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List of vaguely-usable old Windows Mobile phones

I used second-hand Windows Mobile phones from 2009 to 2019, primarily for a reference CD-ROM which, for its 2008 through 2014 versions, had an option to run on Windows Mobile 2003SE, 5 or 6.x but not the more recent devices. To assist with finding equipment, I created a "wiki" page called "List of Windows Mobile Devices", but it was also useful to place the following more-opinionated list on my own site.

To get on this list, a phone must:

Some "marketplace" websites with "advanced search" functionality let you search for an OR combination of quoted phrases. This is useful because identical or very similar phones have different names. Depending on the marketplace, you might need to insert commas between the quoted items, and perhaps parenthesise the whole query. You might be given a choice between "all words" and "any words", but this choice might be best left unchanged as the site's developers don't always test it on complex queries (for example in late 2012 a famous site's search function started ignoring quote marks when "any words" was set, whereas it worked if you said "all words" but inserted commas).

You may also wish to "exclude" words like adapter adaptor battery cable card case charger cover chassis cradle earpiece film for games guard handsfree headset holder kit mechanism membrane mount pouch protector protectors replacement sock spare stylus unlock to reduce the "clutter" of spare-parts listings.

All these phones can develop faults, even when left in a drawer, so try not to pay too much for a working one---you might need to replace it from time to time. (I don't usually bother with auctions---I've wasted too much time losing them. You can search for fixed-price immediate sales within your range.)

WM phones might have problems with email.

2G phones with touchscreens

Some of these phones' microphones (designed for use near the cheek) don't work so well in speakerphone positions---they pick up too much when in front, or lose sound when too far. The effect may not be so bad on a 3G signal, but if you're on 2G and use speakerphone (for SAR reductions or to see the display), try having the mic a fingertip away from your cheek and the speaker further away (you can still check the screen when not speaking).

2G no-touchscreen phones (with number pads)

Here is a script to adjust the outgoing call timer (can also log signal strength), and SBMinutes to check call time more accurately.

3G phones with touchscreens

3G phones can improve voice quality even in a 2G-only area / building if your 2G network supports 3G's AMR compression, although this does increase 2G's power load slightly. Where 3G signal is available it also gives faster data and causes no 217 Hz burst-interval noise on sensitive audio equipment, but its continuity can be too much for an ailing second-hand battery. 3G WM phones can be switched to 2G-only if necessary; if option not shown, try editing registry and setting "3G" instead of "ActiveSync" in HKLM / Software / HTC / CommManager / 8.

3G phones with touchscreens and GPS

GPS usage affects battery life (tracking the signal needs lots of maths, and if you lose track then it takes time to re-acquire even with aGPS). So pedestrians probably won't use GPS much and therefore won't need to insist on it. (Cell-based location is usually sufficient and takes less power.)
If you don't mind version 6.1 (which won't run the published binaries of Wenlin or eSpeak, but it should still run Python and it can manage more RAM than WM5/6), you could try: If you don't mind WM 6.5 (see above re PythonCE), you could also try:

Non-QWERTY phones with larger screens

If you need to find a WM phone and you don't need QWERTY or compatibility with eSpeak etc, but need a larger screen, try searching for "HTC Touch HD" "HTC Max 4G" "HTC HD2" "Garmin-Asus M10" "Acer F900" "Samsung Omnia II"---these are WM6.1+ phones with screens from 3.5 to 4.3 inches and without potentially-`dodgy' sliding mechanisms. Do check the software you'll use works on 6.1+ though. Some old 2003SE phones also have 3.5in screens: "HTC Alpine" "O2 Xda III" "O2 Xda IIs" "Orange SPV M2000" "Orange SPV M2500" "Qtek 9090" "Siemens SX66" "T-Mobile MDA III" "i-mate PDA2k"
This data is* for pointers only; I can't guarantee it's correct or that these phones will suit your needs. Always check what you are actually getting.
(* I believe the word "data" can now be used as an uncountable "mass" noun like "water" or "milk", not just the countable plural of "datum".)
All material © Silas S. Brown unless otherwise stated.