Thursday, June 8, 2006
The HTC Star Trek: Thin is In
Posted by Jason Dunn in "HARDWARE" @ 08:00 AM
External Screen Goodness
If you're a clamshell phone lover like me, you know how handy it is to be able to pull our your phone, and without opening it up, check the time, date, etc. I don't wear a watch, so my phone is my timepiece. The HTC Star Trek makes superb use of the external screen. Some of the things it displays include:
Figure 19: Media Player: pressing the play button on the front of the phone will start up Windows Media Player 10 Mobile in the background (if the buttons are unlocked, you may need to press the camera button first to unlock it. It takes about three seconds to load, and that's with no music files in the library. You can control the volume level of the player, pause and play the song, and select next/previous songs.
Figure 20: When someone calls, the external screen will display the phone number, or the name of the person if they're in your contact list.
Figure 21: It will also display a caller ID photo if one is attached to the contact in Outlook. Unfortunately, the image is so tiny on the screen it's almost useless. My wife is far more beautiful than that silly picture shows. ;-). I estimate it's around 80 pixels wide and 60 pixels tall. It would have been nicer to see the entire screen used for the photo, and the name or number overlaid on top of the image.
Figure 22: There are three different analog clock choices, and two different digital clock choices. Speaking of that clock, believe it or not, that photo was completely random - I didn't wait until that time to take the picture. Shortly afterwards, my eyes started to burn. ;-) It also shows the year, month, and day (in that order). What's strange is that it doesn't seem to pick up these settings from the Regional Settings in the control panel like it should. In Canada, we do month/day/year, and the external screen should respect those settings. The screen also shows "09:00" instead of "9:00", what I'd prefer to see. No AM or PM icon is shown, so if you've been kidnapped and stuff in the trunk of a car, you can't use this feature to know whether it's day or night. It also shows battery level, signal level, ring/silent mode, Bluetooth status, and EDGE/GPRS status (a small "E" or "G").
Figure 23: Email & Text Message Notification: it shows a small notification of the number of email or text messages you've received. No email content is shown.
Figure 24: Appointment Reminders: it shows you the duration of the appointment (9:30am to 10:30am) and gives you the option to either dismiss the reminder, or snooze it. Showing the first 30 characters of the reminder description would have been helpful.
Unfortunately there's no way to keep the external display powered up continuously, likely because it's colour and would be a huge battery drain. The good news is that the forward and back media player buttons will activate the screen � they're much easier to find and press than the small side buttons.
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