Well I’ve had my Tilt for a while now and I think I have pretty much gotten everything right where I want it. With that in mind, I figured I would write up a little post reviewing some of my software picks and settings tweaks to make it more user friendly. After all, the greatest technological device in the world is nothing more than a paperweight without the right user tools.
Let’s start with the “value added” (read “crapware”) software that AT&T loads these devices down with. Unless you actually plan on buying a slew of overpriced games or the TeleNav service, I would skip it. When you first turn on your Tilt, it will bring up a box saying that it is installing the AT&T customizations. Just do a soft reset on the device and none of that junk will be there when it boots back up. To do this, just poke the stylus into the reset hole on the bottom of the phone. That’s all there is to it. All of the goodness of Windows Mobile 6 and none of the crap.
Next, I made a little jaunt over to the XDA Developers website and hit the Kaiser forums. The first forum has a sticky post with a slew of cab files (programs) for the Tilt. I suggest that getting the HTC Home cab with the N2A patch is a must. First off, it gives you a large clock that is easily visible on your home screen. It also has a weather tab, customizable quick launch and contacts tabs, and a notification area for new emails, text messages, and missed calls. I advise the N2A patched version because it has a modified DLL for the weather tab allowing you to add custom cities since there are very few US options available by default.
If you compliment the HTC Home cab with the HTC Home Customizer (version 0.8b in the Hermes forums) then you will have an easy way to add cities to your weather database, change the look of the clock, and of course change most of the appearance related settings for the Home plugin without needing to hit the registry. It is a simple tool with a lot of power under the hood.
Some settings, however are just going to need a registry editor. The PHM Registry Editor is linked in the forums. There are a couple of others, but I find that PHM’s is very easy to use. The XDA forums will have information on any and all of the registry hacks you could need or want to tweak your Tilt.
Moving on, I also endorse the use of Windows Live Mobile. This tool allows you to add your Hotmail/Live account as an email account via IMAP and has the Live Search tool which will allow you to get directions. Yes, it will use your GPS for positioning and give you turn by turn while in map view. The best part, it’s free. That’s a far better deal than TeleNav if you want a system for your GPS that doesn’t require GBs of space. The downside is it only works when you have a data connection…but then so does TeleNav. The only alternative I can recommend if you need GPS directions when you have no signal is to go out and buy a product like TomTom.
Lastly on the programs side of things is another Microsoft offering. Microsoft Voice Command v1.6 has become my most used tool. At $40 it isn’t very expensive. This system lets you issue spoken commands to the phone without all of that tedious “training”. You can easily access any contact via name or have it dial a phone number that you dictate. Also among its features are media control, announcements of incoming messages and calls (and who they are from), and the ability to report device status. I find that I get irritated now if I actually have to touch my phone to do anything. I much prefer the ability to just hit my Bluetooth earbud button and issue a command while on the go.
That pretty much sums up the rundown of my software additions. I would suggest looking into the XDA forums for registry hacks for things like disabling the SMS Sent Notification which can become annoying rather quickly. And since your SIM contacts will get dropped into Outlook if you sync your phone with your PC (assuming you connect the phone to Exchange), you can get the hack to have Contacts not display SIM entries. That way you won’t see double. There are many more options out there and even some options for the more adventurous.
So this isn’t good enough? You want to use the standard HTC version of Windows Mobile? You don’t want any of the AT&T custom software anywhere on your system? XDA can help there, too. The Kaiser Upgrading forum is where the wizards have gone in and cooked custom ROMs for the Tilt/Kaiser. As time goes on, there will be more but they already have an impressive set of custom ROMs for just about anything a person could want. Just remember to read the threads carefully. You void your warranty when you use a non-AT&T ROM on a Tilt, though there are ways around that. Hence…read slowly, read thoroughly, and take notes before taking the plunge. I haven’t gone that far yet, but I’ve followed the threads of Tilt owners that have. Perhaps that will be a project for next year…