Faster input and Web browsing on Windows Mobile 5.0 devices: TenGO and Opera Mini 2.0

Being employed at a company with a distinct focus on mobile computing, I’ve recently had the opportunity to play around with the i-mate JAMin and the Qtek 8310 smartphone, one of the few phones out in North America on the Windows Mobile 5.0 platform. Very few complaints so far, other than a somewhat inaccurate joystick and a persisting issue where the use of a headset results in sounding far away to whoever’s on the other end of a phone call.

TenGO: Speeding up PocketPC text input
Operationally, I’ve had some concerns that are largely the result of my own impatience and poor handwriting. On the user input side of the story, I haven’t a chance in hell of getting my writing recognized by any device that uses a touchscreen/stylus interface. That leaves me the less than speedy option of a tiny on-screen keyboard.

A free program called TenGO, however, has taken this option and heavily optimized it. The twenty-six letters of the alphabet remain laid out in QWERTY form on-screen, but the innovation of T9 text prediction is pulled into play to reduce those twenty-six corresponding separate keys into just six. Check out the on-site video for a pretty amazing demo.

Opera Mini 2.0: Speedier than IE
Despite what FireFox users will tell you, Internet Explorer remains the faster – but more security issue ridden – browser of the pair. The Opera browser has for a long time presented a dark horse option whose primary goal has been to be the fastest graphical browser available. Opera Mini 2.0, for its part, leaves Internet Explorer for Windows Mobile 5.0 in the dust; I know what I’ll be using from my mobile browsing from now on.

Google Maps: Finally on Windows Mobile 5.0
Google Maps likely needs absolutely no introduction, but I have found its fast download time (on Rogers’ EDGE data network) and touchscreen-oriented interface to be superior to the BlackBerry app I’ve become familiar with.