Sharp End: Data back-up and HTC HD2 trumps iPhone


We need more backup
I’ve reaped the huge benefits in using a free online service at to remotely backup a customer’s phone contacts; and subsequently restore those contacts back to a customer’s phone in the event it is lost or stolen.

This service has worked well for years and earned me some new business, as well as helping me retain existing business.

A few months ago ZYB was bought by Vodafone, along with a pledge that it would be business as usual and the core service would always be free of charge. Now, however, all that has changed.

Recently I attempted to create a new account for an upgrading customer of mine, and ZYB was ideal for moving the hundreds of contacts across from the old phone to the new phone.

But I encountered the following message from Vodafone: “Vodafone 360 takes the best of ZYB and makes it even better. With a Vodafone 360 account you can access your phone, email, chat and social network contacts from a single secure address book that’s always backed up online and synchronises automatically and wirelessly between your phone, PC and Mac”.

I was initially annoyed, as only two models of phone were supported by the service, but now it supports hundreds.

When creating an account users simply choose their model of phone and the Vodafone 360 service will send a hyperlink text to the phone, the user clicks on this and installs the SyncML software onto their phone. Once installed the software canbe run and remote backup and syncing commences.

Vodafone is obviously trying to get in on the buzzwords of the moment, “social networking”, in a bid be seen as the network of choice for all the social networkers out there.

But, when I tried to activate the software download from the text link my browser informed me, “error 404 page not found”. So not a good start, but if Vodafone can iron out the initial teething problems then it potentially has a very good service.

All networks should be coming up with services that will enable their customers to automatically backup up their phone’s data. O2 does it with a service called Blueroom. Microsoft now does it on all Windows Mobile 6.5 devices via the Microsoft MyPhone service, but more should be done to improve on these features and to promote their availability.

Customers change their phones regularly, and need an easy way to get information from one handset to another. At the moment, the easiest way I have found is the service offered by the likes of ZYB/Vodafone360, but it should be better than this and more universally available.

HTC HD2 trumps iPhone
The long awaited HTC HD2 has finally been released in the UK and is starting to appear on various networks.

The HD2 is the latest Windows Phone from HTC and is the first Windows Phone to have a capacitive screen like the iPhone rather than the normal resistive screen. The capacitive screen makes for a much more “fluid” experience especially due to the new HTC Sense interface that sits on top of the normal Windows Phone 6.5 operating system. The screen size on the HD2 is huge, at 4.3 inches, and makes internet browsing and photo/video viewing a delight.

Powered by a 1Ghz Snapdragon processor, the HD2 is no slouch and can handle many open applications simultaneously (unlike the iPhone, which cannot have more than one running).

Although, I must admit, that the text entry may take some getting used to by those switching from “old fashioned” tactile buttons.

But the HTC Sense interface integrates various social networking features, meaning that you don’t have to continually keep opening
social network applications like Facebook and Twitter to get the latest updates.

I have been using the HTC HD2 for a little over a week now and I believe this to be the best phone that I have used. For someone getting on a bit now and having failing eyesight the huge screen area is a real benefit. The phone also features iPhonelike “pinch to zoom” for easy panning of the screen. Battery life is not amazing, given the resolution and size of the screen, so expect to be charging daily.

One nice little feature of the HD2 is that with the tap of a finger you can activate a Wi-Fi feature that turns the mobile phone into a Wi-Fi router. Once activated you can access the internet by any Wi-Fi enabled device that you have.

Should you have any customers who are doing your head in regarding the iPhone that you can’t supply them, then give the HD2 some serious thought.

One independent reviewer pitted the HD2 and the iPhone 3G S against each other on 15 various features and the HD2 came out tops in eight of them, the iPhone came out top in one, with the other six features resulting in a tie. Still, at 8-1 to the HD2, I know who I’m backing.