How to buy a Windows Mobile phone

Dieter Bohn at has written an excellent article on the factors you should keep in mind when purchasing a smartphone. Click here for the article.

Windows Mobile Device Center built into Windows Vista

Microsoft’s new Windows Vista operating system for PCs includes Windows Mobile Device Center (WMDC)—the latest version of the program formerly called ActiveSync. The user interface on WMDC has been overhauled, the partnership wizard has been improved, media files can be automatically synchronized, and Windows Update has been integrated to provide automatic updates. WMDC is compatible with devices running Windows Mobile 2003 or later versions of the OS.

What's built into your device?

Pocket PCs and Smartphones come with the Windows Mobile operating system, a variety of productivity and entertainment programs, and the necessary configuration utilities built in and ready to go.

You can install third-party software on your device

There are thousands of third-party software programs available to add functionality and fun to your device. Please see the Learning and Mastering sections for more details on available third-party software and how to install them.

What do those status icons mean?

Status icons are small icons that appear at the top of the screen to indicate what’s going on with your device. For example, if you’re running low on power, the “low battery” icon will pop-up, and if your device has a phone built into it, a signal strength icon will be displayed.

Avoid problems with ActiveSync

Most of the problems a new user can encounter with ActiveSync are caused by connecting their Windows Mobile device to their PC before they set up their device and install ActiveSync.

Activating your phone service

If you buy a phone-enabled device from a wireless carrier’s store, they will activate the phone service for you before you leave. If you order a phone from a wireless carrier via phone or online, you may have to activate the phone service yourself when you receive the phone. The process varies and the carrier will give you instructions on how to do it. If you have problems, contact the carrier’s help line.
Most wireless carriers around the world use either CDMA or GSM technology.

How to control your touch screen device

Start applications and access features on your touch screen device using the stylus and touch screen, or use the various hardware buttons to open and close programs and documents and navigate through the various program menus.

How to input text on a touch screen device

Open a new Word or Excel document, a new Contact or Calendar appointment, or go to a dialog box that accepts text, and the "soft keyboard" input panel pops up at the bottom of the screen, allowing you to enter text. You can change this feature to display other handwriting recognition input panels.

How to start and close programs

To open a program on your device, activate the Start menu and select it from the listed programs. You can also press the appropriate application launch button. To close a program, tap on the X in the upper right corner of touch screen devices. On a non-touch screen smartphones, press the Call end button. To completely shut down a program on a touch screen device, so that it is not running in the background (and occupying RAM memory), go to Start >Settings >Systems >Memory >Running Programs. Some (but not all) non-touch screen smartphones have a Task Manager that lets you do the same. In addition, a soft reset on a touch screen device or turning a non-touch screen smartphone completely off and back on again will also completely shut down all programs.

How to install ActiveSync

Install ActiveSync (on Windows XP PCs) from the Companion CD that came with your device so that you can set up a partnership between your device and your PC. Insert the CD into your desktop PC’s CD-ROM and follow the on-screen instructions to install ActiveSync. When you are prompted to Get Connected, attach the device’s USB cable or cradle to the PC and connect your device to it.

How to input text on a non-touch screen smartphone

To enter text into a text message or any field requiring text on non-touch screen smartphones, use the numeric keypad or QWERTY thumb keyboard, depending on what your device has.

How to launch applications and select menu options on a non-touch screen smartphone

Start applications and access features on your non-touch screen smartphone using buttons and the numeric key pad.

How to make, answer, and end a phone call

On a smartphone (Pocket PC Phone Edition, Smartphone Professional, or Smartphone Standard), press the external Call/Answer button, which usually has a green phone icon on it and is located to the left of the center navigational pad. Then, enter the desired number and press the Call/Answer button a second time to make the call.

How to get started with a new touch screen or non-touch screen smartphone device

Insert and charge the battery; turn on your device and follow the setup prompts; install ActiveSync (for Windows XP) and Outlook on your desktop PC (the Windows Vista OS has Windows Mobile Device Center built in); connect the USB cable or cradle that came with your device to your PC, and connect your device to the cable or cradle to synchronize. Then follow the on-screen setup instructions.