Getting to know the Xda Orbit 2

xdaorbit2-1 The doorbell rang before 9am this morning. There stood a courier guy with a big box containing an Xda Orbit 2 mobile phone courtesy of mobile operator O2 and its ad agency VCCP.

This is the latest smartphone from O2, running Windows Mobile 6, which is just now becoming available in the UK. So getting one hot off the press, as it were, for an early look and experimentation is great.

The deal with VCCP is quite clear – I’ve been given this phone with no obligation upon me to say or write anything about it.

But I will choose to talk about it (this post being one example) simply because it’s the kind of gadget I would want to talk about. Not sure how much or when I will write more; when I do, it’s likely to be on my Next tech blog rather than here.

Other bloggers are involved with this outreach programme, too – Stuart Bruce, Philip Young and Sarah Blow, to name three I know. VCCP has set up an Xda blog and no doubt there will be links there to all the folk involved.

Incidentally, VCCP is the agency behind the O2 Cocoon programme last year. I like their approach to social media outreach – well planned and executed.

So, to some immediate impressions about the Xda Orbit 2.

To start with, this is the first mobile device I’ve used in a long time that runs a version of Windows, as the pic above shows (click it for larger version at Flickr).

My last (first and only, in fact) Windows-powered mobile device was a first-generation Compaq iPAQ back in 2000 or 2001. That’s now somewhere in the Old Gadgets Cupboard.

Windows Mobile software has come a long way in five or six years. Overall, though, it’s pretty familiar in usage to how I recall Windows for Pocket PC on the iPAQ.

So I’ve played a bit with the phone this evening, getting to know some of its features especially things that interest me and which I use heavily on my regular phone (a Nokia N95 8GB from Vodafone), such as wifi and camera.

Key elements of the spec:

  • Qualcomm MSM 7200, 400Mhz processor
  • Windows Mobile 6 Professional
  • Quad band GSM / GPRS / EDGE Tri-band UMTS / HSDPA 3.6Mbps / WLAN
  • Bluetooth and infra red
  • 256MB ROM, 128MB RAM, MicroSD card slot
  • Hands free (loudspeaker) capability
  • 2.8” 240×320 QVGA resolution antiglare touch screen
  • Built-in GPS satellite navigation receiver
  • 3-megapixel camera
  • Additional front facing camera for video calling or conferencing
  • Supports Microsoft Direct Push Email
  • MP3 player and inbuilt FM radio
  • Claimed 4 hours talk time, 450 hours standby

I do intend to try out one particular application that comes with the phone – CoPilot Live 7 satellite navigation. I activated the 4-day trial and will use it on my next trip out, see how it compares to my TomTom 710, or even to the satnav functionality on the N95.

xdaorbit2-2 One thing that looks extremely interesting is TouchFLO, a substitute or secondary interface that takes advantage of the touch screen on the Xda Orbit 2 (click the pic for a larger version).

Somewhat iPhone-like in that you stroke the screen to navigate and touch icons with your finger (or the provided stylus if you prefer) to perform actions.

Not only executing apps – you can stroke things on screen like photos to move from one to another or rotate them. Very nice and it doesn’t take a lot to figure out how to work with this interface.

I couldn’t find any detailed information about TouchFLO on O2’s website. There is a pretty good review by MSMobiles.com that’s worth a look if you want to know more about this technology.

And for a comprehensive review of the Xda Orbit 2, take a look at what 4WinMobile.com has to say.

So I’ll be playing with my Xda Orbit 2 in the coming weeks and writing thoughts as and when I have some.

Communication Leader, Social Media Leader, Consultant, Digital Change Agent, Speaker with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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