T-Mobile Wing with WM6 Professional

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INTRODUCTION

    Today T-Mobile USA has
announced the successor to their successful MDA
Pocket PC Phone with a slide-out keyboard. The
T-Mobile Wing brings a few very welcome improvements
as well as the bragging rights for being the first
Windows Mobile 6 Professional device available in
North America. As you may have heard, T-Mobile
already released the first Windows Mobile 6 Standard
device as a ROM upgrade to their popular
Dash smartphone. Kudos go to T-Mobile for being the first
to support the new operating system.

    The T-Mobile Wing is
actually based on HTC's "Atlas" design which is very
similar to their "Herald" design and HTC's own
P4350. Read on to see if this will be your next phone.

WHAT’S HOT

    In terms of the T-Mobile Wing as a
replacement to the T-Moble MDA (i-mate K-JAM),
the biggest advantage is the size. The Wing is about
1/3 thinner which brings it down to about the size
of the original HTC Magician (i-mate JAM).
This is great news as generally the Pocket PC Phones
with sliding keyboards have been very thick. The
second biggest advantage is the new software. As for its
specifications, it’s got Bluetooth 2.0, 201Mhz TI
850 OMAP
CPU, 128Mb ROM, 64Mb RAM, Windows Mobile 6
Professional, 2.8" 240x320px 64K color screen, Quadband GSM/EDGE, 802.11b/g, and a
2MP camera.  

Device (no cover)
Size (inches)
Weight (grams |
ounces)
T-Mobile Wing
4.29" x 2.32" x 0.67
168 | 5.92
3.99" x 1.96" x 0.69"
140 | 4.93
4.96" x 2.65" x 0.57"
160 | 6.40
4.62" x 2.34" x 0.77"
165 | 5.82
4.40" x 2.50" x 0.50"
120 | 4.20
4.37" x 2.28" x 0.87"
154 | 5.40
4.40" x 2.30" x 0.90"
180 | 6.40
4.44" x 2.34" x 0.61"
146 | 5.14
4.33" x 2.52" x 0.45"
115 | 4.05
4.80" x 2.79" x 0.86"
160 | 6.40
4.37" x 2.28" x 0.86"
154 | 5.40
4.18" x 2.31" x 0.68"
150 | 5.30
4.25" x
2.28"
x 0.64"
127 | 4.48
4.80" x 2.88" x 0.76"
186 | 6.56
4.60" x 2.79" x 0.82"

165 | 5.82

4.25" x 2.28" x 0.93"
160 | 5.64
4.92" x 2.81" x
0.71"
210 | 7.40
4.18" x 2.31" x 0.68"

150 | 5.30

4.70" x 2.90" x 0.70"
175 | 6.20
4.60" x 3.21" x 0.58"

138 | 4.80

5.17" x 3.03" x 0.59"
187 | 6.60
4.50" x 2.80" x 0.64"
158 | 5.57

WHAT’S IN
THE BOX

    The T-Mobile Wing comes with all the usual
suspects: a USB sync cable, AC
adapter, stereo headphones with talk button/mic/volume
control, stereo headphone/power Y-cable adapter, belt clip case,
screen protector, software CD including ActiveSync
and a trial version of Microsoft Outlook 2007,
extensive
manual, Getting Started guide, Tips & Tricks
pamphlet, and extra stylus. I was very impressed
that T-Mobile included the Y adapter and an adhesive
screen protector. I would have listed those as
essential accessories had they not been included. It
was a bit disappointing to see only a trial version
of Outlook 2007 on the included CD however. Then
again, who doesn't already have Outlook installed?

(all images link to higher resolution)


 

THE DEVICE

    One thing you'll notice right away when
you pick up the T-Mobile Wing is the soft, smooth,
rubbery body. This type of covering was originally
introduced with the HTC Prophet (i-mate
JAMin
), and has found its way into many of the
newer HTC devices including

T-Mobile's Dash
. It really feels great in your
hand; it doesn't feel like cheap plastic or cold
metal. It just feels comfortable, and that's good.
Don't be surprised if you find yourself petting it.

    In addition to
sharing the "soft touch" body skin with the

T-Mobile Dash
, The Wing is also built to be
quite sturdy. While I wouldn't call it "rugged",
this device feels like it could take a fall without
splitting at its seams. It doesn't feel like any
part of this could become loose or flimsy over time. 


 

    If you look closely at the paint
job on the T-Mobile Wing (click above photo to look
closely), you'll see that it's actually two tones
consisting of blue and black flakes. This makes for
an interesting effect reminiscent of Chromaflair
paint… meaning in certain lighting conditions the
device may appear closer to a matte black with blue highlights, while
other times it may appear bright blue. The coloring
is similar to what was on the back of the

Treo 750
. I actually wished for a
similar type of two-tone coloring design in my

UDA article
in 2003. 


The sliding keyboard has large
buttons that are very easy to use. There are also
two soft keys at the top underneath the screen. On
the MDA, these buttons were spaced out more. While
here they're closer to the screen positions they
represent, they're smaller and more difficult to
find and press with your thumbs without looking at
the keyboard.


Unlike the HTC Herald P4350, the
T-Mobile Wing has a circular concave directional pad
which you can easily feel for proper button presses.


The keyboard now includes Cap and
Alt indicator LEDs making it easier to tell when
you'll be typing letters or symbols or capital
letters.


 

    On the left side, there's a
camera button, a volume slider, a soft-reset hole,
and a rubber cover for the MicroSD slot. The tip of
the rubber cover sticks out a bit so that you can
open it, but I don't like it there since it impairs
the smoothness of the sides.


 

    At the bottom, you'll see the ExtUSB
connector, a microphone hole, and the stylus slot on the right. The ExtUSB
connector is used for everything including Audio,
Charging, and Syncing. If you want to charge the
device while also playing music a Y-splitter adapter
has been included. The ExtUSB connector is also
covered by a rubber plug. I understand this is to
keep dirt and moisture out, but I really hate having
to open this up every time I want to plug the device
into the car or computer.


 

The right side includes an email
button and Voice Command button. You can also see
the end of the stylus on the bottom.


 

The top end of the T-Mobile Wing only has
a power button.


 

    On the back is the 2 Megapixel
camera, along with the reflection mirror and speaker
grill. The black
rubber area on the left covers a plug for an external GSM antenna.
Note the "MyFaves" icon indicating this is a MyFaves
compatible phone.


    The entire back plate of the
device slides of with some pressure to reveal the SIM card
slot and battery. While the SIM card is not
underneath the battery, the battery needs to be
removed in order for you to switch the latch that
keeps the SIM card secure.


The MicroSD card slot can be
accessed without having to open the back and remove
the battery.


 

The T-Mobile Wing is a worthy replacement to the
T-Mobile MDA.


 

Here you'll see from left to right,
the

i-mate K-JAM
,

i-mate JAMin
,
HTC P3300,
and T-Mobile Wing.


 

Here you can see a comparison of
the thickness. On top is the
T-Mobile Wing, then the
i-mate JAMin
(HTC Prophet)
,
and


i-mate K-JAM
(HTC Wizard)
.


 

Here's another thickness
comparison with the
HTC P3300 (middle) and the

Qtek 8500

(top).




INTEGRATED SOFTWARE

   Since the T-Mobile Wing is the
first device released in the USA with Windows Mobile
6 Professional, we’ll go over a few of both
T-Mobile’s and HTC’s custom enhancements, as well as
some operating system enhancements from Microsoft.

 

    T-Mobile has included a number of memory-resident
programs and today screen plug-ins. At the top is
"TMO ONS" which shows the network name, date, and
WiFi/Bluetooth status. This is a pretty nice
replacement to the date Today Screen item. Next you
have the "MyFaves" plug-in. This shows the photos
for your 5 "MyFaves" as well as their names and how
many unread messages are from each. For those who
are unfamiliar, the "MyFaves"
rate plans from T-Mobile allow you to pick 5 people
on any network with any phone number, and all your
calls to those people will be free no matter how
long or how often you call them. You can change your
5 favorite people once a month. Setting up
which people are your favorites requires a "MyFaves"
compatible phone. If you put a SIM card in the
T-Mobile Wing which does not include the MyFaves
service, then the MyFaves application won't work and
the Today Screen plug-in will disappear.

    Below that
is a Media Player today screen plug-in, then a Set
Up E-Mail plug in. And lastly is the T-zones plug-in
which merely brings you to the T-zones application.
Of course, you can shut all of these off from the
Today Screen control panel. Lastly, I don't know if
this is part of Windows Mobile 6 or something that
was added, if you just start typing a name it will
switch to the phone dialer and list your contacts
matching that part of the name so you can quickly
call them. This is a very nice addition.

 

One of the new Today Screen
Plug-ins is a music player interface to the Windows
Media Player
.
This lets you play music and change tracks from the
Today Screen without having to navigate to the Media
Player.

    Setting up your "MyFaves" is very easy. The
software can use the contact photo out of your
existing contact database as synchronized from
Outlook. You have the option to change it at any
time of course, and you’ll probably want to since
the contact photos as synced from Outlook may be too
small to fill the "My Faves" circle frame.
Unfortunately this new version of the "My Faves"
software puts shading and highlights around the
circle to make it look three dimensional, but this
just obscures the person's face too much.

If there's a messages from your MyFaves contacts, it
shows up as a letter icon next to their picture on
the Today Screen and MyFaves application.

The MyFaves application is a cute animated program
that lets you quickly call any of your favorite
people.

The "Log" button on the MyFaves person page shows
messages and phone calls related to that contact.

 

T-Mobile includes a nice "HotSpot Utility"
which makes it easy to automatically log into any T-Mobile WiFi
Hotspot with your login information.

    The "Setup email" application included by T-Mobile
no longer supports or assists in the setup of the
extremely cool E-mail Triggers service. All this
does now is gives you an easy way to set-up 3rd
party email services without having to know all the
settings and such.

    The "T-Zones" application brings up a customized WAP
browser that let's you access T-Mobile specific
WAP web pages and T-Zones sites that you've
customized in your T-Mobile account. Another very
useful features is that you can see your account
usage statistics from here.

The T-Mobile Wing also includes an Instant Messenger program that works with AOL
IM, ICQ, and Yahoo Messenger. Watch out, this
program uses text messages for each message or
log-on, log-off command so make sure you have a good
text messaging plan.

 

    Handango InHand is listed in the Programs folder,
but when you tap it it prompts you to download the
application.  Once that's complete, the icon
now launches the Handango application which is
basically a tool for you to browse and purchase new
Windows Mobile software for your device.

HTC added a nice Task Manager to the Wing. It shows
up in the upper right corner of the Today Screen and
also gives you some great options for how the
Windows Mobile "close" button functions.

The included Adobe Reader LE 2 lets you open PDF
documents either in your file system or received
through email. The performance on this version of
Adobe Reader has been greatly improved over the
first version.

    The Comm Manager mainly handles
Phone, WiFi, and Bluetooth power settings. It also
has a button that toggles the audio settings to
vibrate mode. Then there’s an ActiveSync button that
simply launches ActiveSync and a Beam button for
turning on the capability to receive bluetooth file
transfers.

    When you sign into Windows Live, you have to go
through a number of set up screens. It gives you
options for showing the Live Search bar and Live
applications Today screen plug ins. Personally, I'd
avoid using those since they take up memory and the
Today screen is already very crowded. The set-up
also gives you options for synchronizing Windows
Live email and Windows Live Contacts (including
Messenger contacts). I had over 900 Windows Live
contacts in my account when I signed on and this is
a huge drag when signing onto Windows Live
Messenger. It's nice how you do have the option to
sync these though since it will automatically merge
duplicates with your Outlook data. All of your
Windows Live Contacts/Messenger Contacts will also
show up in the Contacts application. This is both a
blessing and a curse. It's nice that you can do
that, but frankly I don't want them there and
there's no way to use Messenger without having your
contacts dumped into the Contacts application.

    The Windows Live application lets you monitor the
Sync Status, latest emails, and number of online
Windows Live Messenger contacts. There's also a
"Live Search" bar at the top which searches the
internet. This is not to be confused with the "Live
Search" application also included. The Menu gives
you access to account and application options.

    The most interesting item in the Windows Live
Options dialog is the "Sync frequency". By default
it's set to manual, but there's an option for "As
items arrive".  So that means if you have a
Windows Live or Hotmail email account, you've also
got push email on Windows Mobile 6 devices. And yes,
it does work!

    Windows Live Messenger probably represents the most
new features in Windows Mobile 6, but it also
represents the most new bugs. While you've got lots
of excellent new features such as setting your
status before logging in, viewing contact photos,
sending & receiving emoticons/voice
clips/files/photos, viewing contact Spaces, and
Contacts application integration…  many of
those features don't often work properly.
Although, I love the new Voice Clips feature. You
just press the left soft key, start talking, then
press it again when you're finished and your voice
message is instantly sent to the buddy you're
chatting with. It works great even over an EDGE
connection. This is much much easier than typing
your responses.

    Photos for
messenger contacts only appear if they have the
latest version of Windows Live Messenger, and as you
can see in the image above, even that doesn't
guarantee that they'll receive my messages or files.
Often when I log into Messenger it only lists 4 or 6
out of my 48 contacts. I suspect Messenger is also responsible for a memory
leak I've noticed.

    "Live Search" is another new Windows Mobile
application included with the T-Mobile Wing. This
program is like a mobile version of

Windows Live Local
and requires an internet
connection. You can search for whatever you want in
the vicinity of a location. The program lists
businesses or whatnot which might match what you're
looking for. Then you can have the program calculate
directions to those destinations, you can call those
locations, or simply bring up a map of the location.
The maps support both satellite and street views. If
you have a GPS receiver, this program will also
support showing your location on the map, however it will not give you voice
prompts while driving as other navigation programs
will.

Live Search also supports live traffic updates as
you can see on the map above. The only thing missing
is a menu item integrated with Calendar and Contact
items to map their location using Live Search.

    Windows Mobile 6 Professional also comes with the
full version of Microsoft Voice Command 1.6. That
means you get voice recognition and text-to-speech
features. Some of my favorites are the ability to
read incoming text messages and email subjects into
my Bluetooth headset, as well as announcing incoming
callers by their name as matched to my Contacts
database. Of course you can also speak commands to
the software such as "Call Brandon Miniman on
mobile." There's no need to record voice tags, the
software just recognizes plain speech automatically.

 

    The phone dialer application is a
little different than the native Windows Mobile 6
version. This one uses the HTC smart dialing add-on
instead of the one built into Windows Mobile 6. When using the number pad
or keyboard to type
out a persons name or dial a number, the possible letter combinations
are searched and resulting names are displayed
below. Once the name you want is selected, press the
Talk button the phone will dial away.

 

   
When you’re in a call, the screen shows the time
connected along with the caller’s photo, name and
number. The menu button gives you access to
pertinent commands like turning on speakerphone,
hands-free, hold, etc.

 

There's a problem with this
phone's skin that doesn't show the last caller's
photo correctly.

Incoming calls show the caller ID
and photo along with T-Mobile's grey blocks
background.

    The big new thing in the Messaging
application is the support for HTML email. Initially
when you open an HTML email message it does not
download the images and side-scrolling is turned
off. You can see the links at the top of the message
to turn those things on. I know a lot of people have
been waiting for this feature and it's been a long
time coming, but frankly, I think it's a waste. The
people who design HTML emails usually make them way
too wide to be readable on anything other than a
full screen desktop computer. Windows Mobile does
nothing to improve the readability of such HTML
emails, so trying to read a newsletter on a mobile
device is even more frustrating than reading it in
Outlook. Of course, in your account options you can
shut off the HTML email downloading capabilities.

    In the Message list the left soft
key button has been changed from the "New" command
to the "Delete" command. I personally never use my
Mobile devices to delete email since my server-side
spam filters do a pretty good job of keeping the
junk out, so I would have rather kept the "New"
command there. I've hit the delete command by
mistake a couple times, but luckily there's another
confirmation dialog asking if you're sure you want
to delete such and such. Another new annoyance in the Messaging application
is the inability to display a custom number of days
worth of messages. Now you can only choose from the
preset pop-up menu numbers. And the Messaging
application STILL DOES NOT SHOW REPLY OR FORWARD
ICONS, nor does it communicate the reply status of
messages to IMAP or Exchange servers.

 

The MMS integration is even
tighter now with Windows Mobile 6. Now MMS messages
are part of the text messaging account in the
Messaging application.

 

    Media Player 10.3 has a new skin
design, but nothing else has improved. You still
cannot navigate backwards in the Library view using
the hardware buttons!  That is, unless you use
the backspace key on the keyboard, but what's wrong
with assigning the left directional button to the
back button? It's not used for anything else in the
Library view.

    The Calendar application adds a
cool new ribbon feature beneath the day bar showing
time slots for the appointments listed in the Agenda
view. I think this is a great addition since you can
easily see what time slots are available without
having to switch to the Day view. 

The Contacts program is no
different than the Windows Mobile 5.0 version, save
an "Add to Windows Live" command in the menu.
Unfortunately, there's no "Map Address" command here
for Live Search.

There's also a "Voice Notes"
application from HTC. I don't know why we need this
since the regular Windows Mobile "Notes" application
already does this.

 

    ActiveSync lets you configure an Exchange Server to
sync with. You can also sync via Bluetooth from
here. The Wing accepted my custom security
certificate and synced up with my Exchange 2003 SP2
server without any problems at all. Windows Mobile 6
supports some nice new features if you've also got
an Exchange 2007 Server.

The T-Mobile Wing also supports Java applications. 

There's a new control panel in the Settings which
lets you assign a sound effect to the keyboard
sliding mechanism. I decided to shut this off pretty
quickly. 

 


The T-Mobile Wing has a 2 megapixel built-in camera.
It does not have a macro mode like the JAMin or a flash like the K-JAM, but it
works.
The camera interface is full of cryptic icons,
but you should recognize most of them from using
other cameras.



BENCHMARKS

   Spb Benchmark from Spb Software House has not been updated for use
with Windows Mobile 5.0 or 6, which include many changes
for increased performance and battery life (as well
as a different way of working with storage memory),
we can only compare Windows Mobile 5.0/6 devices to
other Windows Mobile 5.0/6 devices. As you can see
from the graphs below, the T-Mobile Wing does
slightly better than similarly featured Windows
Mobile 5 devices. One can only guess whether this is
due to Windows Mobile 6 operating system
enhancements or hardware related enhancements.

 

 

 

BATTERY
    The 1130 mAh battery on maximum backlight during
normal usage
lasted for about 6 hours 23 minutes.  

HELP SUPPORT

    The T-Mobile Wing comes with manuals discussing
basic operation in Windows Mobile as well as the
hardware. You've also got a great full color
"Getting Started" guide and a pocketable "Tips &
Tricks" pamphlet. Furthermore, you can dial 611 from
your T-Mobile phone at any time 24 hours a day 7
days a week to talk to some one about any problems
you may have. You can also walk into any T-Mobile
store for support.

BUGS AND WISHES

   
I wish the T-Mobile Wing was really based on the HTC
Kaiser (which won't be available until later in
2007). I wish it had UMTS, HSDPA, and HSUPA. I wish
the T-Mobile network would finish its support for
those protocols.  I wish the Wing had built-in
GPS and was thinner and lighter. I wish it had the
Trackball-scroll-wheel thing from the HTC P3300. Ah,
well.. that's a lot to ask for. I also don't
like the rubber flaps covering the memory slot and
ExtUSB port, but that's just a personal taste.

    Software-wise,
there's still a few issues with this first
release of Windows Mobile 6 Professional. Mainly I
think the culprit is Windows Live Messenger. It
occasionally loses its connection, some messages
don't get sent, and it doesn't always load all of my
contacts. Furthermore, the Windows Live Contacts
integration is a pain as this is forced upon anyone
who wants to use Messenger. You can't have a Windows
Live Mail account that's different than the
Messenger account you want to log in as either.
There's still plenty of classic problems with the
Messaging application and Windows Media Player as
well. Email reply status is still not communicated
to IMAP or Exchange servers, draft messages still
don't sync with anything, and there's no push IMAP
support.
 Windows Media Player still has
the embarrassing inability to navigate the Library
view with the D-pad.

PURCHASING

    The T-Mobile Wing will be available on May
22nd at the T-Mobile website as well as T-Mobile retail
stores for $299.99 when you sign up for a 2 year
contract.

PROS

  • Thinner than most keyboard slider phones
  • Smooth rubbery blue skin
  • Slide-out keyboard with big buttons
  • Great
    added software from T-Mobile
  • 802.11b/g WiFi
  • Windows Mobile 6 Professional

  • Thinner than most keyboard slider phones
  • Smooth rubbery blue skin
  • Slide-out keyboard with big buttons
  • Great
    added software from T-Mobile
  • 802.11b/g WiFi
  • Windows Mobile 6 Professional
  • Thinner than most keyboard slider phones
  • Smooth rubbery blue skin
  • Slide-out keyboard with big buttons
  • Great
    added software from T-Mobile
  • 802.11b/g WiFi
  • Windows Mobile 6 Professional

CONS

  • 201Mhz TI OMAP850 processor can be slow
  • Not enough
    program memory for all that Windows Mobile 6 offers
  • Buggy
    Windows Live applications
  • No more
    Email Triggers support
  • No 3G UMTS/HSDPA
  • No built in GPS
Value
Ease
of Use
Features

Overall

What
do these ratings mean
?


OVERALL IMPRESSION

    While the technical specifications for
the T-Mobile Wing are not much different than the
old T-Mobile MDA that it replaces, you really can't
get any other Windows Mobile 6 Professional device
in North America today. Though the new thinness and
great build quality are very welcome improvements,
really the Wing is all about being the first with
Windows Mobile 6 Pro. If you're concerned that it
doesn't have 3G internet, well guess what… neither
does T-Mobile. They're still working on it and only
testing it in a small number of Cities. So if you're
outside of those Cities, you're not going to know
what you're missing anyway. Even Cingular/AT&T
doesn't have a very widespread UMTS network in place
in North America yet, so it's not much of an issue.

    
If you're drawn to T-Mobile's new "MyFaves" rate
plans, the Wing supports this fully and beautifully.
I wish it would still support the Email Triggers
feature for selective push email (i.e. only people
you like get emails pushed), but all good things
must come to an end. The new Windows Live features
such as push Hotmail, Instant messenger with voice
clips, and Live Search are sure to be enticing for
consumers.
 

     At first I was a
bit turned off by the blue coloring, but it has
since grown on me. Everyone has black or grey
phones, the dark blue is quite a refreshing change.
And I can't get enough of the "soft touch" skin
covering the device. That combined with the
excellent build quality is sure to make the Wing
very popular with T-Mobile's Windows Mobile fans.  





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About The Author
Adam Z. Lein
Adam has had interests in combining technology with art since his first use of a Koala pad on an Apple computer. He currently has a day job as a graphic designer, photographer, systems administrator and web developer at a small design firm in Westchester, NY. His love of technology extends to software development companies who have often implemented his ideas for usability and feature enhancements. Mobile computing has become a necessity for Adam since his first Uniden UniPro PC100 in 1998. He has been reviewing and writing about smartphones for Pocketnow.com since they first appeared on the market in 2002.Read more about Adam Lein!