TyTN-ic endeavors

Recently I got myself a HTC TyTN aka HTC Hermes aka XDA trion, as a replacement for my cell-phone and for the fun of having more computer in the pocket now than on the desk ten years ago.

Although I already started to praise the TyTN’s mighty feature list, I won’t go into that here. Let’s just say, it has a LOT of good features, including UMTS/HSDPA, Bluetooth (inkl. support for stereo headsets), 802.11b/g (including WPA/TKIP), a usable QWERTY keyboard (QWERTZ in Germany), the usual QVGA touchscreen and runs Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PC Phone Edition.

Since I’m having some trouble with the device, I thought it would be best to dump my comments on those here, for later reference.

  1. A USIM card is needed to use UMTS. I didn’t know that and my provider didn’t tell (but sold the data plan anyway).
  2. Initially, the stylus won’t release easily. After a few days, a little piece of soft, transparent plastic falls out of the stylus compartment and then the stylus goes in and out more easily.
  3. The showstopper(well, for me at least): Some devices may have trouble detecting the SIM card, when booting up or also when running. The device then locks up and drains the battery. Not good for a mobile phone when you want to be available or make an emergent call or use the alarms to remind you of important appointments.
  4. The out-of-the-box ringtones and sounds are awful.
  5. Caller-specific or caller-group-specific ringtones are not supported.
  6. There’s no good key-lock. Either you turn it off using on/off, which shut’s of Windows Media Player or you use "Lock device", which blocks the headset’s attention button.
  7. There is no right-shift key on the keyboard.
  8. The German translation of Windows Mobile is acceptable, the phone software’s translation is borderline. Probably so due to the original being Chinese.
  9. The device comes with a stereo-headset, that uses a proprietary mini-USB connector to connect to the TyTN. But it isn’t a USB-headset. It’s analog and has it’s connections on the "other" side of the connector. So you cannot use it when charging or sync-ing with the PC via USB. Also, in the supplied leather-case, the connector stands out and is the breaking part when things get rough and might even take the device’s connector with it.
  10. The leather-case has two strong magnets that keep it shut. These may damage ATM and credit-cards and they already have.
  11. The display size is 2.8" (46mm x 60mm) and it’s hard to get reasonably priced quality screen protectors (Non-adhesive to be preferred; otherwise, hard to get on without bubbles).
  12. It’s not fast. Everything takes time, e.g. loading an MIDI-ringtone on an incoming call takes roughly 3 seconds.
  13. For WiFi, WPA2 (AES instead of TKIP) is not supported. And I didn’t get LEAP authentication to work against a Cisco-AP, although it’s just a dialect of PEAP and there’s even an (undocumented) configuration screen for LEAP credentials.
  14. ActiveSync does not support backup/restore for Windows Mobile 5.0 devices.
  15. The support chain is impossible and roadblocks are all over the way. No downloads from Microsoft, no downloads from HTC and the service provider is just a phone company. They don’t even know what freaking words like burning and flash update mean (Who does, anyway?).
  16. Bluetooth on HP notebooks is a royal pain but I readily admit that’s not the TyTN’s fault.

The TyTN is a great device and I love it (say, as much as a naughty child). But I can’t wait to get it replaced by something that’s actually useable.

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