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Summary:

Say what you will the HTC Advantage is an interesting device that is trying to figure out what it wants to be when it grows up.  Or maybe it won’t grow up and will just stay a small notebook-like PDA.  I think the Advantage is having […]

Say what you will the HTC Advantage is an interesting device that is trying to figure out what it wants to be when it grows up.  Or maybe it won’t grow up and will just stay a small notebook-like PDA.  I think the Advantage is having a hard time figuring out what it is, a speakerphone, Skype machine, PDA, blogging machine or an ebook reader.  Actually it is all of these and more.  I decided to put the Advantage through its paces all day today so here’s how it went.

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First thing this morning I picked up the Advantage and used it inlaptop mode with the snap on keyboard.  I fired up Google Reader inInternet Explorer and quickly went through over 200 RSS items ofinterest.  I used my finger to scroll down the list thanks to thepanning added by Pocket Plus 4 andtapped items I wanted to add a star to for later reading.  The wholeprocess took me less than ten minutes with the fast HSDPA connectionwith AT&T.  After processing my feeds I checked the email from mythree email accounts, two POP accounts and one Exchange Serveraccount.  I quickly fired off replies to those emails that required itusing the little keyboard.  I had forgotten how easy it is to tap outstuff on this keyboard.   After completing this it was time to head outfor my day so I threw the Advantage in the front pocket of my gear bagand off I went.

Once I got settled into my car I pulled out the Advantage and fired up the GPS using TeleNav.  I entered in my first stop of the day about 25 miles away and the Advantage talked me all the way to my meeting.  I tapped the mute button, put the Advantage back in my bag and headed into the meeting.  I used my HP 2710p Tablet PC to take notes in the meeting as usual and everything went well.  The cool thing about the Advantage in this process is how it was sitting in my bag the whole time connecting to the network to retrieve email when needed.  Once meeting time was over I had time to head to a local coffee shop before my next meeting so I instructed TeleNav to find the nearest coffee shop and it pointed me to one I had never seen before.  I find the POI searching in TeleNav to be better than that on the TomTom I normally use.

Once in the coffee shop I needed to do some heavy email replies and I wanted to get some writing done so I pulled out the Stowaway Bluetooth keyboard and it connected to the Advantage as soon as it was opened and I hit a key.  I worked for about thirty minutes this way and had to stop several times as people stopped to ask me what "that thing" is.  The Advantage attracts more attention and creates more excitement than just about any other device I have used.  People immediately see that it could replace a laptop in some settings (like the coffee shop) and that interests quite a few people.  When I wasn’t giving demos of the Advantage I got a lot of writing done using Word.  The full keyboard and Word made it just as productive as if I used a laptop and it always makes me feel cool to use it this way.  Once my writing was done I processed some email and my RSS feeds and it was time to go.

My next meeting went much as the first with the exception of my forgetting to mute the volume.  Right after the meeting started my bag started beeping to notify me of the meeting I was sitting in.  I had to take the Advantage out of my bag and dismiss the reminder which led to a bunch of oohs and aahs about the Advantage, something I have gotten very used to happening.  The meeting was delayed a few minutes getting started as I passed the Advantage around the table for all to see and play with.  This never fails to happen.

Cimg0307This was my last meeting of the day so I headed out to lunch and while I ate my General Tso chicken I read my ebook on the Advantage.  If I am sitting in a chair somewhere reading I flip the Advantage into portrait mode for reading but while eating like this I leave it in clamshell mode so I can eat and flip pages with the arrow key on the keyboard.  I can read nicely as the screen is at a comfortable angle and not have to hold the device which is good since my hands are very busy.  :)  I use eReader Pro for my ebooks and the newest version is really nice.  The reader has been given a facelift and the ability to buy books directly from the Advantage is really nice.  It’s my favorite reader by far and especially on the big screen of the Advantage.  Once my meal was properly consumed I checked my email and headed for home to get some real work done.

Once in my office I fired up Resco Radio on the Advantage and turned on my Plantronics 590A Bluetooth headset (Facebook video) and listened to some smooth jazz while working on the MacBook Pro.  I had a lot of boring financial work to do so the music was a nice way to get through that.  I worked this way for about two hours and then decided to call it a day.  The rest of the evening I watched some football on TV while sitting with the Advantage to keep up with email.  I read some more in my ebook from time to time and made a few calls to family members using the Plantronics headset and the Advantage.  I plugged the HTC Advantage in to charge as my day ended and I headed up to bed.

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  1. Any reason other than scrolling that you use IE instead of Opera? After reading the Advantage browser comparison review at this site – http://www.pocketables.net/2007/09/browser-perform.html – I always choose Opera. The Netfront times were pretty good too but I think Opera loads pages better.

    Do you use desktop or mobile version of google reader?

  2. I love that the Advantage is so versatile, but having to keep it in your gear bag instead of your pocket is the main reason I just can’t see myself dropping $1000 on it without a second thought. It’s great for power business users moving down from a laptop, but for someone like myself who wants to move up from PDA/phone and is cross-shopping $300-$400 smartphones, it’s a huge sticking point.

    I think 3.5-4 inch screen and slide/tilt keyboard may be the sweet spot HTC needs to aim for with the next generation if they expect to realistically go against the iPhone and it’s newfound ability to run 3rd party programs. The thought of OpenOffice running on an iPhone should scare the bejeezus out of HTC.

  3. James Kendrick Tuesday, October 30, 2007

    Chris R, I do like Opera a lot but since installing Pocket Plus 4 I find myself using IE more and more. The panning is a natural way to move around big web pages and since Pocket Plus adds tabbed browsing it IE it’s pretty heady stuff. Windows Mobile 6 brought some nice changes to IE and it works pretty well.

    Keith, HTC makes several sliders like you describe you want so you should check them out.

  4. Have you tried using the “Notes” application to ink on the Advantage?

    I know it’s a far cry from journal but the meetings seemed to be the only times you couldn’t substitute your tablet for the advantage. And those notes would just be transfered to Onenote on the next hotsync anyway.

  5. James Kendrick Tuesday, October 30, 2007

    There is pretty good ink support in the Notes app in Pocket Informant but the sophisticated inking in OneNote on the Tablet PC cannot be substituted for me.

  6. What keyboard are u using? I called stowaway and they dont support WM6 yet, which is what I have on my Advantage. I have the ultraslim BT keyboard and mouse and it would be incredible to use with the Advantage. Is your Advantage running WM5? If not, what keyboard are you using to type with. Thanks.

  7. James Kendrick Tuesday, October 30, 2007

    WM 6 (and WM5 too, I believe) supports Bluetooth keyboards natively.No drivers needed. I am using the full keyboard from iGo which works great.

  8. i sold mine , but not because i did not love it. i’ll tell you what i love obout these devices. i use a boxwave vesa charger that i carry around and charge power anytime and anywhere i need it. i also have an extra double AA batery charger as well if i need it. i think it performed fantastic, BUT. it just isn’t a computer. i am in the financial business (wallstreet) and every 2 days or so i needed acss to aeither a program or a website that i just couldn’t log into or use. that was my problem. the iphone actually was able to log into all the web sites i needed, but the real computer is still the only one that can run programs. so for me, the pc is the way to go. i currently have a pre order for the SHIFT in and i hope in combination with a portable pwer supply it can do the trick for me.

  9. I tried connecting by BT keyboard natively. The device recognizes the keyboard and mouse, but it wont let me connect. I get hung up on the passcode screen (The Next button wont highlight). I emailed IGO. Anyother suggestions? Thanks.

  10. What service and SIM card did you use on the Advantage? Can you swap out a SIM from the Iphone and use it in the Advantage? I am getting mixed messages, one person told me absolutely, then someone else said that the Data plan for an Iphone is not enough for the Advantage, and I would have to get the more expensive $40 data add-on package (from AT&T) to take full advantage (no pun intended).

    Any advice?

    Thanks!

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