StyleTap Platform for Windows Smartphone

PC World
Saturday, April 14, 2007; 12:32 PM

You've invested in a fair number of Palm apps over the years, but your Palm OS-based Treo smartphone is starting to look a bit clunky next the skinny new Windows Mobile-based handsets that are flooding the market. One possible fix is StyleTap's eponymous software for running Palm apps on a Windows Mobile device whether or not the device has a touch screen (which Palms have by default). It might make switching to Windows Mo--bile easier, but don't expect perfection.

I tried a preview version of StyleTap Platform for Windows Smartphone ($50) on a Samsung Blackjack. Unlike previous versions of StyleTap, which supported only Pocket PCs with touch screens, the new version works with newer display formats (such as the Blackjack's small, wide-aspect-ratio screen) and doesn't require a touch screen.

Getting started with StyleTap is easy: I installed the associated desktop software--a 1.2MB download--on my PC (Windows Vista users must have the latest version of Windows Mobile Device Center, available from Microsoft's site); StyleTap's icon appeared on the Blackjack after my next desktop synchronization. On subsequent sync sessions, StyleTap installed Palm programs and files that I chose by dragging and dropping into the window of the desktop app.

When I ran a Palm app, StyleTap created a cursor that functioned like a stylus: You move it with the smart phone's directional control (a four-way wheel on the Blackjack), and press the 'select' or 'OK' button in lieu of tapping. By default, the cursor moves one pixel at a time when you press the wheel; a cursor setting lets you in--crease the number of pixels the cursor moves on each wheel press.

Differences in screen resolution make apps look a little funky. For example, I had trouble telling spades from clubs in a Palm card game run on the Blackjack. And some programs won't run at all: One app I tried caused the Blackjack screen to go white until I rebooted the phone. (StyleTap's site maintains a list of apps that are certified to be compatible, as well as a list of apps that users have reported are compatible.)

StyleTap may not be perfect, but it might tide you over until a new Palm-compatible device comes along--or help ease your transition to one of the increasingly popular Microsoft Windows Mobile-based alternatives.

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