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Summary:

While I was benchmarking the latest UMPC, James got his first impressions up on the REDFLY mobile companion. I spent some time this morning with my pre-production loaner unit and wanted to comment on the setup process. Often, poor instructions or a challenging setup can just […]

Redfly_setupWhile I was benchmarking the latest UMPC, James got his first impressions up on the REDFLY mobile companion. I spent some time this morning with my pre-production loaner unit and wanted to comment on the setup process. Often, poor instructions or a challenging setup can just kill a device’s out-of-the-box experience. Not the case with the REDFLY and it emphasizes a thought James has already shared: the simplicity of the device is essentially a feature.I called upon my career days as a hands-on Quality Assurance tester and followed the included instructions to the letter and they worked to perfection. Essentially, I just downloaded the REDFLY software on the loaner AT&T Tilt right over the air and then USB-tethered the smartphone to the plugged in REDFLY. That was it; the REDFLY pulled the drivers it needed right from the phone and in 15 seconds from the time I connected the phone, I saw the above screen. Very impressive.

Not everyone will want to use a USB cable between their Windows Mobile smartphone and the REDFLY so I hit the Bluetooth setup instructions next. Basically, it was just a matter of hitting the REDFLY settings on the Windows Mobile device and authorizing the detected device. Of course, you have to enable Bluetooth on the phone first. To be honest, I cheated when following the instructions, just to see if I could. Instead of running through the appropriate settings directly the phone, I simply did everything right through the REDFLY since it has to be USB tethered for this process. Through the REDFLY, I turned on the phone’s Bluetooth radio via the Wireless Manager and then modified the REDFLY settings. Worked like a charm and couldn’t be any easier in my experience.Redfly_settingsOnce the settings were modified, all I had to do was hit the F12 button on the REDFLY to activate the Bluetooth. Pressing it started the pairing process and in about five seconds, the devices were wirelessly connected. At this point, it’s just a matter of pulling the USB cord. There’s no authorization input required from the user as it looks like the software uses the MAC addresses directly. Simple and effective.Although I’ve focused on the setup experience, I should quickly mention that in my brief usage so far, I see little difference in the device responsiveness when using Bluetooth vs. USB. The REDFLY supports Bluetooth data transfer at up to 1 Mbps which looks to be fast enough. I realize however, that I’m moving minimal data so far. I’ll have to revisit this when using an application that’s a little more data intensive. Did someone say Slingbox?

  1. Did someone say Slingbox?

    Why yes, they did! :)

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  2. I think you guys should state the specs of that phone you’re pairing with. There must be a lowest-limit where using the Redfly wouldn’t work due to too-little CPU power. Do you guys have other WM phones hanging around that you can try to make work?

    I still say FAIL!

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  3. Mike, I’m using an AT&T Tilt; specs can be found online. It’s a valid point that the REDFLY is only as good as the Windows Mobile device that “powers” it.

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  4. Couldn’t essentially the same experience be created by connecting the phone to a laptop computer with some special software, avoiding the need to pay $500 or so for this device?

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  5. A similar experience is possible and I already have software in mind that I’ve used before. More to follow on that topic in the near future… I’d like to spend more time using the review device before I suggest an alternative solution. It would be short-sighted of me to do so.

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  6. >>>Mike, I’m using an AT&T Tilt; specs can be found online.

    BAH! I should have known a Fiend like you would make me do work!! YOUR work!! Ha!

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  7. now we need a driver to print from windows mobile device

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  8. Sure, ‘almost’ full experiece of the redfly can be obtained by using special software for pocket pcs, but, those apps cannot increase ur device’s resolution. Also, the laptops dont have such great battery life. Also, the redfly has VGA output port so you dont need to copy the files from ur ppc to your laptop to make them project to the projector because the redfly itself has a VGA out port :)

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  9. I don’t think I have seen particular mention in any of the JKontherun reviews about the great convergence in time of the move to the cloud for office apps and storage and the introduction of the Redfly. I would like to see how you could leverage your cloud experience with this device and if it would actually prove its utility.

    As for printing, didn’t you guys point out that the Tilt now has bluetooth printing:
    http://jkontherun.blogs.com/jkontherun/2007/09/htc-tytn-ii-off.html

    Steve

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  10. How does this device compare to using the HTC Advantage alone with just a paired BT keyboard and mouse. I use mine this way and it is phenomenal. I sacrifice very little with email, word processing, excel, even powerpoint (Using Softmaker Office), and internet. The keyboard and mouse run $150-200 together vs $500 for the Redfly. Plus the advantage offers VGA output and I convert to touch mode very easily. Between the price and my HTC Advantage with GSM, I cant say that I will be buying.

    I will say that If you do the math…the Redfly does come out cheaper than buying the Advantage with BT keyboard and mouse ($500 vs $800-1000), so it maybe a good option for those of us that havent already forked over the $$$ for the Advantage. Touch screen and “tablet” conversion would be pretty enticing.

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