Dell Streak – First Impressions

I have had about 30 minutes with the new Dell Streak, and I thought I would offer my initial impressions. First the good:

– It has a BIG beautiful screen
– It fits nicely in my pants pocket (it is thin)
– It has a nice BIG soft keyboard
– It is fast
– It runs the Android OS

And now the not so good:

– It has a proprietary connection for charging and synch
– The soft keyboard does not support the standard “hold the alpha key for the ALT symbol”
– Its support for Exchange is via WebDAV.  It won’t connect to my Exchange 2010 Server.
– It is running Android 1.6

Overall, I think it is very nice, and I think it will be much better with an OS upgrade (2.2 please) which should include full Exchange Active Sync support along with Calendar and Contacts.  I am hoping to get some more time with it in the next couple of days.

The Android Movie Gap

I was thinking about how much I enjoyed the last time I flew for business when I watched several TV shows on my iPhone. That got me to thinking about movies and Android devices. I know all about iTunes and the huge supply of movies and TV shows that are available for download for the iPhone. I wish there was some sort of central place where I would go to get LEGAL movie downloads for a reasonable price for Android devices. I know how to get DVDs down to the Android, but that takes some time and effort. Why isn’t there something like Amazon MP3 (Amazon MP4?) for movies? I know you can stream stuff to Android devices, but I would like to be able to watch movies while I am offline (on an airplane). I welcome your thoughts and comments. PLEASE keep all discussion positive and about LEGAL alternatives. I have no interest in torrents, nor am I interested in bashing Apple/iTunes.

Two hours I will never get back

I decided to call Sprint customer support this morning and ask them to help me with Exchange Active Sync (EAS) on my Hero running Android 2.1. Before calling, I updated my Hero with the latest OS bits, and I tried to sync (ending up with the same error I have seen all along, which I detail in a post below). I then verified that my EAS policy was set so that it did not require a password.

I called Sprint and got a very nice tech support person (no names, because I do not fault these guys). He walked me through the email setup process on the device, resulting in the error. He then had my clear the local phone profile and essentially re-activate the phone on the Sprint network. Did that, and we tried email again. Same error. He then directed me to two different blog posts that outlined two different things that had been done by others to resolve the problem. I had already tried both, but I played along. One had me check the inherited permissions on my account in ADUC, and the other had me check the EAS policy settings in EMC. Neither fixed my issue. Same error. He then said he would like to connect me to HTC’s support line.

After waiting for a bit, I got a support tech from HTC (again, no names). He had me provide the device serial number, and he walked me through the email configuration process again. Same error. He then had me try to install the .CER files, using the default application that only sees .p12 files. When this failed, he suggested I download File Manager from the Market and browse to the SD card (where the .CER files are) and tap on them and try to install them that way. I did so, and when I tap the .CER file, I am presented with a box asking me which application I would like to use. Bottom line – I was still not able to install the .CER files.

The HTC tech then suggested that I download Touchdown from the Market. He said that it worked with EAS and that they were suggesting this for people having issues with the native Mail application.

I told him that I was disappointed in HTC for breaking EAS with the 2.1 update. I told him that I hoped that they would put out an update to fix this issue, like they did with the Evo. I told him that I was reluctant to pay an additional $20 (for Touchdown) when the phone is advertised as supporting “direct push for corporate email.”

If you have a Hero and can not get it to work with your Exchange Server (doing EAS), please call HTC support at 866-449-8358. Feel free to use the points I mention above to drive home this issue. I am going to try to get in touch with Google through work to see what they have to say about this.

More later.

Disappointed with Sprint

I am a long-time personal customer of Sprint (10+ years). I recently upgraded one of the 5 phones on my plan to the HTC Hero. With the update to Android 2.1, the Hero no longer syncs email with Exchange using Active Sync.

I am unable to find a place on the Sprint website where I can submit this as an issue (and I am well aware of the support forums). I am unable to get the Sprint website to show me my contract details.

And worst of all, Sprint is STILL selling the Hero and Moment – two devices that are now more than a month past end of life (they will not receive any further OS updates). This is shameful. When I first got the Hero, it was running Android 1.5, and EAS was working flawlessly. The upgrade to 2.1 broke that. And Sprint is not doing anything about it, other than selling more of the same broken devices.

The Kin One and Kin Two are dead

Microsoft announced that it is discontinuing the Kin One and Kin Two due to disappointing sales. They will continue to support current owners, but they will cease all development and updates. Verizon indicates that they have plenty in stock, in case you want to get one as a souvenir.