Aug 112008


On the way home from Suma this Saturday I stopped by in Shinsaibashi (Osaka) for a WhyNot Party. After it concluded, I had an hour to kill before a friend would finish work and come to meet up at midnight. So I sat outside and recharged with a brief nap.

When I woke up, my backpack – which I’d placed about half an inch from me – was gone. With it went my extremely customized $500 AT&T Tilt (cellphone), 6gb microsd card, underwater camera case, my favorite tanktop, 3 round-trip tickets to Tokushima, and a really awesome beer mug I brought back from Tel Aviv. The backpack itself was the removable outer portion of my backpacking backpack, which by itself cannot be replaced.

Then, when running to the police station to report it stolen, I tripped in my flipflops and severely ripped open the front of my big toe.

So much for nothing ever getting stolen in Japan 😡

…And so much for all that time I spent getting Garmin Mobile XT setup with routable maps of Asia.

Still, that being said, it does feel great to be back in Kansai. The summer vibe is here in full force, and after just one day I’ve already bumped into four old friends. The city streets are packed with activity, many pedestrians wearing beautifully decorated summer kimonos; fireworks light up the evening skies nearly every night of the week; street performers fill the riverside promenade with music; and of course, Suma Beach is overflowing with young, shockingly attractive partygoers.

Oh yeah…and it’s about 10,000 degrees outside and humid 😆

On an unrelated note, Singapore Airlines is seriously the best airline I’ve ever flown. It’s not just reputation – it’s true. The meals were good, the service better, and the selection of available entertainment was staggering.

I just wish their weight limit on luggage were a tad bit higher 😛

  19 Responses to “No More Tilt”

  1. I am so sorry your bag was taken.

  2. sorry about your bag 🙁

  3. That sucks…I’m mad at Japan.

  4. wack! Losing a tilt is a sin!

  5. Andy: and I’m sure you know how much friggin time I put into customizing that thing…

    As for replacing it, when I have some time I think I’m gonna start researching from scratch. I now know exactly what bothered me about it and can MAYBE find something better (i.e. I would love one with a VGA screen like the iPhone, maybe a USB host controller, and it really needs to have a built-in headphone jack).

  6. Yeah…….but a lot of that stuff can be directly installed on your next handheld. Most of the pain comes from doing it for the first time. I can now load my tilt up pretty fast if I have to hard reset it.

    As far as a new handheld goes, I have been waiting patiently for the touch pro to come out. WAY more memory, vga screen, 5 row keyboard, etc. For me it solves most of my problems, and gives up very little (tilt). It doesn’t have a head phone port (doh!) but has almost everything else I would want.

    Also…..does the garmin GPS software have maps for China? I looked at garmin’s website and their windows mobile software doesn’t look like it is available with Chinese maps

  7. Yep, that’s one of the models I was looking at. At a glance, the eten Glofiish x800 and the Sony Experia X1 look pretty sick too. Any insight from your past research?

    As far as Garmin, I dunno if there are any OFFICIAL China maps but I’ve found that 3rd party maps are plentiful and relatively easy to get your hands on. As an example, here’s a bunch of maps of various parts in asia:

    Sometimes you need to do a bit of tweaking (I had to use a Taiwanese version of Garmin and swap some of the language files around), but I’m sure you can figure it out 😉

  8. …Also, in addition to the plentiful international maps, Garmin works better than any of the other WM GPS stuff I tried. It doesn’t screw up the buttons when you switch screen orientation like MioMaps (my previous), allows you to run it in the background while doing other things, etc, etc. I think you’ll find it agreeable 🙂

  9. Hrmmm….the glofish x800 has no keyboard, Less than 1/2 as much memory….doesn’t seem like a good option. The Sony’s biggest drawback for me is a non-standard screen resolution which I have heard of not being compatible with a number of apps. The next biggest downside of the sony is the smaller keyboard…..the touch pro’s keyboard is much larger

  10. It requires a bit more research.

    Other considerations are things like battery life (one of the things that frustrated me the most about the TILT), placement and strength of the speaker (Peder’s cellphone is as loud as a laptop, incredibly useful when you just want some quick music in a hotel room or something – the Tilt, on the other hand, has its speaker on the BOTTOM so its already weak sound gets muffled by the surface the phone is resting on, assuming its screen is propped like a laptop). I wonder if the video issue is resolved as well; it would be nice if the screen transitions weren’t so choppy, i.e. when switching orientations. Of course I need one that’ll work on the Japanese networks too.

    Have you pretty much decided to buy an HTC Touch Pro? Just gonna ebay it or something?

  11. For me, the speaker and battery are not as much of a problem. Yes….the battery SUCKS! But 95% of the time, I can charge it every night and mid-day in my office, so it isn’t too bad for me. The other 5% of the time, I carry a second battery, which isn’t ideal either, but works. As far as the speaker, it isn’t that loud, but is loud enough to hear when I am out and have forgotten my head phones. I would like to have a better speaker, but it isn’t a deal breaker for me. The lack of video drivers is more of an issue for me. I don’t know if the touch pro will be better but hope and pray that it will be

    I am seriously thinking about the touch pro, but am still waiting for its mass release. I haven’t seen one in person yet, and they are going for $1k on ebay, which is way over my cell phone budget

  12. Well, keep me posted on your thoughts…being stuck without a nice phone almost feels crippling after getting so used to the many conveniences of the Kaiser, but until I’ve refilled my bank accounts a bit, I’m gonna hold off on replacing it. So I’ll be interested to see what you end up deciding 🙂

  13. I did a bit more research on the options for a Tilt replacement. Here’s what I came up with.

    First, I eliminated:
    eten Glofiish x800 – no hardware keyboard and not enough RAM
    Samsung Omnia (i900) – no hardware keyboard (plus it’s not VGA and doesn’t have a headphone jack)

    That leaves the Sony Experia X1 and HTC Touch Pro. Price aside (the Experia isn’t out yet so we can’t be sure how much it’ll go for), I think the Experia wins. Check out this article directly comparing the two:

    They both have identical CPU, RAM, and ROM. They both have an FM radio. They both have a camera-assist white LED (actually very very useful – many times I wished the Tilt had this). And they both have the same megapixelage of camera (although the Sony apparently produces better images).

    However, ONLY the Experia has a 3.5mm plug, which is huge for me.

    It also has a larger screen that supposedly looks much nicer, and although it’s a nonstandard resolution, I’m sure this could be worked around with 3rd party software (if most things we use doesn’t support it in the near future).

    Despite its more stylish metal construction, it’s lighter.

    It uses standard miniUSB instead of HTC’s proprietary extUSB.

    It has more juice in the battery (may or may not actually translate to longer usage, but with the same CPU you’d have to think it would).

    And the interface looks SICK (check out that article under section “XPERIA panel”) – you can actually have multiple programs running as “zoomed-out thumbnails” that update dynamically, giving you the ability to truly multitask. It’s a genius design.

    The places it seems to lose to the Touch Pro are the 5-row keyboard, lack of 3d hardware acceleration, and lack of TV-Out (the latter two of which I don’t particularly care about).


  14. That link you sent me looks totally fake. I saw another one for $400 that seemed fake as well. The most legitimate deal I have found is expansys china which will sell me an in-stock one for 5000RMB (like $600) that will arrive in a few days.

    As far as the article on the experia, it does seem to have some advantages

    1. 3.5mm jack
    2. slightly bigger battery (1300 vs 1500 isn’t that big a diff, if it was 2100 or 3200, i would view this as a bigger difference. I found a 3rd party 1800mAh battery for my tilt here in China that is the same size and lasts way longer than the stock one, and only cost 100RMB, or $12)
    3. slightly lighter (not that big a difference either)
    4. camera (I have taken less than 10 total photos on my tilt….I always have a better camera around. A cell phone camera just isn’t good enough)

    – Screen…..I still think that this is a MUCH bigger deal that you do. The xda forums are FULL of people complaining about incompatibility or problems with a plethora of software
    – bigger than touch pro (not a huge difference)
    – keyboard much worse
    – microsd under battery…I am assuming this means you can’t switch cards without powering down, which sucks. This might have even been intentional, and does make some sense, but is inconvenient nonetheless.

    Pros 2-4 aren’t that big a deal for the reasons listed above. I didn’t list the usb as a pro, as extUSB is just HTCs version of mini usb that includes headphone data. I don’t believe the experia will connect to a computer like a bi-directional usb drive, it will still run through windows mobile device center to “sync” your data for “your benefit”

    The ui for me doesn’t seem to present anything that ground breaking or new, that I couldn’t do on my own. Sure, the multi task thing is cool, but windows mobile can already do that. If you want to multi task, just tap the “x” in the top corner which will minimize a running program and allow you to switch to another. The only difference is the SE software allows you to simultaneously see a VERY small snapshot of 9 different programs, something that I can say for certain that I would never need. Kind of like windows vista’s cascade program switching, which I also never use.

    If anything, I would want to use a cooked rom to get rid of all the standard manufacturer loaded bloatware. I do this on my tilt, and it runs MUCH better without all that junk, not to mention the free space I recovered that I can now use for useful programs of my choosing. I would do this on the touch pro too, as cooked roms and flashing utilities are already out.

    Another thing to consider is time. The touch pro has been out for almost a month now and has already dropped in price and is widely available. SE just yesterday announced that the experia was delayed further, until December 08 / january 09 ( ). This is when devices will first come out, yet have low availability / high price. If you then wait a few months for availability to improve / price to drop, it could be 6 months + before you see a device…..not a short amount of time

    For the moment, I still view the Touch Pro as a better choice……instead of waiting for this vapor to materialize. I can deal with no 3.5mm headphone jack, which is the biggest downside for me.

  15. Good arguments. The scale is tipping back.

    As far as the Experia’s pros, I agree that by far the biggest pro is the 3.5mm jack. It just kills me that HTC doesn’t include something so basic. I’ve often wanted to use my phone as a replacement mp3 player and the need to carry around an idiotic little adapter just baffles me.

    While I haven’t seen all the complaints about nonstandard screen resolution, it seems to me like a bigger screen with a bigger resolution would be very, very convenient (assuming it works). One of the only things I like much better about the iPod vs the Tilt is screen real estate. On a device that tiny, another 0.2 inches and 25% resolution is a big deal. Is there no software that will “simulate” 640×480 for incompatible programs? I wonder if any of the software I use is affected anyway.

    MicroSD under the battery does suck. I missed that one.

    As far as using the device as a drive, check out a program called CardExport II. The Kaiser is slow as hell as a card reader, but it’s still pretty convenient to have the option.

    I know u can multitask without the thumbnails, but I just think it’s a really cool layout. i.e. have several browser windows open and loading, and be able to see exactly when one finishes by watching all at once. Or to be able to keep an eye on an FTP upload while passively watching a movie in another thumbnail. On a computer the analog would be like having multiple windows open at once – something I do constantly. This is the first time I’ve seen something like that on a 3″ WM screen.

    Shit. I can’t believe they delayed that thing AGAIN. It was supposed to be set for early October. That could be the dealbreaker right there.

    Damn you HTC, just put a friggin 3.5mm jack on your phones, seriously! >:o

  16. haha….LOL. I agree that multiple windows on a 22″ screen is pretty convenient. On a 3″ screen, I can’t imagine it would be too useful

    I have used card export, and it does solve the problem…..but they still should have included it natively 🙂

    There is I believe a nokia device that is also wvga, and a fix program was eventually released that simulated 640×480, but it took months before it came out. Just look at how long the tilt video driver has taken. If such a program were bundled with the phone, and the phone was available now, the decision would be much much harder. But that is not the case, and thus as soon as I find a Touch Pro for ~4000RMB I am going to snatch it up. Diamonds are already cheap out here, and it has only been a month or two more

  17. If you do find it cheap and pick it up, let me know. If my bank account has filled back up by then and the Experia still seems to be a way off…we just may be toying with the same hardware once again 🙂

  18. no worries……looks like htc has another device coming out too……hehe:

    Smaller screen kills it for me tho

  19. No touchscreen! 😛

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