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Microsoft Origami Experience 2.0 on HTC Shift

Htc_shift_origami_experience_20

The HTC Shift is the first UMPC to ship with the as-yet-unreleased Origami Experience 2.0, a UMPC-specific software suite designed to provide a "smart, new way to manage your world while you’re on the go." The Origami Team Blog (via jkOnTheRun) reveals that the final download package will be available for public download soon, but why wait until then to see how it works and learn how to use it?

What follows are the contents of the 10-page HTC Shift With Microsoft Origami Experience 2.0 mini booklet (included with the Shift) sprinkled with some photos I took this afternoon to break up the text.

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About Origami Experience 2.0

Htc_shift_oe2_programs

Origami Experience 2.0 is a software suite that includes the following applications:

  • Origami Central. Play your favorite media, browse the Internet, read news feeds, and access your favorite programs all from one location.
  • Origami Now. Get one-touch access to real-time information such as email, calendar, weather, to-do lists, RSS feeds, and more.
  • Touch Settings. Optimize settings such as the size of scroll bars, Start menu, and icons, or customize settings for a better touch screen experience.

Tip: Press the Control Center button on the upper-right side of the touch panel, tap Advanced Settings -> Origami Settings tab, and then choose whether to autorun Origami Central or Origami Now when Windows Vista starts. You can also select None if you do not want to autorun any Origami application.

Origami Central

Htc_shift_origami_central

Origami Central is a central location where you can enjoy multimedia entertainment, browse the web, and read the latest news from your web feeds, as well as access your favorite programs.

MEDIA

Origami Central and Windows Media Player (WMP) share the same library. If your media files are stored in custom folders, open WMP first and add your media folders to the library before you use Origami Central to view or play your media files. For instructions on how to add media folders to the library, see WMP Help.

Htc_shift_oe2_oc1

You can also download media files from another computer to your HTC Shift and then view or play them in Origami Central. Before you can download, connect both computers to a wireless or wired network and then turn on media sharing in WMP on both computers. For instructions on how to enable media sharing, see WMP Help.

To download media from another computer

  1. On the Origami Central Home screen, tap Media.
  2. Tap the Music, Pictures, or Videos icon depending on which media type you want to download.
  3. Tap Library, and then select a category.
  4. A Down arrow icon indicates that a music, picture, or video selection is ready to be downloaded. To download, tap a music, picture, or video thumbnail that has this icon.

To play music

  1. Tap the Music icon under Media, and then tap Library.
  2. Tap a category such as All music, Albums, Artists, or Genre, and then browse through the list of music.
  3. Tap an item to play it. Use the controls at the bottom of the screen to control playback.

To create a playlist

Origami Central and WMP share playlists. You can create playlists using either program. Follow the steps below to create a playlist using Origami Central.

  1. Tap Library, and then tap All music.
  2. Queue several music files to the Now playing list. To the right of each desired item, tap the Plus icon. The icon changes to a checkmark icon for a few seconds to indicate that the music has been added to the list.
  3. Tap Playlists, and then tap the Now playing thumbnail.
  4. Tap Save this playlist, enter a playlist name, and then tap Save.

Tips: Playlists are shown on the lower-right side of the Now playing screen. Simply tap a playlist to play it. You must use WMP to edit or delete a playlist.

To play a video

  1. Tap the Videos icon under Media, and then tap Library.
  2. Tap a category such as All videos or Genre, and then browse through the list of videos.
  3. Tap a video to play it. Use the controls at the bottom of the screen to control playback.

To view pictures individually

  1. Tap the Pictures icon under Media.
  2. Tap Library, tap All pictures, and then tap the picture folder that you added to the library in WMP.
  3. Pictures in the selected picture folder are then displayed as thumbnails on the screen. Tap the first thumbnail to start viewing from the first picture.
  4. To view the next picture, tap the Next icon that appears on the middle right side of the screen. To go back to the previous picture, tap the Previous icon that appears on the middle left side of the screen. Tip: Tap once on the touch screen to display the picture controls and settings. You can change the rating of the current picture, and more.
  5. When you have finished viewing pictures, double-tap the touch screen.

Tip: The Now playing list is queued with pictures from the picture folder that you viewed. To view the same pictures again, tap Now playing and then tap View manually.

Htc_shift_oe2_photos

To view pictures as an auto slideshow

  1. Tap the Pictures icon under Media.
  2. Create the slideshow. To do so, open WMP and create a playlist of pictures. Origami Central and WMP share playlists.
  3. Go back to Origami Central. Tap Library, tap Slideshows, and then tap the slideshow that you have created.
  4. Tap the first picture to display it in full screen.
  5. To start playing the slideshow, tap the Play icon that appears on the center of the screen. While the slideshow is playing, tap the Pause icon to pause the slideshow. Tip: If you don’t see the Play or Pause icon, tap once on the touch screen to display it. Other settings such as style of presentation, the order, and the spe ed of the slideshow will also appear at the bottom of the screen. Tap these settings when you want to change them.
  6. To end the slideshow, double-tap the touch screen.

Tip: The Now playing list is queued with pictures from the slideshow that you played. To play the same slideshow again, tap Now playing and then tap Start slideshow.

INTERNET

In Origami Central, you can add web favorites, browse websites, and view web feeds.

Htc_shift_oe2_oc2

Origami Central and Internet Explorer (IE) share favorites. You can add favorites using either program.

To visit a website, add a favorite, and browse a web page

  1. On the Origami Central Home screen, tap Internet.
  2. Tap Browser, and then tap the screen to show the browser menu bar.
  3. Enter the URL of a website, or search for a website.
  4. To save the current URL as a favorite, tap the Gear icon, tap Add to favorites, and then tap the folder where you want to save the URL. Notes: In Origami Central, you can add favorites only to the top-level folders. Use IE to manage favorites.
  5. The pen or mouse pointer becomes the Panning Hand Tool when you are using the Origami Central browser. Move the Panning Hand Tool up or down to pan up or down the current web page. When viewing a long web page, you can also quickly flick up or down the page using your finger or stylus.
  6. To zoom in or out of a web page, tap the screen to show the browser menu bar, tap the Gear icon, and then tap Zoom in or Zoom out.

To add a view web feeds

Origami Central and IE share feeds. You can use either program to subscribe to and add feeds.

You can add a feed only when the website you’re viewing offers one. An orange RSS indicator appears on the Gear icon on the browser menu bar when a website offers a feed.

  1. On the Origami Central Home screen, tap Internet.
  2. Tap Browser, and then tap the screen to show the browser menu bar.
  3. Tap the Gear icon, and then tap Add feed.
  4. If there are multiple feeds to choose from, select your desired feeds and then tap Next.
  5. Tap the folder to which you want to add the feeds.
  6. Tap the screen to show the browser menu bar, and then tap the Home icon at the upper-left corner of the screen to return to the Home screen.
  7. Tap the Feeds icon, and then tap a feed that you want to view.
  8. To flag items in a feed for later reading, tap a feed and then tap the Flag icon for each item that you want to mark for later reading. To read flagged items, tap the Flagged items folder.

Tips:

  • To update feeds manually in Origami Central, tap the Feeds icon under Internet and then tap the Update icon in the title bar.
  • You can enable automatic update of feeds only in IE. Tap Tools -> Internet Options -> Content tab, tap Settings under Feeds, and then select the Automatically check feeds for updates checkbox.
  • Use IE to import feeds from another program, remove (unsubscribe) a feed, or change its properties.

Have a look at the following video from the Windows Experience Blog:

PROGRAMS

In Origami Central, you can add shortcuts to your favorite programs for easier access.

Htc_shift_oe2_oc3

To add or remove a program shortcut

  1. On the Origami Central Home screen, tap Programs.
  2. Tap All programs, tap Favorites, and then tap Add or remove.
  3. Tap the Add icon that appears next to a program to add a program shortcut, or tap the Remove icon to remove a program shortcut.

Origami Now

In Origami Now, you can add tiles that display important information. The types of tiles that can be added include mail, calendar, clock, feeds, weather, notes, lists, and web images.

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The information displayed in Origami Now changes automatically depending on the time of day, the day of the week, and your current location so you always have the most up-to-date information available.

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To open and exit Origami Now

  1. If Origami Now is not running, open the program by tapping Start -> All Programs -> Microsoft Origami Experience 2.0 -> Origami Now.
  2. When Origami Now has been minimized, tap the Now button at the top edge of the Windows Desktop to maximize the Origami Now screen. Tip: If the Now button is not shown, tap the Gear icon, tap Now options, and then select the Show the Now button at the edge of the desktop checkbox.
  3. To exit Origami Now, tap the Gear icon and then tap Exit.

SET UP LOCATION AWARENESS

Origami Now uses your network connection to determine whether you’re at home, at work, or mobile. You can set Origami Now to use different network connections depending on your location.

To set your network connections

  1. Tap the Gear icon in the title bar, and then tap Now options.
  2. At the bottom of the screen, tap Location awareness.
  3. Choose the network connection that you use at your home and the network connection that you use at work.
  4. Tap Save.

ADD TILES

Choose the information that is important to you and add them as tiles in Origami Now for quick, one-touch access.

Htc_shift_oe2_tile1

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To add a tile

  1. Tap the Gear icon, and then tap Add a tile.
  2. Tap the type of tile that you want to add.
  3. Set the options that you want, and then tap Close.

Tips: You can add up to 48 tiles, including more than one tile of any type. For instance, you can add several tiles to display each of your favorite feeds. As you add more tiles, some will be hidden from the Origami Now screen. To access all tiles, tap Show all tiles at the bottom-right corner of the Origami Now screen.

To set the priority< /em>

You can set a tile to have priority over others and be moved up onto the Origami Now screen when you’re in certain locations, during specific days or times, and when there is important information available.

  1. Tap a tile that you want to customize.
  2. Tap the Gear icon, and then tap Main tile options.
  3. Tap Priority, and then select the appropriate checkboxes to boost the tile’s priority based on location, time, or when it has important information.
  4. If you selected the Location or Time checkboxes, tap Settings, and then further define when and where the tile has priority.
  5. Tap Close.

To remove a tile

  1. Tap the Gear icon, and then tap Remove a tile.
  2. Tap the X icon in the upper right-hand corner of the tile that you want to remove.

Touch Settings

Touch Settings allows you to optimize or customize settings to make it easier to interact with Windows Vista using the touch screen.

To open Touch Settings

  1. Tap Start -> All Programs -> Microsoft Origami Experience 2.0 -> Touch Settings.

For more information about using Touch Settings, see the program help by tapping Learn more on the lower-left corner of the Touch Settings screen. There are a couple of minor differences, but you can get the gist of Touch Settings from the "Touchscreen improvements for XP-based UMPC" article I wrote last year.

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So that’s Origami Experience 2.0. It’s a nice finger-friendly interface, to be sure, but I never use it. The Shift’s 7-inch screen makes navigating Vista easy (no need for Origami Central then) and Origami Now essentially duplicates the function of SnapVUE, which doesn’t rely on Vista and has stellar battery life (about 2 days). If it had been an option on my Shift, I wouldn’t have chosen it. But that’s just me.

Will you add Origami Experience 2.0 to your UMPC when it becomes available?

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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42 thoughts on “Microsoft Origami Experience 2.0 on HTC Shift

  • It does not look like it enhances the Shift too good but it would be nice for other umpc like Fujitsu U810 and OQO 2. I hope I can download it for my Fujitsu. Origami Now is nice to get quick look at PIM status and keep track of meetings at work.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Michelle

    The slide show features are beautiful. There was a demo floating around a few months ago that captivated me. I hope the software will be available for all XP and Vista systems, not just UMPCs, because I would love to show slide shows like those at work.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Steven Mills

    Not bad for Microsoft, who’s usually so clueles about ui’s that they should be bankrupt. Wipe that bad boy clean and put Linux on it. Now _that_ woould be something to see!

    Reply
  • Question: would Origami 2.0 work on a device such as the HTC Advantage X7510?
    I’m having a hard time deciding between the Shift or the Advantage right now & am more edging towards the 7510 because of the smaller form factor (and of course, price!)

    Reply
  • No, it’s only for UMPCs running Vista. It’s possible that it could work on XP systems and maybe Tablet PCs and laptops, but it definitely wouldn’t work on Windows Mobile (the OS on the Advantage).

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  • I have rhe Shift and i like the Origami, but does anybody know if itvis possible to add your own widgets/tiles?

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  • Thanks, Jenn. As someone who has used both devices, which would you recommend to somebody who could only get one of them? Which one, in your opinion, is the more useful & versatile device?
    To give you a little more info, I own a Blackberry 8310 which is my constant companion for push email & keeping in touch with friends & family via IM & BB Messenger. I run my own business & travel quite frequently.
    I also just aquired an HP TX2000z, which I use for work (giving presentations, taking notes, showing video clips, etc.)
    Although I love the Curve, I miss the look & feel of WM 6 which I had on my Dash. I find the PIM functionality on the BB to be basic at best. Therefore, I am looking for a device to bridge the gap between my Curve & my Tablet PC in terms of PIM functionality and IMAP email handling (a little hit or miss on the Curve), as well as something I can take with me on short trips when I don’t really need the Tablet PC, but still need to get some work done.
    The one thing that gives me pause on the Shift is the battery life. 2 hours just does not cut it on a “mobile” device.
    What do you think, Shift or Advantage?

    Reply
  • Based on your particular needs, I think the Advantage would be a better choice. Your main interest seems to be WM6; even if you “liberate” SnapVUE on the Shift, though, it still doesn’t compare to the Advantage in terms of storage capacity, wireless connectivity (SnapVUE can’t use wi-fi), and portability.

    Reply
  • How about a Redfly with a compatible smartphone?

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  • Thank you, Jenn. That’s pretty much what I thought would be the case, but wanted to ask someone who has used both devices.
    The Shift is certainly a lustworthy machine, but I think that until HTC can improve the battery life & give us full Winmo functionality, it will never be more than a “neat toy”. It’s the kind of machine that “to see it is to want it”, but from everything I have read thus far, it has too many limitations.
    I am eagerly awaiting the release of the X7510, which, on paper, looks to be a worthy update to its predecessor. I am sure you will give us your thoughts on that little beast when you get a chance to play with one. :)

    Reply
  • Bruno, that is an interesting alternative.
    However, you are still stuck with whatever hardware the smartphone has. I have yet to see a smartphone with the hardware specs that the Advantage has…x7501 OR x7510.
    All the Redfly will give you is a bigger screen.
    Agree or disagree?

    Reply
  • Iron-Hide: Agree :-) I think it depends on what you need to get your work done. If, for example, you need to use Remote Desktop / GoToMyPC / LogMeIn or something similar to connect to your desktop and work on it then you do not need a lot of processign power or storage. In that case a smartphone and RedFly would work perfectly well (it would also be good for e-mailing and basic document work).
    Advantage is the most versatile and self-sufficient toy I have. If you do not need full Windows then I would go for it. I will be adding Redfly to my stable to use it with the Advantage when I need to do longer typing, but it is very usable on its own.
    Shift is an excellent toy with great battery life as long as you stay in the WM6 (SnapVue) side of things. If the e-mailing/browsing/remote desktop functionality is all you need then SnapVue will do just fine and will give you battery life that beats even Advantage. You will however not have enough storage for… well, for anything really. You won’t be able to install much software even if you hack SnapVuew because there simply isn’t room for it. For typing on the go though, Shift is hard to beat. It does give you full Windows when needed – again, it comes down to the question of what do you need to get work done?
    I have use for both Advantage and Shift, each plays a different role. If I had to pick only one, it would have to be Advantage – but that may not be the case for someone with different usage scenarios.
    I do want the new version of Advantage, 7510, though I am not quite sure why :-) Which of the updates do you find interesting?

    Reply
  • Bruno: I’ll tell you why you want the new version of the Advantage – It looks damn sexy! :)
    Every picture I have seen thus far (there aren’t that many floating about) makes me want it more!
    Seriously though, the 16GB flash drive & the new keyboard are the 2 items that I find the most interesting. Winmo 6.1 is also a plus.
    It’s interesting that you say that if forced to pick only one between the two, it would be the Advantage. I have seen that sentiment echoed several times across the ‘Net.
    Work-wise, all I need out of a portable device is the ability to check my email, surf the ‘Net, run the MS Office suite, run Outlook and give the odd presentation (wired or wirelessly). That’s pretty much it. I fly quite often on business & the average flight ime is between 4 – 5 hours (I live in the Caribbean), therefore I need at least that much time out of any device I carry.
    I notice that several folk, like yourself, have BOTH the Advantage & the Shift. Could you elaborate a little more on the different roles that they fulfill? when would you grab one & not the other?

    Reply
  • Iron-Hide: Usually that does work with me :-) But based on the few pictures I saw, the new version does not look much different from the old one. 8Gb of storage is plenty for what I need the Advantage for and I have no problems with it being a hard drive as opposed to flash. And I still don’t understand how the new keyboard is different from the old one. As I said, I do want the new version but I don’t know why :-) Winmo 6.1 is certainly a factor, even though I can install it on the old Advantage, too.
    I think Shift is a seriously misunderstood device. People point out the limitations of SnapVue, but no one seems to point out that no other UMPC offers an equivalent of SnapVue at all. I personally would like an equivalent of it to be present at every laptop, I find it that useful!
    Truth be told though, SnapVue is very limited even if you jailbreak it. You can install additional software (e.g. Office Mobile), but the storage is VERY limited. You can install IE and use SnapVue for browsing, install Remote Desktop as it requires little storage but that is about as far as it will go. If you need a powerful e-mailing/SMS-ing machine then Shift is excellent. SnapVue can easily run for a couple of days, the keyboard and large screen is fantastic. If I have a day or a couple of days full of meetings, travel in between and I do not need to do a lot of serious work, Shift is fantastic for that. For e-mailing/texting/web browsing it beats the Advantage hands down. If you however need to work on the Windows side of things, the battery life is a problem. It is fine to use for using OneNote in a meeting and great for giving a presentation as the power is usually nearby. If you want to create a presentation while on the plane, you are out of luck.
    My decision-making process has been biased due to the (mis)fortune of owning Sony TZ (Jenn has written extensively about it). With an excellent battery life (I get 7hours on a standard battery), HSDPA connectivity, small footprint and light weight it is my favourite travel companion. If I need to get real work done, I take the TZ and Advantage for the times I need to respond to an e-mail quickly or lookup something on the web or use one of the mobile versions of software I rely on. I also take the Advantage with me when I travel for pleasure as opposed to work – built-in GPS and access to the web is great. I couldn’t use Advantage as an only machine if I needed to get real work done (it server ok for emergencies as I can use GoToMyPC or equivalent to connect to my desktop, but it is not a long-term solution).
    In short – Shift is a great standalone machine as long as you don’t need more than e-mail/messaging/web access OR you won’t be too far from the power outlet. Advantage is a great companion machine but you don’t want to use it to create presentations on it, let alone anything else. It is small enough that you don’t need to think about it and just throw it in the bag (and sturdy enough to survive if you miss the throw).

    Not sure if this helps, when I try to pit the two machines against each other they always end in a deadlock! :-)

    Reply
  • Bruno: Thanks so much for taking the time to expand on your use of these two devices.
    Yes, you have helped tremendously.
    I will wait to see what the reviews of the X7510 are like before making my decision. I notice that a lot of the sites that are offering it for Pre-order are asking almost as much as the Shift is going for. Interested to see what it does eventually retail for.
    Must admit that a current owner of an Advantage might not be compelled to upgrade for any other reason other than Techno-Lust! As you say, the X7501 can be upgraded to 6.1 (Matt Miller just did it successfully over on his blog), the 16GB flash drive is nice to have, but might not be enough of an upgrade to warrant the purchase & the new keyboard remains to be proven (I get the impression that most Advantage owners use a BT keyboard for real work anyway).
    If the battery life on the Vista side of the Shift were better, it would be a no-brainer. However, the 2 hours does give one pause. It would make a lovely in-flight movie machine with that tilt-up screen…but it wouldn’t last through the whole flick!
    Have you ever tried Skype on the Shift? I am a heavy Skype user & that would also be a factor in any decision making. If it handled Skype video that would definitely be a plus.
    All in all, HTC are definitely on the bleeding edge of the phone/UMPC/kitchen sink-in-your-pocket market & it will be interesting to see what they dream up next. In the meantime, they sure have figured out a way to part us Gadget freaks from our hard-earned money while keeping us smiling at the same time! The fact that you, like a lot of others, can’t decide between the the Advantage & the Shift is testament to HTC’s engineering expertise. They really do know how to make devices that are incredibly useful & incredibly lust worthy!

    Reply
  • “Must admit that a current owner of an Advantage might not be compelled to upgrade for any other reason other than Techno-Lust!”

    That’s the only reason I want the X7510, Iron-Hide! I don’t even use my Advantage (X7501) very much around the house (where I work) anymore, but I wouldn’t ever give it up and I still want its successor. I’ve accepted that I’m simply too weak to overcome my gadget addiction, so I may as well embrace it. :-)

    Reply
  • Jenn: Let’s form a support group :-)
    Iron-Hide: I have been thinking about this and I honestly think that the reason why people who tried both the Advantage and the Shift tend to prefer the former over the latter is a matter of product positioning. Advantage has been positioned as a PDA and it is by far the best PDA I have ever tried. It really stands out in terms of raw power, usability, everything.
    Shift has been positioned as a UMPC and it is a decent one by any measure, but it does not stand out as much – indeed other UMPCs are often better in some aspects. Pitting Shift and Advantage against each other is not quite fair, but it goes to illustrate that the line between pocketable/ultra-portable/portable/desktop-able devices is getting blurrier and blurrier!
    I have tried Skype on the Shift briefly just for the sake of a test and it worked ok. I haven’t tried a video call as I don’t use those much, but can test it if you would like. I do use Skype heavily on my Sony TZ and on the Advantage and it works very well on both (on the Advantage there is no video call of course – I wonder when will Skype support those on pocket devices?)
    I am still thinking that a Redfly might be a way to go. I wonder how well would a video look on Redfly’s screen – Jenn had an article a while back about watching a movie on the Advantage.
    Have you also considered something like a Samsung Q1U (Premium, possibly)? Q1U’s screen is fantastic for movies, battery life is very good as well.

    Reply
  • @ Bruno: Sounds like a plan! If show-and-tell is going to be part of the meetings, we’re all doomed. :-)

    I don’t necessarily prefer my Advantage over my Shift. I actually have more use for Vista than Windows Mobile, so the Shift is something I use (very happily, I might add) every day. For quick email checking, I usually just use my AT&T Tilt or iPhone, so I don’t really have any reason to fire up the Advantage too often.

    I really wish the X7510 had an 800 x 480 screen. That would make the purchase an absolute no-brainer for me. VGA is great for Windows Mobile, but it’s not very desirable for web browsing.

    Are you planning to upgrade to WM 6.1?

    Reply
  • Jenn: We are all doomed anyways, your blog made me buy quite a few toys already :-)

    Most of my work requires full Windows as well, but for quick e-mailing and general PIM functionality Windows Mobile works very well. That’s why I use the Advantage as a sidekick to my laptop, it wouldn’t be enough for me as a standalone machine. I do agree that 800×480 would be great, sounds like Sony’s Xperia might do the trick, but for that kind of resolution I would prefer the form factor Advantage has.
    I am definitely going to upgrade to WM6.1 – when I got my Advantage it ran WM5.0, I upgraded to WM6.0 and am very happy with it. The updates in WM6.1 do not seem all that impressive, but there are a few interesting bits.
    I am still trying to understand how will the new keyboard in 7510 differ from the current one. Do you know, Jenn? I keep hearing references to haptic feedback, but doesn’t Advantage’s keyboard provide it already?

    Reply
  • The new keyboard is a membrane one that doesn’t exactly have individual keys. Haptic feedback isn’t really the same thing as tactile feedback, so the X7500/X7501 keyboard doesn’t already provide it. I haven’t seen any user reports about the new keyboard yet, but my understanding has always been that it would vibrate when touched. Since typing on a membrane-style keyboard would feel like typing on a touchscreen, the vibration gives the thumbs/fingers some much-needed response.

    I can’t imagine how useful the vibration would be, as it sounds more like a nuisance than anything else, but I think we’ll find out very soon. Maybe the haptic action can be disabled or something (or maybe it doesn’t even involve vibration in its implementation!).

    I was hoping that the HTC event in London today would provide more info (I don’t know why I expected a slew of devices to be unveiled and/or released), but it looks like the Diamond was the only thing that was announced.

    Reply
  • Err… HTC event in London? And I hear about it from Hawaii? I guess I am less connected than I thought!
    I just looked it up and have to say that I am underimpressed – HTC Diamond looks like an ok smartphone but little more than that.
    I do wish we could start our own focus group trying to come up with a perfect mobile device!

    Reply
  • Jenn: I am proud of you for accepting the fact that you are indeed addicted to Gadgets to such an extent that you MUST upgrade to any newer version of a device for no reason other than Techno-Lust! :) We definitely need to form a Support Group! The only reason I do not go through Gadgets at the rate that you do, is the fact that here in the Caribbean, flogging the older version of a device that has been replaced on eBay, is not an option for us – as eBay does not accept foreign credit cards!! :( Maybe one day!

    Bruno: your point about “product positioning” is valid and well made. The Advantage is definitely the most capable PDA currently on the market. The Shift, on the other hand, is certainly a great UMPC, as you say, but there are better out there. As a matter of fact, I have considered the Samsung Q1 Ultra Premium & it is on my short list of UMPC’s to consider. To be honest, the Shift & the Q1 Ultra Premium are the ONLY UMPC’s on my list! I just don’t like the look of any of the others. The 7″ screen & longer battery life are huge pluses; the split keyboard & “brick-like” size are the negatives.
    I would love if you were able to test Video Skype on the Shift for me. That would be a large decision factor. I would be very appreciative.
    Have you owned one of the Q1’s as well or are you speaking from information gleaned on the “Net?
    These are certainly interesting times now, as we witness an explosion in the sub-$1,000 segment of note books, while the struggling UMPC market seems to be poised to surge ahead. Smartphones are becoming more powerful & feature rich, encroaching on UMPC territory! As you rightly point out – the lines defining our toys are getting VERY blurry!
    I work in the “Technology Integration/Custom Installation” Industry and we are finally starting to see evidence of the much-touted “convergence” of these devices. Windows Media Center is now being used to distribute audio & video throughout Homes and can be used as a “Home Automation” platform; TV’s are now becoming “web enabled”; EVERYTHING comes with an Ethernet jack these days, so that it can be connected to one’s Home network. In fact, I am seeing Q1’s being used to control whole home automation systems (using tweaked software).
    Interesting times indeed!
    Is it any wonder that us Geeks are having a tough time choosing our new toys? So much choice! :)

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  • This is turning into a very interesting conversation!

    Iron-Hide: I share your view on UMPCs – Samsung’s were the only ones of interest to me until Shift came along. My fiancee had the original Q1, we both have Q1U – of course I feel victim to my techno lust and bought it as soon as it came out over here in the UK. Unfortunately it didn’t include built-in HSDPA, that came out only later. I have been seriously thinking about getting Q1U Premium, the extra processing power would not go amiss (though I have never had any issues with performance of my Q1U).
    My problem with the Q1U is (and I think Jenn has described the same) the fact that if you add an external keyboard it will be quite bulky – Sony VAIO TZ will be more portable. Of course the TZ is more expensive and provides different user experience, but if you already have one, Q1U (or many UMPCs) have to compete for attention much harder. I haven’t been using the Q1U lately much, but every time I hold it I am amazed again. The screen is simply the best I saw, the machine is beautiful. I believe it uses the same processor as the Shift and Skype (including video calls) work very well on it. (I will test video call on the Shift tonight and will let you know how it went).
    There seems to be general dislike of the split thumbboard on Q1U but I quite like it. It does not replace full keyboard by any means but for someone used toi Blackberry-esque thumbboard this is a great addition. You wouldn’t want to write a book with it, but for an e-mail (let alone entering a pasword) it si fantastic and doesn’t add any bulk or weight.
    Do you use UMPCs in your work as control panels for home automation systems? I have been interested in that for a while! I have yet to see one of these systems in action (which is probably a better thing as my techno lust is out of control).

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  • Bruno: Have to agree with you, very interesting conversation indeed!
    Why am I not surprised that you also have the Samsung Q1? :) You definitely need that Support Group!
    The Samsung Q1 has held my interest for quite a while, and up until the Shift was released, was pretty much the only UMPC I really wanted. You state that the screen is beautiful; is it better than the Shift’s? The battery life has been reported to be very good, especially on the Q1 Ultra Premium, which uses the extended battery in it’s standard configuration. Definitely the kind of device one would take on a long flight to get some work done or watch a movie.
    Re: the thumb keyboard; while it may not be the greatest, according to the reviews I have read, I would rather have a split keyboard than NO keyboard at all! I am glad to see that you quite like it, as it was one of the things I was very unsure about every time I considered buying the device.
    From what I have read, you are correct in saying that the Q1U and the Shift share the same proc. The Ultra Premium is the one with the beefier cpu. That little beast has some nice specs. I am at a loss, however, to understand why the manufacturers insist on shipping these devices with only 1GB of Ram! EVERYBODY knows that Vista needs at least 2GB to run nicely. Ram is so cheap these days, there is NO excuse for not making 2GB standard.
    Anyway, my little rant aside, let’s move on.. :)
    My Company does not use UMPC’s to control Home Automation Systems, unfortunately. Due to licensing & other legalese, the Media Center software that runs on these systems cannot be used outside of the US…YET! Apparently they are working to change that. If you visit:
    http://www.exceptionalinnovation.com
    you can see for yourself what these folk are doing with Media Center software now. VERY cool stuff. I was at a Trade show in Orlando recently and was able to play with some of their gear and came away most impressed. Trust me, if you are remotely interested in this stuff, to see it is to want it! You would be unable to control your Techno Lust!
    http://www.homeauto.com is another great place to visit to take a look at what is being done with home control using one’s UMPC or Smartphone.
    Savant Systems (www.savantav.com) is a high end automation company that is using a variation of the MAC OS to run their controllers and interfaces. I saw a demonstration where the rep was using his iPhone to run his home. Very impressive. Even the Nokia N800/810 has been used to control automation systems, using software that had been loaded onto it by the automation company.

    It really is a great time to be a geek!! :)

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  • Bruno: were you able to test Skype video on the Shift?

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  • Iron-Hide: Apologies for the delay, I have been on the road for the past few days. I will test it tonight, promise!

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  • Avatar of Iron-Hide

    Bruno: LOL! No prob! Figured you’d gotten caught up at work!

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  • Iron-Hide: Thanks :-)
    I did test it last night and today. Skype voice call was just fine (in one instance there was a brief split-second stutter twice during several minute phonecall, but that was barely noticeable).
    Videocall seemed to be right on the edge of what Shift could handle. It went well, but every couple minutes to video seemed to freeze for about half a second to a second. This might have been due to the connectivity (the calls I have tried were done over 3G as opposed to WiFi. I have tried WiFi separately and the video seemed betterm but it wasn’t too bad over 3G either so the difference wasn’t that noticeable).
    When making a videocall, I did have to ensure I didn’t have anything large (e.g. Outlook) running as the video as well as voice would then start struggling. As long as Skype was the only app running, it was definitely usable. I have tested it with LiveMeeting running at the same time and I definitely saw issues with the video, though audio was ok.
    Important things to note: I have done no optimization to either the Shift (in fact I had restored it to the factory condition recently) or Skype (I know there are things one can do, I just didn’t do them). When testing the calls over 3G, I had very good signal (at least 75% strength).
    Sometimes the call (either voice or video) would be clearly low quality immediately after connecting. I would then hang up and redial and the call would be fine. I have seen the same behaviour on occasion on my desktop also so I am not sure whether this has anything to do with the hardware or not.

    Overall: voice calls are just fine (after all, one can make very usable Skype voicecalls from nearly any PDA). Video seems to be fine, a bit of optimization (I seem to recall there were some tips on JKOnTheRun) might make it even better – but concurrently running other things might push it over the edge). As far as the hardware is concerned, the built-in microphone and speakers work very well (comparable to Samsung Q1U, I would say).
    Is there anything in particular you would like me to test?

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  • Bruno: Thank you so much, that was great!
    No, nothing in particular; your comments on both voice only & video were just what I needed.

    Skype on voice-only does indeed work very well on almost anything. I remember trying it on my T-Mo Dash for the first time & grinning from ear to ear at the quality of the call!

    The fact that video is possible without any optimization performed on the Shift or the App itself is great news. This mean that there is room for improvement, which is always encouraging. Would be nice if somebody could find a way to crack the Shift & bump the Ram up to 2GB!
    The low quality immediately after initial connection on some calls seems to be a Skype problem. Have you upgraded to the most recent version (3.8.0.115)? Skype claim that this new version improves voice quality tremendously and I must say that I HAVE noticed a difference when chatting with someone with the same version.

    Overall, the Shift seems like a fantastic device; with 2GB ram installed, full version of WinMo 6.1 & at least 2 more hours of battery life – I daresay it would be close to the best UMPC on the market, bar none! However, right now, I have to say that I am leaning more towards either the HTC X7510 or the Samsung Q1 Ultra Premium. I recently discovered the Ultra Premium offered on Amazon with 2GB ram installed with Vista Business. Interesting! I am curious to see what price point the X7510 will be released at, as most sites have it for pre-order at $1,300!
    Oh well, that’s part of the fun of being a Techno Geek, isn’t it? Researching the hell out of our expensive toys then trying hard not to look at the newer models when they come out? :)
    I just got my Blackberry Curve 8310 & am already trying to figure out how to tell the Wife that I want the recently-announced Blackberry Bold/9000!
    Oh, the joys ;)
    Btw, did you check out any of the links I suggested re: Home Automation?

    Thanks again, Bruno. Really appreciate the comments on the Shift & video Skype.

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  • Iron-Hide: Glad it helped!
    I haven’t checked out the links yet, I am just catching up after few days away, but the links are at the top of my list :-) Though I probably shouldn’t look, I might end up buying something I shouldn’t!
    I just read about the new Blackberry Bold and it does look good. I am a Windows Mobile person myself, never tried a Blackberry (though my Canadian pride should have driven me to RIM) although I almost switched over – until the series of outages made me change my mind!

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  • Bruno: After being a PDA addict for years (my first real PDA was the Palm Personal – remember those?), I first ventured into the world of the smartphone with the Treo 600. I upgraded to the 650 & carried that for a long time until the Palm OS started showing it’s age & I needed more. Then tried the Nokia e61, which I liked, but was too damn big; before switching to the T-Mo Dash. Recently swapped that for my Blackberry Curve 8310 & have to say that while WinMo is more polished in appearance – Blackberry has it where it counts: it just works! I really hated having to reset my Dash at least 3 to 4 times a week & just needed a phone that worked. Blackberry works!
    The Bold is going to change a lot of nay-sayers minds about Blackberry, of that i am sure.

    Btw, have read that a lot of folk find inking on the Shift to be a pain. How do you find it? Do you do much inking at all?

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  • Iron-Hide: I used to have T-Mobile Dash (MDA Mail on this side of the pond) and it was ok. I have moved to Samsung SGH-i600 since then, and love it to bits (and I had to restart it only once since January :-) ).
    I might go for Blackberry, but the not-all-that-infrequent service outages are making me a bit cautious. That, plus quite a bit of WM-based software I use. Oh well!
    I have a problem with inking on most every UMPC (or any touch-screen device for that matter). I started inking on HP TC1100 and have learned to love active digitizer. Compared to that, no passive digitizer offers quite the same inking experience. Q1U is quite good I must say, Shift is usable but not amazing. Resolution has something to do with it as well – less handwriting fits on the screen and you do notice the difference. I haven’t really tried to get used to inking on the Shift since the keyboard is there, the screen is good for controlling programs, pushing buttons etc.
    I do wish there was a Q1U or Shift with active digitizer!

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  • Bruno: The Samsung is a nice little machine, played with one once but never bought it. Only one reset since January!! Wow! Wish my Dash would behave like that. Must admit though, I push my phones pretty hard; always running some kind of beta software, loads of programs installed, etc. That being said, I have a couple of friends with Dash’s & they pretty much only use it as a phone & they complain of freezes & lock ups quite often. So it’s not just me!
    My HP TX2000z is my first foray into the world of inking, so i really am a babe in the woods, so to speak! I have read several reviews of the HP that claim the inking experience is very good compared to what’s out there, so I guess I am being spoiled the first time out! So far, I am enjoying it, but as i said – I have nothing to compare it with. Right now, based upon my work habits (& my Wife requesting that she see more of me at night!!), I can definitely see a need for a UMPC of some sort that would allow me to read documents, surf the internet & take notes. It should also be able to act as a PMP for those long trips that are a necessary evil in my job.
    Right now, the ONLY UMPC on the market that seems able to handle all of the above with a form factor that I like is the Samsung Q1 Ultra Premium. I would LOVE the Shift, but the battery life on Vista SUCKS!
    An active digitizer on the Q1U/UP would be lovely!
    The more I read about it, the more I like it. Your favorable comments have also helped. I am feeling the urge to press BUY! :)

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  • Iron-Hide: The Samsung is actually not that different from the Dash, the most notable difference is inclusion of HSDPA which I would be hard pressed to give up now. I used to use the Dash before and loved it (although T-Mobile in the UK had crippled it by disabling WiFi). I did have problems with it freezing every now and then until I had it unlocked and installed a new ROM. I have to say that Dash was what turned me into a huge smartphone fan.
    I do run quite a bit of software on my phones, but I depend on the phone too much to experiment with betas (I have had some bad experiences in the past). But my PDAs do take a lot of abuse!
    I do eye the Q1U Premium also. They do not offer it in Europe yet but supposedly it is coming soon. I can already feel a large expense coming up!
    Re the urge to press BUY – I know that urge only too well :-)

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  • Avatar of Iron-Hide

    Bruno: No WiFi? Damn, that was the main reason I went for the Dash! After years of no WiFi with the Palm OS, I really wanted a WiFi capable phone.
    We don’t have HSDPA down in my neck of the woods, so WiFi is very useful. The EDGE coverage here is quite flaky & to be honest, the increase in speed over plain GPRS is negligible.
    After carrying the Treo around & then briefly experimenting with the Nokia, the Dash form-factor was amazing. The e61 was a great phone,but it felt like I was holding a 2 x 4 against the side of my head!!
    Going to the Curve has been less stressful than I thought it would be. The interface is not as pretty as WinMo, but it is SO much more stable. The outages did not affect us here in the Caribbean, so that has not been a problem. What i really love about the Blackberry platform is that you don’t have to spend hours scouring the internet trying to get your bluetooth to work properly! It just WORKS! Even my Wife, a self-professed technologically-retarded individual, was able to get into using the BB Pearl quite easily. And I absolutely LOVE BB Messenger!! Being able to chat with another BB user, anywhere in the world, is quite cool.
    I definitely see the Bold in my not-too-distant future!
    I will be keeping an eye out for WinMo 7, as 6.1 just seems to be a stopgap for now.

    It’s nice to know that there are folks out there who share my passion (obsession!) for all-things Tech & who have to fight the urge as I do to hit that “BUY NOW” button. My Wife looks at me as if I am crazy sometimes!! :)

    Bruno, it has been great chatting with you. I am sure we will be swapping stories over other threads in the future. We definitely took over this one! ;)

    Sorry Jenn!!

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  • Likewise, Iron-Hide! :-)

    Sorry Jenn!

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  • No problem at all, guys. I enjoyed eavesdropping! :-)

    It actually made me briefly reconsider the idea of creating a forum. A few people have requested that I do so in the past, but I always turned it down because an inactive forum (as mine would be) is quite a sad sight. Since I don’t have a hard-and-fast topic around here, I can’t imagine how a forum would be useful.

    Frankly, I still can’t imagine it, but seeing your continuing conversation made me wish there was a better way for you guys to do it. Scrolling like there’s no tomorrow could hardly have been fun and paginated comments (which I’m still trying to implement) wouldn’t have fared much better.

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  • Jenn: Ever the gracious Host (Hostess? !
    As a member of several forums that run the gamut from mobile phones, PC Gaming & CE, I can definitely say that there is certainly a lot to be said for an active forum environment.
    However, on a Blog such as this, you have a different “atmosphere” for want of a better word.
    We read blogs such as this for the insightful way in which the reviews are conducted and information is passed on. A Forum is a place one goes to find specific information on clearly defined topics. It is used to to swap information & seek help or help others.

    You have a great site here Jenn, made so by the way you express your views & opinions and the fantastic photography you use to show us fortunate few your unique perspective on the gadgets we all love. The conversation between Bruno & myself was an exception to the norm, and while the scrolling WAS a bit of a pain :), it was a small price to pay for the privilege of “talking Tech” with a fellow lover of all things electronic! :)

    Thanks again, Jenn. Cheers!

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  • Good point, Iron-Hide. You’re right that your continued conversation was an exception to the norm, but I think a forum could still work. It would appeal to a different kind of reader/audience than the ones who comment on news items.

    Though news items and features generally don’t generate many user comments, reviews (particularly MP3 player ones) do. Some have more than 150 comments, many of them from people asking questions that have already been answered. Readers who aren’t familiar with the Ctrl+F command won’t scroll through 100+ comments to see if their question has been asked before.

    A forum has the potential of building community, which is something that cannot be done to the same extent as website comments (except for on sites like Engadget). If implemented, the forum would be hosted on a subdomain and wouldn’t really have any bearing on how the main site is run (except when a member discovers/creates something that’s should be shared beyond the forum, of course).

    I don’t know. I’m still tossing things around in my head. Thanks for your insight. :-)

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  • You are most welcome, Ma’am!

    Your point is well made & as a regular visitor to your site, you can be sure that I will also be an avid member of your forum – should you decide to go that route!
    Keep up the good work :-)

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  • Thanks, Iron-Hide. I’m going to hold you to your promise! You’d most certainly be an asset there. I’m worried that the forum will be a miserable failure with only one member (me!), so at least I now have some assurance that I won’t be talking to the wall. :-)

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  • Avatar of meijin

    does java work in x9500 properly?

    and can i use office applications properly, i read basic office applications can be done. what does it mean by “basic”?

    Reply

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