Exploring Windows Mobile 2003

In the July 2 edition of Networking UPDATE: Mobile & Wireless Edition ( http://www.mobile-and-wireless.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=39480 ), John D. Ruley introduced Windows Mobile 2003 for the Pocket PC. I've been using this new OS for more than 2 months, so I want to share my experiences with you. Windows Mobile's benefits fall into three categories: It offers a better wireless experience, it's a terrific PDA for email and messaging, and it provides an expanded digital media experience. (For a general overview of Windows Mobile, visit http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/default.mspx .) I can vouch for the better wireless experience. My General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)-enabled device now stays connected all day and automatically reconnects if it's disconnected. This improved connectivity gives my device similar functionality to that of Research In Motion's (RIM's) BlackBerry device. Setting up the GPRS connection and any relevant VPN connections is now highly simplified, with easy click-and-connect functionality. The impressive Wi-Fi features let me auto-detect and connect to wireless LANs (WLANs), giving me WLAN functionality that rivals that of Windows XP. Connections also seem to be more reliable, rarely failing to connect and handling errors more effectively, followed by typically successful attempts to reconnect. The messaging functionality is terrific. My email is configured to synchronize every 5 minutes with my Microsoft Exchange Server mailbox through Server ActiveSync. I've set my device to vibrate when new mail arrives. Additionally, I've set the 5-minute interval for only peak hours (9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.); during off-peak hours, the device synchronizes every hour. I've found that data usage within these scenarios averages about 1MB per day. If I want to reduce data consumption, I can reduce not only the synchronization frequency but also the amount of each email message that gets synchronized to the device. By default, the first 0.5KB of each message gets downloaded. Another feature that I've grown to truly appreciate is the built-in MSN Messenger. Thanks to sheer email fatigue, I've begun using Instant Messaging (IM) more in recent months. I can set MSN Messenger in Windows Mobile to permit single sign-on (SSO) functionality after I establish a wireless connection, so I can stay logged onto MSN Messenger. If someone sends me an instant message, the device beeps and I can begin a chat session. Overall, MSN Messenger provides an improved messaging experience. Recently, I've also begun to use the new digital media tools--in particular, the Microsoft Plus! Sync & Go tool that's part of the Plus! Digital Media Edition for XP. This application lets me select the audio and video media channels that I want to receive. Then, when I connect to my laptop through ActiveSync, the media content automatically goes to my device's storage card. I can then listen to music and view the latest news while I'm on the go. For example, I subscribe to the "Today Show" channel. This morning, when I connected my Windows Mobile device, Sync and Go downloaded key show segments to my Pocket PC device. While out of the office, I watched the segments, which boasted above-average video/audio quality. Windows Mobile offers great improvements that can benefit any mobile user. Next time, I'll look at some statistics regarding the growth of the Pocket PC platform and Windows Mobile.

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