MWC 2009: Various brands overview
It now comes the time to pay due respect to the smaller makers (in terms of market mostly) that did bring some interesting devices to the MWC 2009. They will get their due coverage of course and our appreciation for having the skill and the courage to stand up to the big guns.
It wasn't an easy choice of which brands to include and which to leave out of the article but we had to make it, so there we go. We've got something really exciting to get you started - the Toshiba TG01, one of the best-spec'd WinMo devices we have ever come across.
The Toshiba TG01 is a monster of a phone and the giant 4.1" WVGA touchscreen leaves no doubt about that. But it not only looks it, a 1GHz CPU is its wicked beating heart and it's called the Snapdragon. We haven't yet seen a device, let alone one running Windows Mobile, go as high on specs, so hats off to Toshiba for pulling the TG01 out.
Now, right out of the blue, the Toshiba TG01 manages an extremely slim waistline of only 9.9mm. This is quite exceptional and when you see that the device is even slimmer at edges you almost won't believe your eyes.
If anyone thought that the battery life was compromised to get such a slim device running on the extremely powerful CPU, they are wrong. The Toshiba TG01 is said to last 11.5 days in standby and 5 hours of talk time, which is just about the same as the HTC Touch Diamond. Now we aren't saying that this is some great achievement but it isn't too bad either.
What we aren't particularly pleased with is the fact that the device is way too big for single-handed use. The 4.1" screen has definitely crossed the border and two free hands to work with the TG01 are a must. We told you Samsung's Omnia HD wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea in terms of easy handling, and it only has a 3.7-inch screen.
Going back to the strengths of the TG01, Toshiba have done a nice job customizing the UI of the handset so you don't need to use (or see) the underlying Windows Mobile OS too often. The Toshiba UI is way more practical in terms of bringing a huge number of shortcuts to your home screen, which can then be aligned to the colored stripes thematically.
Here's a short live demo video of the key features of this new Stripes UI:
There is also a full QWERTY keyboard on screen that can be used in portrait or landscape mode.
Another hip feature are the UI accelerometer-based gestures. It's easy - a double shake of the device sideways can do anyone out of 5 available task such as open the phone dialer, end a task, end all tasks, go to the today screen, or simply answer a call. And also double-tapping the device can activate the Task Manager. Sounds pretty nifty, and Toshiba are promising that accidental shake commands are highly unlikely.
Finger sweep gestures and a large number of customization options improve the user experience even further. You get to pick which stripes (each stripe is responsible for a specific part of the UI - contacts, calendar etc.) appear on you homescreen and what color they are.
The Snapdragon quite expectedly has a very positive impact on the Toshiba TG01 performance. The handset is sharp and responsive even at this pre-release stage of development. The display sensitivity is a bit short of the highest standard but we've seen enough of those issues getting fixed with a few tweaks even after the handset has hit the shelves.
The device we checked at the Toshiba MWC booth had only one game preinstalled - the Prince of Persia HD. It ran fullscreen with on-screen controls and some impressively looking graphics. Just in case you've missed it in the end of that live video demo up there, here's a screenie.