Find an Active Sync Mobile Phone

How do you find a new cell phone that can sync well with Exchange?

I love my Qtek 8500 (HTC StrTrk). Even though it has now been over two years since I first got it I haven’t been able to find anything like it to replace it. And it needs to be replaced. Not only because I like new gadgets but also because the front panel came off and I had to glue it back on myself, the extra memory card has stopped working, the signal fails all the time, it hangs and last week a sat on it so the external display is now broken.

So what’s so great about it? I would say three things

  • Exchange synchronization, i.e. Email, Calendar, Contacts and Tasks
  • The small clam shell/flip flop form factor. Before this phone I had never had one but now I would never want to go back
  • Windows Contacts navigation – I love the way results show up as you type. This must be a Microsoft patent as no one else uses this great navigation/look up functionality

Why is it so hard to find a replacement? Well, first of all I want it to be a Windows Mobile which directly limits the choice. Then add that I want it to be clam shell and this limits the choice to almost nothing.

There has been rumors of a 8500 successor, a 3G version – the HTC S420 Erato. But the rumor has been going for over a year and the expected release date has been postponed time after time after time… And there is yet to be an official announcement from HTC.

So, I have decided to give in on it having to be a Windows phone as long as it has good Exchange Synchronization.

But why is it so hard to find out what phones are Windows Mobile or support Active Sync?

  • On Microsoft’s Windows Mobile Homepage you can search for devices but it is far from complete (at least for Sweden)
  • Samsung have Windows Mobile phones, but I cannot find a way to find out which from their home page (Swedish market)
  • I know Nokia has phones with Active Sync but how can I find out which?
  • It is the same with Sony Ericsson, they have Active Sync support for some phones, but how can I find them? They have also announced their first Windows Mobile phone, the Xperia X1 which should be available later this year.

I emailed Sony Ericsson and got a reply where they in fact confirm that this information cannot be found for all models on their home page. But they also gave me a list of current phones with Active Sync:

That last one – the z770 – looks like something I might actually want.

The only question that remains – is Active Sync on other brands as good as it is on Windows Mobile?

Flight Mode, Kiss Firmware Update and a House

Qtek 8500 Flight Mode
I just found out that my Qtek 8500 phone actually does seem to have Flight Mode (contrary to my previous post).
On the Home Screen simply navigate to the Operator and Time bar and click it. This takes you to the Comm Manager where option 1 allows you to turn off the Phone. Do I feel stupid… but happy!

Kiss DP-558 Firmware 1.1.7
After checking the Hi-Jack forum for pitfalls I upgraded my Kiss DP-558 to the new 1.1.7 firmware the other day. Seems to be working fine, I have not found any improvements or bugs. Of course the (too) superfast Fast Forward is not fixed yet 🙁

A House!
We bought a house yesterday! Of course it cost too much money and after living in apartments my whole adult life something tells me this is the beginning of a new era of constant fixing things on the house. We’re not moving in until February 2007 so I have time to adjust to that thought…
Now, anybody interested in buying an apartment?

New phone – Qtek 8500

During this summer’s vacation I left my cell phone on the top of the car roof and drove away… Needless to say I needed to get a new phone. I was very happy with my Qtek 8310 but in the small town of Karlskrona where we were at the moment, I had to visit several mobile phone stores before I finally found one that sold Windows Mobile phones. This time I bought the Qtek 8500 (aka HTC Str Trk or HTC Star Trek) which is basically the same phone as the 8310 but with a few diffrences:

1. Smaller form factor
Imo a better form factor – it’s a flip-flop model (or clam shell or whatever you want to call it) that is slightly smaller and lighter than the 8310 but it feels a lot smaller.

2. No Flight Mode
I wish it had flight mode but for me this is not a huge thing.
[Updated: It does have flight mode, see this post]

3. No Wireless LAN
Wlan was one of the major resons I bought the 8310 but it turned out I almost never used it anyway. If I kept it on it drained the battery quickly whenver there was no wlan available so I had to keep turning it on and off which of course got too tideous so I just left it off.

4. Shorter Battery Time
This of course is not good but I think it’s an ok drawback considering you get a better form factor. I charge the battery more or less every night and as long as I don’t have to charge it more often than that it’s ok.

Also none of the stuff I already got for the 8310 works for the 8500 – charger, headsets, data cables etc. It also uses the microSD memory card instead of the miniSD the 8310 uses.
Anyway I love the 8500, for me it’s a great phone.

I’m not too sure about the quality though – the screen stopped working after about two weeks or so. After almost three weeks at the service center I just got it back. During those three weeks they loaned me an old Qtek S100 and this made me even happier with my choice of phone – the Qtek S100 is a PDA with a phone function, not a phone. It has no keyboard so you have to use the stylus whenever you need to look up a contact or even make a call. When I returned the S100 I wanted to do a hard reset to erase all my passwords, contacts, emails etc. It took me awhile to figure out how – first I had to find out that it was also sold as the HTC Magician, another Google then got me the instructions:

HTC Magician / Dopod 818 / Q-tek S100 / T-Mobile MDA Compact / O2 xda II mini / i-mate JAM:
While holding down the power button press in on the reset button (reset hole) with your stylus for about 5 seconds.

The reset hole is a tiny hole located at the bottom right of the S100.

By the way, Qtek is now sold under the HTC brand worldwide and they have launched several new Windows Mobile phones including models with 3G (HTC MTEOR) and GPS capabilities.

Qtek 8310 Smartphone and Windows Media Player Sync

I’ve had my Qtek 8310 Smartphone for a couple of months now and I thought I’d setup Windows Media Player (WMP10) synchronization to make my life a little easier.
It seemed easy enough to set it up, I just checked to sync Media in ActiveSync 4.1 and followed the on-screen instructions to complete the setup from the WMP Sync tab. However, on the sync tab I got a message saying “No Device has been Detected”. After some Googling I finally found this Microsoft Knowledge Base article that solved the problem. Basically you go in to Add/Remove programs, select ActiveSync and then do a repair and restart Windows.

While I was at it I decided to find out how to change the Device Name (ie my phones name) in Active Sync. I found this discussion thread that describes some tools to do it or that you go in to your phones registry and change the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Ident\Name entry. Since there is no Registry Editor included in WM5 I downloaded Mobile Registry Editor 1.1 which is one of the tools suggested in the thread. It worked like a charm. One thing I really liked about this tool is that there was no installation necessary, I don’t like installing stuff as it has a tendency to mess up my computer… In this case I just unzipped the three files to my Desktop and ran the exe from there.
Ok so that worked out well, but this should be way easier don’t you think? According to some of the info I came across while searching for this answer, you could do it from the UI in Pocket PC 2003.

I’m actually quite happy with my phone, only a few minor disappointments…
Before I bought it I didn’t realize that there are different editions of Windows Mobile 5 (WM5) – the Pocket PC and the Smartphone edition. The Smartphone edition is for devices with keyboard only (no pointing device/stylus) and smaller screen. There are some differences that do make sense and then there are those that don’t.
Into the latter category falls one thing that is very limiting to me: You cannot work with Tasks well in a Smartphone. First of all you can’t show them on your Home Screen (I tried some 3rd party tools but these did not work well). Second, if you create a Task on your phone you cannot set Due Date and Reminder. Third, Reminders don’t even show up on your phone (not sure if they do this in the Pocket PC edition either).
To end on a positive note, if you’re running Exchange with SP2 you can at least sync Tasks over the air (I cradle my phone once a week at the most).