MacGyver Phone?

The iPhone has been much lauded as both a savior and a plague. It both fulfilled and crushed hopes. It spoke of style and yet lacked substance in several places. But regardless of your feelings about this device, you have to admit that Steve Jobs definitely got everyone’s attention trained on Apple’s little morsel of electronic goodness. On the other end of the spectrum, in more ways than one, is a little company called HTC. They make Windows Mobile smartphones. One of their most popular, the TyTN has been a boon to the Microsoft collective. HTC does to Windows Mobile what Apple does to style…they kick it up a notch. And now it looks like HTC is about to do it again with their TyTN II (also known as the P4550 and the Kaiser).

Several people running tech sites have gotten models to review and the news is good. With twice the RAM and ROM of the predecessor, built-in GPS, and a tilt up screen when in landscape mode…it seems HTC has decided to bring some game. Rumors currently (as we haven’t seen official releases from companies) say we should see the AT&T Tilt (possibly the AT&T 8925) in about a week. There is also a possibility that there will be two models, one with a front camera for video conferencing and one without. This will, of course, change the cost of the phone. Pricing should be in line with what the current AT&T 8525 debuted at.

Now this phone isn’t the alternative to the iPhone if you like form over function. Love it or hate it, the iPhone is heavy on the sleek and stylish looks. The TyTN II is a little bulkier and less refined. But can you open your Office 2007 documents on an iPhone? Yes, the TyTN II comes with Office 2007 support. This is great because as businesses move to the new version and inevitably send files out in the new format…mobile workers will still be able to see and edit what is sent to them.

Which brings us to one of the real differences between the two products. People that need to get work done are the ones most likely to pick up the TyTN II. Less business oriented users will probably gravitate to the iPhone. Now I’ve had my hands on the original TyTN and on an iPhone. While the majority of my cellular use is personal, I’d much rather have the TyTN II in my possession. I have more use for a phone with Office capabilities than a phone with a novel interface. Especially since most of the actual iPhone functionality is available on the TyTN II. Instead of iPod mode, you can use Windows Media Player. Instead of using IMAP or POP to get Exchange email, just use Pocket Outlook. Best of all…the TyTN II has MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, and AIM from the factory.

I was one of the many buying into the iPhone hype, albeit a little skeptically (after all, who actually believes all of the marketing hype these days?). As time has begun revealing its inadequacies, I find myself more and more drawn to this new option that offers all I wanted from the iPhone and most of what I wanted beyond the iPhone.

UPDATE: It looks like HTC has changed their homepage to include a large banner for the TyTN II. I think we can safely assume that it’s official. The TyTN II is here and the carriers should have them in our grubby little hands within weeks. Now…if you’ll excuse me, I need to see if I can find a way to get the upgrade price before my upgrade eligibility in October.

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