When the HTC Shift was first announced there is no doubt that I wanted one; with a combined Vista and Windows Mobile setup in a nice UMPC package it looked like a dream machine. But as time went by and more information surfaced it became apparent that the Shift would be crippled in two main areas:
- very poor battery life under Vista
- a cut down version of Windows Mobile called SnapVue
SnapVue is essentially just a beefed up Today screen which let's you do very little except check the weather and keep up to date with emails via direct push so any real functionality requires you to switch to Vista to get things done - not for long though as you'll soon be out of juice.
I did wonder at the time whether it would be possible to install other applications under SnapVue but the absence of the normal Windows Mobile GUI made this look virtually impossible, that is until now!
Paul O'Brien over at the Windows Mobile resource site Modaco has posted a neat way of restoring full Windows Mobile functionality to the Shift by what he calls SHIFTpacks. You start by restoring the core Windows Mobile UI including the Start button and access to all the usual settings and then reintroduce stripped out applications such as Pocket IE, Remote Desktop and Windows Media Player.
As Paul says in his blogcast, the more functionality you can achieve within SnapVue the less you have to switch back to Vista and the longer your battery will last.
Many people, myself included, were all geared up to buy a Shift but the failings outlined above and the long delays in actually getting the device out of the door meant that many of those who initially fell for the concept had fallen out of love with the reality by the time we could actually get our hands on one; SHIFTpacks could change that. The ability to actually work within the Windows Mobile environment may cause those disaffected would be customers to take another look at the Shift and consider a purchase.
I still feel that the Shift is over priced (Expansys currently have it listed as £914 without a data contract) so needs to come down in price before sales will increase in any great numbers but the introduction of SHIFTpacks could tempt a few people that the cost is worth it.
If you already own a Shift or are considering getting one head on over to Modaco and get all the details on how to liberate your HTC Shift.
UPDATE: Warner Crocker over at GottaBeMobile has come up with an interesting point which they are making enquiries about: does the SHIFTpack violate any licensing agreements? Perhaps the Shift isn't licensed for having the full Windows Mobile 6 functionality - watch the above link for any developments.