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TEST DRIVE: Day 6 - Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC as a Multimedia platform
Posted by Carlo Guerrero - on Monday, 21.07.03 - 07:31:17 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 9117x
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Here is one portion which I thought I could easily finish in a few hours. As it turned out, I got carried away and wasn't able to post this segment on time. As I mentioned in previous segments of this Test Drive, I've been working on an ASUS MyPal A620. With the reputation of ASUS as being a manufacturer who puts importance on multimedia capabilities, I was so curious as to how well the A620 would perform.

I started out by encoding several clips for testing to find out the limitation of the device. My favored clip is actually a movie trailer of Minority Report by Steven Spielberg. The reason why I like testing devices on this clip is that it has a whole set of quick scene changes, from split second scenes to scenes of several seconds, full action and fairly static. I ran an encoding of the clip close to its original MPEG file which I had. And since Windows Mobile 2003 comes with Windows Media Player 9, I encoded the whole set in Windows Media Audio and Video 9 codecs.

I was definitely surprised with the initial encoding I did which was basically running on a total Bit Rate of 232kbps using WMA9, 32kbps, 44kHz, stereo (A/V) 1-pass CBR, WMV9, 320x176(letterbox) at 24fps, 0 quality. I then re-encoded the clip to 50% quality and later on to 100% quality. All played flawlessly in Widows Media Player. I even did a special encoding to find out the quality of a full 320x240 screen and I was definitely surprised that the A620 could handle it still. Image quality suffers though at the given bit rate, but my original file wasn't at all that clean to start off with. The nice thing about it is that it is about half the size of the original MPEG-1 file. My 1minute 43second clip took 2.8MB in WMV format which is a significant size reduction from the original 5.9MB MPEG-1 clip.

I even tried streaming multimedia content from the WindowsMedia website and was able to get a fairly acceptable quality video clip while running on a GPRS connection all through my Smartphone 2002 powered Tanager (SMART Amazing Phone).

Windows Media Player 9 now definitely performs better than those previously found in Pocket PC 2002 devices, namely Windows Media Player 8 and Windows Media Player 8.5. Sound is better, WMA VBR encoded files sound great, playlist creation is straightforward. So far Windows Media Player 9 for Pocket PC is what I've always wanted and finally it's here.

Another multimedia offering included in the Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC is the Pictures application which now serves as the default image viewer instead of the Pocket Internet Explorer as with Pocket PC 2002. It works well with a few images but tends to lag when opening more than ten photos. A nice touch though is the auto-detection of a digital camera storage cards. A notification bubble prompts you and asks if you would want to launch Pictures when a CF card is inserted into the Pocket PC containing a digital camera file system.

You can view thumbnails, individual photos, adjust brightness and contrast, crop, rotate and even run a slide show. It even doubles as a screensaver when the device is docked for ActiveSync. Pictures can be beamed attached to email or used as Today Wallpaper all initiated from within Pictures.

That's all for now, stay tuned for the last of the 7 day Test Drive soon.

Mabuhay! ~ Carlo