"We came across some interesting commercials that aired many years ago for several Windows Mobile phones. The below commercials are from the HTC TyTN, the Compaq iPaq 3800, the HP iPAQ 614 Business Navigator, the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1, and, for good measure, the Sony Clie. Remember these devices? Are there any vintage mobile device commercials that you'd like to share?"
pocketnow.com has dug up some vintage Windows Mobile commercials - some aren't really that old - but it inspired me to dig up a video file that I'd been saving since 2000 and upload it to YouTube. Above, you'll see the original Pocket PC promo video created for the then brand-new platform. Wow, does that bring back memories or what? It really shows you how amazing the devices were for the time - you can hear them making jabs at Palm devices, the dominant competition in 2000. I miss those days sometimes...things seemed much simpler back then when devices were mostly disconnected. ;-)
Actually, since this commercial is 10 years old, it's amazing how little they have changed. Even back then it could multitask. Isn't Apple still working on that? Even the dragon processor is only 1Ghz. Not a significant change over 10 years and my current phone is only 500 or something. So in all that time the only thing we really did was add a phone chip?
Wait... the 16-bit color limitation still holds true to this date?!?!
Yeah, actually, I think it does. Most OEMs do some tricks to minimize banding problems, but the problem is moving from 16-bit to 24-bit is an order of magnitude more colours, which means it's harder for the device to manage. That might change with Tegra-type GPUs though...
Even the dragon processor is only 1Ghz. Not a significant change over 10 years and my current phone is only 500 or something. So in all that time the only thing we really did was add a phone chip?
I don't know how fair that is - the problem isn't coming up with a 2 Ghz CPU for a phone, the problem is the power it draws. The laws of physics don't change over a ten year period.
We've seen advances in all sorts of communications technologies - WiFi, Bluetooth, WiMax, 3G/4G, etc. - as well as storage. Imagine going back to 2000 and showing someone a 16 GB microSD storage card. They'd never believe that a chip that size of a pinky fingernail could store 16 GB of data. Screen resolution has also increased (from 320 x 240 to 800 x 480) along with capacitive and multi-touch technology. And 3D gaming...look at the graphics from 2000 on a phone and compare that to the 3D games we have today. Pretty big difference!
Imagine going back to 2000 and showing someone a 16 GB microSD storage card. They'd never believe that a chip that size of a pinky fingernail could store 16 GB of data. Screen resolution has also increased (from 320 x 240 to 800 x 480)...
No kidding! I bought a 6GB Accurite TravelHD back in the fall of 2000. Cost me nearly $500. Weighed a bit over 1 pound. Connected to my Casio via a permanently affixed short cable with PCMCIA card... and a PCMCIA>CF adapter board, which came raw, exposed circuits and very fragile... I had to make a custom encasement for it with some Lexan and industrial grade CA adhesive. The thing worked great, with an internal lithium ion battery to keep it spinning for up to a few hours at first, gradually decreasing to about an hour of use after 3 years. That thing weighed thousands of times more than a modern microSD, and cost an order of magnitude more. I had to be careful about moving it while spinning, where a microSD is about as close to indestructible as one can get in storage. The only advantage to the Accurite was that the thing would have been hard to lose. A microSD? Not so much. I've lost them a couple of times in the sometimes-chaos of my workshop floor. It's a royal pain trying to find something that small, and black, when the floor is covered in fresh ebony shavings - I dress a lot of doublebass fingerboards.
As for the screen resolution, sure, it's up there now for some phones, but mainstream devices with QVGA screens still outnumber anything else. My current phone, a TytnII or Kaiser, is 240x320. At the sub-3" scale of such screens that seems to be plenty. But it's a compromise, and I'd really rather see the base resolution for all devices to be VGA, and 4" (widescreen), no smaller except for niche phones (for kids or teensy lady purses). Looking at the hollowed-out shell of my long ago busted Casio EG-800 (my kid loves to play pretend with it, like he's watching movies and taking pictures with a defunct HP CF camera in the slot), motherboard showing under my custom flip-cover on a brass hinge) it amazes me how many more radio (compared to none) and other enhancements they've crammed into such smaller devices. The HTC Touch Elfin I used until fairly recently (had some sort of multi-episode seizure, though now that the 'new' phone's working the Elfin seems well behaved) amazed me especially, being just so darn small and dense. There was a LOT of air in the olden days PPCs.
That commercial is a hoot Jason. Activesync... reliable? For some folks, I've heard that it actually was quite so. But of all the PPC-related software complaints in forums, none come close to the headaches generated by Activesync. Mobile Device Center improves things a bit, but I've found it buggy in ways which bring back memories of the hundreds of hours I wasted in the first half of the last decade, battling often into the wee hours of the morning to get my Contacts database synched, or trying to figure out where the heck it vanished to. Now WMDC under Windows 7 has decided that it's essential to open Explorer to the C:\Windows\System32 folder on every device connection. No idea why. It just started doing that. And WMDC itself shows its little green splash window... for about 5 minutes, apparently hung, before eventually carrying on with the correct window and options. Do I care? Not so much. I don't try to synch any more. Can't take the stress of the inevitable battle, so I just installed Softick CardExport so as to use the thing as an external volume, a glorified card reader. Avoids the risk of another microSD getting lost in the ebony.
Good old days indeed though. Too bad Microsoft's publicity department didn't have the foggiest clue how to make an exciting commercial. That one's the best I've ever seen, and it stinks on ice.