winmo 6.1, without a touchscreen, when I consider that I only paid $20 for the phone?

Oh, no touchscreen? That’s a downer. Maybe you should consider getting something with touchscreen off ebay? I really reccommend the HTC Trinity (or HTC P3600).

Sadly, it’s not as easy to buy a used phone for a CDMA carrier as it is for a GSM carrier. It’s got to be a phone that the carrier has offered in the past, and they rarely seem to offer the awesome phones. The only thing that’s got me sticking with Verizon after the change from Alltel is how awesome their service is supposed to be (that and the fact that retention offered me a deal that I can’t really refuse).

You’re not missing much with the touch screen unless you really enjoy stylus input. WM for non-touchscreen phones is actually pretty damn good. That’s what I run ( HTC S710 ) and I don’t feel like i’m limited. There are loads of shortcut keys and having the buttons is just plain nice for dialing or texting. If you are a stylus person, WM improves alot with the touch screen. But if you are thinking finger awesomeness, then its not so good. As far as WM, I mean, i’d much rather have windows mobile than a dumb phone, but i’m looking to move off of the platform. The main thing is stability and usability issues. The software is slow no matter what phone you get. Some are faster than others, but WM does not mask the slowness very well at all. And as someone mentioned, the apps are both a blessing and a curse. The more apps you install the more you can do, but do expect the phone to have issues of some kind. Hell, even my alarm clock doesn’t turn on right every day and I have to enter the control panel to turn off the alarm. Pretty sucky.

Thanks for the advice, everyone. I went ahead and got the Ozone since the price is hard to beat. Since I’m moving up from a RAZR, shit on a stick would make me happy.

tiohn, how’s life been with the Ozone?

I’m in pretty much the same shape as yourself. Former Alltel customer, up for contract renewal. I wanted to transition to a smartphone from my Razr V3a, and it was by far the cheapest route for initial purchase. $19.99 with a 2 year contract renewal, when done online.

I could also have went with a Blackberry Curve for the same cost, but the Ozone supports Wi-Fi, which might be a nice option at times.

I just ordered mine Friday and it’s scheduled for delivery Monday.

I’m also interested in finding a good source of free, open source or paid applications. Is there something like Versiontracker for Windows Mobile?

What does everyone use for IM’ing on Windows Mobile devices? Is there a stand out champ for multi-protocol use, or do folks recommending sticking with individual applications?