Smarthome enthusiasts love to control and monitor their homes remotely. I’ve found nothing is as well suited to this as a Smartphone. Whether you communicate with your house via SMS text messages or email, or view your CCTV cameras remotely, nothing beats the screen size, data connectivity and portability of a Smartphone.
So my Smartphone Mark3 is the T-Mobile MDA Vario II. Based on the Hermes / TyTN model from HTC, the phone has many guises including the Vodafone 1605 VPA Compact III and the Orange SPV M3100. However, the T-Mobile “Web ‘n’ walk” package was what moved me away from a lifetime with O2. Web ‘n’ walk gives “unlimited” data for £7.50 per month. There’s a fair use limit of 2GB but compare that to £2.50 per MB I was paying O2!
I’ve had the Vario II for almost three months now. Internally the phone is very similar to the XDA Exec, but with a QVGA screen instead of VGA. The Vario 2’s slide out keyboard isn’t as nice as the Exec’s either, but it is still very usable. I have actually typed a couple of hundred word article on mine whilst unexpectedly detained in a retail environment (that’s code for shopping with the Mrs).
The size of the device is it’s huge advantage over the Exec. Overall it’s not much bigger than a Nokia 6600. It’s battery life is a huge improvement too, and I regularly get around 3 days out of mine with light use. Windows Mobile 5 is much more stable too, I have gone for a couple of weeks without having to reboot this phone, which is a major improvement.
It’s hard to imagine not being able to receive email or browse the web anywhere at anytime now. I have every contact in my phone, every phone number, postal address, email address, birthday, anniversary, website, to-do list and note I need. On top of all that I have TomTom GPS which, in conjunction with a little Bluetooth GPS receiver, has taken us round France the last two summers. On the Vario’s 1GB micro SD card I have various podcasts, music, TV shows and even a movie to keep me amused when I need them.
So, the Vario II is the second device ever to win the Automated Home Top Tech Award. Even Captain Kirk never dreamed of a communicator like this!