So, for regular followers of my blog, most know of my infatuation with being able to attach GPS info to everything I do. My first excursion into this space was with my little app that allowed you to take a pic, attach some text, and GPS co-ords, then push it up to a web service. It would then mash the pic with a map, which was kinda cool when showing someone a photo of an interesting place like a bike trail, and then trying to describe where it was located. But the biggest issue I had was connecting to the external GPS device over BT.
Add to that, my current job which has me thinking up wonderful and wooly ways to make CRM 4 look hot, and you can understand my joy when my favorite Windows Mobile Lead, Grace Kerrison, sent me a shiny new HTC TyTn II running Windows Mobile 6 Pro!
My first reaction to this device is that its heavy. And not like the 70’s, when that was a good thing. It’s heavy like my little chicken wings struggle to keep it to my ear. Getting past that, the first thing I discovered was the inbuilt GPS and Copilot software. Now this is where this device gets interesting.
So, the first thing I thought off when I first saw that the TyTn II had inbuilt GPS was:
1. The battery is going to take a caning.
2. It’s going to have shocking tracking and sat finding.
Well, the TyTn II has a little app called QuickGPS which is made by HTC, and it’s a little ripper. Essentially, it’s an implementation of assisted GPS which makes GPS life easy. Add to that the fact that it’s running the SiRF Star III (which is low power), and my two concerns above just magically go away.
The next big thing for me is that it’s running Windows Mobile 6 Pro. Now, this isn’t the first Windows Mobile 6 device that I’ve had, but some interesting things I’ve noted about Pro is:
1. It has this little icon at the top right hand corner which allows you to see all the running processes, and also allows you to configure whether pressing the X closes the app and leaves it running in memory, or completely shuts it down. Now for those who used to hate Pocket PC because it would load a bunch of crap into memory and keep it there long after use, this will be a big thing. It was for me.
2. Exchange 2007 Server Search – Now this is cool. It’s in both WM6 Pro and Std, but I didn’t discover it until Delicate Genius pointed it out to me the other day. But it rocks. Essentially I can search my whole mail file on the server from my mobile device, which is great if you don’t want to download 100’s of megs of data on your little mobile.
3. .NET 2.0 inside the phone ROM! Again, in both WM6 Pro and Std. For my purposes as a developer, this is a huge value add. One of the biggest pains was having to distribute the runtime to devices, which made it hard to push lightweight apps over the wire. Again, huge developer value add.
4. But the main thing. The part that I’ve been hanging for… Managed Coding against the GPS Intermediary Driver in Windows Mobile 6 Pro! This thing rocks! I won’t bore you with my take on it, other than to say, you can now use the updated WM6 Pro SDK in VS to build GPS Intermediary Driver enabled apps. Check out the article in MSDN here (http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb158708.aspx).
Now, I’m not doing justice to the phone itself, or the accompaniing software such as Copilot, in this post, but that would go on for more than a few paragraphs. But as soon as my CRM 4/GPS/WM6 demo is baked, I’ll put up a screencast of the code and config. The demo for those interested shows how to grab lead info out of CRM 4, work out on the device where you are and where the lead is based, then show you how to get there using Virtual Earth. Very simple, but pretty powerful.
Anyhoo, happy GPS’ing