UPDATE at the end of this post.
I tried many, many times to switch from Windows Mobile to Android, and every and each time I went back to Windows Mobile. Honestly, I would like to upgrade, because my HD2 won’t be enough forever, and no new phone gets shipped with a shiny Windows Mobile 6.5 OS anymore. Funny enough though, Windows Mobile allows me to do a better job.
Lt’s start with the calendar:
- Builtin calendar app is pretty much useless, under certain aspects even more useless than the primitive calendar found in old-ass Nokia phones. You cannot either jump to an arbitrary date of your liking, but have to interminably scroll through months, and you cannot search through entries for a name, a number or a place (at this point I might as well get myself a paper agenda, at least that’s got a vintage sexy feel to itself);
- Half-hour time separation is out of the question, unless you’re using the paid Pocket Informant, each and every calendar defaults to whole hour appointments and starts appointments at o’clock’s;
- Search is, all round, an impossible function, I couldn’t even find it inside Pocket Informant (it relies on the OS builtin search function in Windows Mobile, too); a couple of free apps from the same developer should provide it, either Searchify that hooks onto the builtin search widget, but I couldn’t make it work, or Touch Calendar, which is a viewer only, and sports a -working- search function, that alas won’t get you any results before the few past months, even if you have records of appointments dating back to 2005;
- Calendar access is slow, no matter the application, when you load a month you could be counting up to 1 second for the “busy days” to get displayed depending on the application, and we’re talking about a 1GHz CPU with 576MB of RAM (my oh so old Casio Cassiopeia was instaneous on that aspect);
- Maybe I’m forgetting something, but the bottomline is that Pocket Oulook had a better calendar on PocketPC 2002 than any app for Android can offer, and that’s a heavy fact, so try and tell me I’m wrong.
- UPDATE: I discovered that Android *chooses* in your place to simply discard anything in the calendar which is more than 2 months old; no setting, no option, no nothing to let you choose to keep your frigging data on the phone even if it dates back 10 years. Do I need to say more?
Let’s go on to office suits, and more notably to Excel support:
- Google gives NO builtin spreadsheet support, unless you have a data plan, the area you’re in is covered by your carrier, and you’re totally fine with sharing your private data with google apps;
- There are several free alternatives to a commercial spreadsheet: some just don’t read XLS unless in the paid version, some will open it read-only, some have no XLS support altogether;
- NONE of the spreadsheet applications in the market (I tried them all, free and commercial) has the ability to immediately show the SUM of the values inside a selected column inside the statusbar, like we are used to with desktop applications, and like I’ve been used to since (again) PocketP C2002;
- Again, also in this aspect the bottomline is that no spreadsheet app whatsoever keeps up to the Pocket Excel bundled wih PocketPC 2002.
This may be for a small group of users, but no application can do half what can do HanDBase on Windows Mobile, not even HanDBase’s native version for Android, and that’s for certain it will stay forever like this.
But don’t falther readers: if you want to count the meters you travel in a workday, or manage your own virtual cafeteria, or just slingshoot birds with anger management problems against a castle full of mutated legless green pigs with moustaches and helmets, then Android just shines at that, and will do it gloriously while passing all your private information to Google for free.
Windows Phone 7 may be the alternative, too bad you just can’t synch offline, but need to again send your private data to Microsoft’s servers, while there’s a workaround on Android for this.
UPDATE (6 Oct 2011): so here I am, writing while finally using Android as my main platform. I had to go far until I managed to do all I needed, but overall I have a platform I don’t really loathe anymore:
- Calendar: CalenGoo manages to do all I need, notably has a good search function and a nifty time-separation default set; having DroidWall block everything except those things that absolutely need an internet connection, I prevented old calendar events to be deleted, and this way I can also avoid my data going to the cloud, while keeping it in synch with MyPhoneExplorer; it’s still a tad slower than PocketOutlook, but I can manage.
- DocumentsToGo is decent enough in handling XLS files, even without any “sum on column select” function, but I added a formula somewhere in the sheet.
- HanDBase finally returned as good as new when I implemented some additional calculated field in the rows, enabling me to see stats that I couldn’t calculate otherwise.
- Stock phonebook is ugly enough, but GO Contacts EX is promising, even if hella slow to start.