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By Matt Miller
A couple challenges facing Windows Mobile smartphone users is the small displays and small keyboards that limit productivity. Celio Corporation is getting ready to launch their REDFLY Windows Mobile Smartphone Companion and we have an early beta model to evaluate for a couple of weeks.
Burgundy REDFLY Windows Mobile Smartphone Companion
The Burgundy color is professional looking and attractive. The finish on the device is the soft touch rubber we have seen on all the latest devices and feels great in your hand.
Bottom of the REDFLY
The bottom is fairly plain and a nice warning sticker makes sure this beta model isn’t sold 🙂
The back contains all the ports
There are several attachment points on the back of the REDFLY.
VGA out port
You can hook up a VGA cable and give presentations using your Windows Mobile device and the REDFLY.
Two USB 2.0 ports
One port is generally used to connect to your device and you can use the other for external drives, a mouse, or USB flash drive. The USB ports are powered so you can charge your Windows Mobile device as you use it with the Companion.
A/C adapter port
The device comes with an A/C adapter so you can charge it. Battery life is stated as 8 hours and I’ll get a chance to test this over the next couple of weeks.
Opening up the REDFLY
There is no clasp or magnet that holds the cover closed, but the strong, stiff hinges keep it closed well.
Touchpad and left/right buttons
The touchpad has some texture to it and is colored the same as the outer casing. The left and right mouse buttons are large so they are easy to press.
Close-up of the left side
The keyboard design is fantastic.
There are customizable quick launch buttons
By default these three buttons are set for the Today screen, Messaging application, and default web browser. I made sure the browser button was set to Opera Mobile since that is a much better browser than Internet Explorer Mobile.
Upper right keyboard
You can control settings like brightness from the keyboard too.
Eight inch display
The display is quite large, but it is not a touch screen and I kept touching it since I was used to using Windows Mobile this way.
There are two strong hinges that allow you to open the display up in a clamshell form factor.
Turning on the display with no device connected
The REDFLY logo appears on a white display. There is no OS on the device itself so nothing can be done without a Windows Mobile device.
Keyboard compared to an older, but goodie
Yes, that is my Apple Newton keyboard accessory shown below the REDFLY.
REDFLY and Fujitsu U810 UMPC
Boy, that U810 keyboard seems so much smaller in this picture.
Fujitsu U810 on the REDFLY
The U810 really is a small device.
U810 keyboard and REDFLY keyboard
Checking out the keyboard sizes.
REDFLY and HTC Advantage
The REDFLY may serve as a good companion to the Advantage, especially with the larger keyboard.
Advantage keyboard on the REDFLY
The Advantage keyboard is quite small.
AT&T Tilt and the REDFLY
The Tilt is one of the certified models that work with the REDFLY.
Tilt and REDFLY keyboards
The REDFLY makes a good companion for the Tilt.
Sample Today screen on the REDFLY
Your device is mirrored on the REDFLY and the resolution is bumped up automatically.
Alt-Tab is a handy feature
You can quickly switch between apps using the Alt-Tab keys on the keyboard of the REDFLY.
Programs icons from a VGA Advantage
This is a view with the standard Windows Mobile resolution.
Program icons with a true VGA hack
I am running RealVGA here and as you can see a lot more appears on the display.
Now this is how spreadsheets should be used
The screen real estate is valuable when working on spreadsheets and something like this is really not doable on the small Tilt display.
PlanMaker can be rocking too
This is a much more powerful application and with the large REDFLY display you may get a real desktop experience on your device.
Giving a presentation on the REDFLY
Pack light on your next trip to give a presentation.
Look at those application shortcuts
There is now plenty of room on your display for so much more.
Default Calendar month view
Your calendar is more usable on the 8 inch display.
Agenda One is even more functional
This integrated PIM application works great on the REDFLY.
Phone dialer needs a bit of work
The REDFLY is still in early beta so there are bound to be a few bugs still.
Bubble Breaker is broken
Another application that needs some work.
Lower res web page in Opera
Not too bad of a view and much better than on a phone.
High res utility brings you desktop browsing
Now this looks just like a UMPC browser, doesn’t it?
Google Maps is awesome
Look at how much you can see with Google Maps on an 8 inch display.
PocketBible and maps appear quite useful
You can definitely get by with viewing two translations side-by-side with this setup.
USB flash drives appear as remote storage
This wouldn’t work with the Advantage, probably because of the Microdrive and internal card slot (aka storage drive). It is nice to be able to use the device as a transfer mechanism though.