Upgrading T-Mobile Ameo to Windows Mobile 6

Wow. I really didn’t see this coming: T-Mobile offering upgrades for Windows Mobile phones.

After months and months of “no”, “we can’t do that”, “we won’t be doing that”, and “no, that’s not a good idea”, they started making Windows Mobile 6 upgrades available! Either they sneaked this out quietly, or I just completely missed the lead-up to it (to be honest, entirely possible). First I heard was when Jason Langridge blogged about it yesterday.

I upgraded my HTC Advantage last night, and have been playing with Windows Mobile 6 for a day now.

It’s very sweet.

The good (I’ve not seen for myself – it’s still too soon)

Better battery life

More reliable – a bunch of fixes for bugs in WM5

The cool

Outlook can display HTML emails now. Okay, so HTML emails suck, but people still use them, and it’s nice to be able to read them.

Windows Update means you get future updates without relying on T-Mobile to decide to provide them

Calendar app now includes a nice scrolling-ribbon thing that lets you visualise your day

Native support for encrypting files on removable storage

Without exception, my Windows Mobile 5 apps all work just as before. (Phew). Even the ones that I wrote. (Double-phew).

The nice

It’s prettier.

The default system sounds are much better.

Small touches – so many that I can’t list them all, but lots of fixes for little niggles that bugged me in WM5. Using the Start Menu doesn’t make a really loud click/snap noise that you can’t disable (hurrah!). The Soft-Key action button for email and SMS messages is now ‘Delete’ instead of ‘Reply’ (this saves time – I delete far more emails than I reply to!).

The weird

There seems to be a pause when you press the Power button before it actually turns on/off.

Is it smaller than WM5? I seem to have more storage than I used to…?

The slightly annoying

Office creates files in the new Office 2007 docx/xlsx file formats by default, and the setting to save files in standard doc/xls formats is fairly well hidden (It is there… it just took me a while to find it. Possibly it’s not well hidden, and I’m just a cretin). I send Word documents written on my phone to people nearly every week, and if I started sending docx files to them that’d be pretty much useless. (I know you can download and install a file converter for Office 2003, but that’s a fairly scary prospect for non-techies)

Outlook deletes downloaded emails from POP servers by default. My phone is my place for triaging email, not the final resting home for it – so I was annoyed to lose a bunch of emails that way today. You can change this in Settings though – a new setting, as in WM5 ‘leave emails on the server’ was the only possible behaviour.

The ugly

What happened to ‘Recognize’? The Notes app in WM5 included a handwriting recognition feature, which didn’t do too bad with my scrawl. It seems to have vanished in WM6.

The T-Mobile colour-branding. Eurgh… why do they think I want pink everywhere? Even on dialogs and controls I can’t change the colour for, like the Connections Manager.

I like

In short, I’m liking the upgrade. I know a lot of people knocked WM6 for not having anything earth-shattering in it, but to be honest, if all it offered over WM5 was being more reliable and with a better battery life, that’d be enough for me. Everything else is a bonus. 🙂

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