WinCE phones (was Re: What shame? [Was: What a shame...])

Toby Corkindale tjc at
Tue Oct 24 16:13:05 BST 2006

On Tue, Oct 24, 2006 at 03:13:10PM +0100, Sue Spence wrote:
> Toby Corkindale wrote:
> >On Tue, Oct 24, 2006 at 01:18:13PM +0100, Peter Corlett wrote:
> >>On Tue, Oct 24, 2006 at 12:15:25PM +0000, the hatter wrote:
> >>[...]
> >>>Opera FTW ! Not that I've got around to installing on my new phone yet - 
> >>>I
> >>>ran it on my psion and I run it as main browser on my desktop for
> >>>linux/windows/solaris/os x though, so I'm rather happy to see it as the
> >>>only browser on some important growing platforms (mobile and consoles)
> >>One day, you'll have a phone powerful enough to run Firefox...
> >>(And it'll have a battery life of about ten minutes.)
> >
> >You could have a phone that'll run it now! (Or last year, when I got mine)
> >See
> >
> >Runs on my phone fine.. It's quite cute having tabbed browsing and some 
> >working
> >javascript. It has small-screen rendering, but I don't think it does such a
> >good job as Opera or Netfront though. However, it is free, and does a much
> >better job than Pocket IE.
> I've wanted to try this, but I won't get off PalmOS until some time next 
> year. Then again, I haven't tried Opera Mini yet, partly due to laziness 
> and partly because I almost do not want another browser which is 
> fantastically better than my target browser (an exceptionally limited, 
> proprietary, short-term POS).

My experiences with Windows CE (2003SE to be precise) haven't been great.. I
don't know how well PalmOS ported to the mobile environment, but if it works,
you might want to stick with it. WinCE's mobile integration is.. poor.. at

For example, an incoming SMS, call, bluetooth spam, alarm, etc will wake the
device up from standby, at which point the buttons and touch-screen become
active. So, when pulling the phone out of your pocket, you need to try not to
touch anything. Or if you don't notice the event at all, then you discover half
an hour later that not only have you dialled all the people in your phonebook,
but you've also flattened the battery. This is by far and away the single
biggest shortcoming.

Other complaints include that you can only shutdown some apps by going into the
Process Manager (which is a tab of the Memory system app, in the control panel,
from the start menu) and clicking "Close", and "Yes".
This is irritating, because the phone only has very limited RAM and no swap,
and can't maintain too many apps running at once.
Due to the complete LACK of an alt-tab function, you can't swap BACK to the
running apps easily anyway, so leaving them running by default when you click
the X in the top-right corner seems particularly stupid.

I had some other complaints around the phone's general unreliability for making
and receiving calls and messages - however after a DIY firmware upgrade to the
latest version (not available from Orange, and almost certainly invalidates my
warranty with them), the phone seems to have become a lot more responsive, and
less glitchy. (I highly recommend going to and doing the
update if you have a WinCE-based smartphone!)


Turning and turning in the widening gyre/The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold/Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world
(gpg --keyserver --recv-key B1CCF88E)

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