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S60 Versus Windows Mobile: Contacts, Calendar, and To-Do

HTC MogulMore on Windows Mobile versus S60: the personal information management (PIM) parts of the phone. Again, I will be comparing the Nokia E61 to the HTC Mogul Qwest lent me for review.

Disclaimer: I work for a competitor of both HTC and Microsoft in the smartphone space. That being said, my day job currently has nothing to do with smartphones. This is my own opinion.

I have used S60 devices for a number of years. The basic PIM functionality has not changed all that much in that time. No surprise, since the S60 PIM clients go back a couple of decades to EPOC, from which Symbian itself evolved.

Windows Mobile’s PIM functionality is based on the gold standard PIM for the desktop: Microsoft Outlook. Outlook itself has only been around a little over a decade, but it’s basic functionality also has not changed all that much across the versions either. On the Windows Mobile side, the PIM functionality in Windows Mobile 6 looks exactly the same as it did on Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition, which I had on a Dell Axim X30.

The calendar in S60 stores appointments, the contact list stores pretty much any piece of information you want to enter (though not all the fields will sync with, say, Mail for Exchange), and the To-Do List lets you keep track of what you have to do. Windows Mobile is pretty much the same way.

I prefer the task list view in S60. The view is far more compact: one line per item, complete with date. The task list in Windows Mobile takes two lines per item to get that information.

The calendar functionality between the two is very similar, but there is a clear difference between S60 and Windows Mobile: in the “alarm” functionality. When a meeting or task is scheduled for an alarm in S60, you are given an alarm at the appointed time. If you hit snooze, you will be reminded every 5 minutes for a half an hour unless you hit Stop. In the case of Windows Mobile, you can pick a certain number of minutes to snooze the alarm for, though it does take a number of extra key presses to activate this functionality.

The contacts application in S60 is fairly straightforward. You are presented with a list of names in your contacts. You can type some letters to narrow down the list. You can click on a contact and get their details. You can edit details. There are a couple of cool things in the contacts–things you can’t do on Windows Mobile, or at least not with this HTC Mogul:

  • Assign Ringtones to specific callers.
  • Set a default for calling, texting, video calls, MMS, email address, VoIP, and Push-to-Talk
  • Send the contact via Bluetooth, email, MMS, or text message
  • Customize the name of a particular field

As far as I’m concerned, the only thing the Windows Mobile contact manager has that S60 doesn’t is that the listing of contacts includes a telephone number in the name listing. However, it’s the same number of clicks to make a call from the contact manager in either S60 or Windows Mobile.

Another key part of the PIM functionality is the idle screen on the phone itself. In S60, this is called Active Standby. On Windows Mobile, it’s called the Today Screen. I will cover that in another post as that is a topic in itself. Zach over at Symbian in Motion covers it better than I could. However, there is one thing I like about S60 that I’m not sure how to accomplish in Windows Mobile: list the actual unread emails on the Today Screen. On S60, I can get up to 3 messages showing (sender and subject).

The final verdict: S60 wins for me, mostly because of the contact management. Tasks and Calendar are about equal in my mind.

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