Hold your breath, Apple iPhone to HTC TyTN II Kaiser

UPDATE: My thoughts and experiences concerning the HTC TyTN II Kaiser.

Naturally, as time progresses, personal interest and taste change; replaced with new interest(s). Despite my own attempts to persuade myself to ignore the urge, I rarely follow through with my intention(s) to resist falling for the next latest & [purportedly] greatest gadget. Call it a pricey hobby, an infatuation, a crazy lust for all things shiny and electronic. There are very few items that manage to hold my attention and interest long enough to die a slow and natural death of overuse, abuse, and accidental breakage.

The most difficult urge? Mobile phones. As revisions and updates surface, cellphones become more and more advanced packing a more powerful "punch" than preceding handsets. Try as hard as I might – even going as far as ignoring tech sites and forums whose sole purpose is to focus on mobile phones – a small glimpse of a thumbnail is enough to send me careening for more information and a means to acquire a handset for my own use. It seems like only yesterday the amazing Nokia N95 was all I could think about, then the Apple iPhone dropped on to the scene, now… The HTC TyTN II Kaiser.

Deciding to give the HTC TyTN II Kaiser a proper break-in and thorough use before reviewing, I thought it might be interesting to recall my first, second, third – and all the way up to my current mobile handset [in chronological order].

  • Motorola V8160 – This was my first and probably the smallest flip phone that I have ever or will ever own.
  • Nokia 8290 – I think everyone had one of these phones at some point in their life. Nearly bombproof, the 8290 was a true warrior of a handset.
  • Nokia 8390 – My favorite mini candy bar handset from Nokia; that white backlit display was just perfect.
  • Sony Ericsson T68i – My first color screen handset. Nice to look at [for its time] but incredibly slow.
  • Nokia 7250i – My first decent camera phone. The T68i didn’t count because it required an external camera.
  • Siemens SL56 – A tiny slider that didn’t last too long. The cramped keyboard was too small for heavy SMS messaging.
  • NEC 525 – Large vibrant screen but cumbersome phone software.
  • SideKick (color) – Sometimes you just end up with a sour lemon.
  • SideKick II – I assumed the 2nd generation SideKick was going to be better. *cough*
  • Treo 650 – My first experience with Palm. Juggling multiple applications was great.
  • Samsung A920 – A complimentary handset from Sprint. Samsung made a solid flip phone that doubled as an EVDO modem for tethering.
  • Treo 700p – An updated case and OS provided an even better Palm experience than the Treo 680. No other threaded SMS app comes close, unless you count the iPhone.
  • Samsung Upstage – A complimentary handset from Sprint. The two LCD screen design is more inconvenient than convenient.
  • BlackBerry 8703e – A solid BlackBerry device.
  • BlackBerry 8100 Pearl – The slim form factor was great, the keyboard layout, not high on my list of favorites.
  • Nokia N95 – A true power packed Nokia candybar slider. 5MP camera, 30 fps recording, GPS, Symbian.. Nearly perfect. Well actually, now that the 3G US version is out… It just might be.
  • BlackBerry 8300 Curve – The slim form factor of the Pearl, but a full-size keyboard reminiscent of my first BlackBerry the 8703e.
  • Apple iPhone – The easiest phone to open, charge, and start using. A high resolution touch screen that still has its faults.
  • HTC TyTN ii Kaiser – My first Windows Mobile (6) device. I’ll share my thoughts regarding my feeling of switching from the iPhone to the Kaiser.

* There were a few other handsets between the first and current handsets but their names have slipped my mind.

The list will go on. But for now, I’m overwhelmed with the HTC TyTN ii Kaiser. Check back for an update which will share my experiences switching from Apple’s all touch-screen iPhone to a Windows powered Smartphone. That Apple iPhone could never be labeled a true Smartphone anyway… right? What handsets did you own, and which among them was your favorite?

Discuss - 20 Comments

  1. Ryan says:

    Good lord, it’s a who’s who of phones. I haven’t owned nearly that many, and none really nearly as cool either.

    What do you do with all of the old ones?

  2. Ian says:

    Dude! That is one long list of phones! I hear you on the love of gadgetry and I can often find myself spending far too much time on the latest gadget sites and have to keep my eyes from wandering too closely to the windows of the apple store as I pass (unless its the end of the month and I’ve just been paid) but even I’d struggle to use and abuse that many mobiles. That’s quite an accolade!

    I do currently have an imate k-jam though (basically a rebadged TyTN) and I’ve got to say I’ve not been impressed. They’re far too big and cluncky for me and Windows Mobile seems to be about as reliable as expected from the Microsoft OS range. Being one of the deprived bunch of brits I’m still awaiting the much anticipated release of the iPhone on November 9th. Come that day though I’ll have no hesitation in getting rid of the imate/TyTN and adding another Apple product to my repertoire.

  3. Douglas Karr says:

    I’ve owned 3 HTCs of the last 2 versions. All 3 of them broke. The first one the toggle broke, the next 2 the screens. I finally gave up and purchased a RAZR instead of using my insurance to buy the 4th one. They are ungodly thick – this one looks no different.

  4. Derek says:

    I wouldn’t say that Kaiser is ungodly thick. It is very similar to the Nokia N95. Of course, these types of feelings regarding a phones thickness vary from person to person.

  5. Leo says:

    Yo Derek, just dropping by to read your blog as a routine stop in my daily scavange hunt for the next gadget to waste my money on. I also have a cell phone/gadget “fetish” as some would like to call it though I don’t churn through mine as quickly as you do. Your list is pretty impressive! Have you explored foreign phones much? I’m usually a bigger fan of phones you can’t get here in the states through main stream channels… Here’s a short list of phones i’ve used in the past few years: Nokia 8810, Sharp GX-21, Moto RAZR, Nokia 8800, Sharp 904SH, Sony K800, Sharp 903SH (Black), Sharp 903SH (White)… been eyeing the Nokia 8600 Luna lately but can’t let go of my Sharp & having trouble justifying the price tag… anyways, back to work, tell Syl I said hi…

  6. Ian says:

    Not to be confused with the Ian above, I’ve wrestled with phone choices from time to time, but I keep coming back to my BB Pearl. I personally don’t care for really wide phones, so pretty much any full-keyboard phone is out for me. Sure, the Pearl has a small screen, but I love SureType enough to consider the Pearl 2 once it comes out. I’ve used WM5 on my Dell Axim, and sure, there are plenty of applications for WM, but the interface is a little too clunky for me. Do let us know how you like it, especially after a few weeks of usage.

  7. You went from iPhone to WinMo?! You need to get some fresh air and rethink your decision. 😉

  8. Derek says:

    Hey don’t know WM6! As of right now, I have no gripes with the phone nor operating system aside from the fact that it carries the Microsoft badge.

  9. Father Dom says:

    I don’t think it is wise to compare the two phone, since the iPhone is not even offered via a business line, while the HTC TyTN II Kaiser is made as a smart phone, so to speak.

  10. Derek says:

    I don’t think it is wise to compare the two phone, since the iPhone is not even offered via a business line, while the HTC TyTN II Kaiser is made as a smart phone, so to speak.

    You’re right, an authentic comparison wouldn’t be inappropriate when you consider the user base that these handsets are made available to. I will admit here and now that the iPhone was one of the easiest cellphones that I have ever used. But, as many others are aware, the phone has a number of limitations – one of which prevents business professionals from making use of the handset.

    The iPhone was definitely one of the most hyped devices, but it is far from being a "Jesus phone" as I’ve read on various sites [mocking] the handset. I know there are a handful of individuals curious to know what it is like to move from the iPhone to a Windows Mobile device which is what my upcoming "comparison" will address (on a personal level).

    BTW, for anyone curious, AT&T released the US version of the HTC TyTN ii Kaiser, the HTC Tilt today (10/5). $299 with a new line of service. The same $299 price for the Apple iPhone.

  11. Sadly, I have an HTC Mogul for sprint.

    I want you iPhone!

  12. Bruce says:

    Wow Derek that’s some addiction you’re funding (I’m still on my 2003 vintage T610). Congratulations, you’re the first blogger I’ve read about who has “moved on” from the iPhone (oh so yesterday).

  13. Derek says:

    Bruce, you reminded me of the T610i I had but didn’t list 😉

  14. Jordan says:

    Derek, Sell me your iPhone.


  15. Slayer says:

    Got the Tytn II free-ish from Orange on Saturday. I knew it was coming and held of upgrading until the internet told me they were available from Orange. Its a good phone, but still trying to get to grips with the ‘usability’ of it…I can seem to do anything without the blinking stylus….give me some time. My true test for usability is dialling someone (without voice activation) one handed whilst doing something else (*cough*) and without coming to a sticky end or causing same. Treo was easy (could program buttons on the home screen for people and you could get someone’s name from the address book with 4 keypresses max). Blackberry 7100 was also OK (proper keys, not thw wishy washy tytn ones, which you could feel without having to look).

    Maybe practice may improve things, need a bit more time. My one gripe is the the truly crap Orange home screen that they insist on adding to their devices. What a pile of poo. Makes the device completely non-intuitive – buttons are too small to use without the stylus. the Original TyTN screen would be much better. Trying to figure out how to do that without losing my Orange settings.


  16. Slayer says:

    Oh, and they took out the TomTom GPS s/w here in the UK. But other carriers (eg T-mobile) didn’t do that. Curious.

    They do include a TrafficTV app that shows camera images of major UK highways and their relative speeds, but its looks near unusable over the mobile network (works OK on wi-fi). AND its not something thats usable when you are actually driving, so loses some usefulness there.

    Orange, well done on not rebranding it SPV, but why not go the whole way and give us a phone that WORKS as the designers intended? Who knows, you may beat your competitors to market as well, if you did that, rather than trying to be clever. I don’t need Traffic TV and ‘visit these really cool Orange website links’ (to spend even more on the dodgy Orange data tariff).



  17. Derek says:

    Slayer, unlocked phones always have a way of turning into bloated handsets whenever carriers step in. I finally dropped some thoughts concerning my experiences with the fully unlocked TyTN II Kaiser. There was actually a CAB floating around with everything that at&t was shipping with on the Tilt. Out of curiosity I installed it and immediately did a hard reset of my device. There was way too much bloat loaded.

  18. Ravi says:

    Wow, I can’t believe anyone could go through so many phones in such a short time.

    I’m still using my first-ever cell phone, a Sony Ericcson T637. I have to say though, in retrospect, it was one of the best decisions I ever made — I havent seen a non-smartphone come through that was better than that phone until the iPhone.

  19. John T says:

    I have had a T Mobile Vario 3 (HTC TYTN II ) for five months now. It is pretty unreliable – the screen has packed up twice leaving the phone unusable.

    From the posts above the screen seems a common fault.

    It is also pretty difficult to interface with Macs.

    I will move to I Phone as soon as my contract ends. My previous Blackberry’s Pearl and 7300 have worked a treat and I have used them whilst the HTC has been in for repair.

    Definitely NOT impressed.


  20. Marcelo says:

    I’ve had my HTC TyTN II for one year now…. as a phone, it is great, as a PDA…. it is great…. only applied the HTC official patches, and the xda-developers SIP VoIP cab, and it works…. great, even with skype….
    i even managed to use exchange push mail, great in all aspects.