Redfly Mobile Companion : A brilliant idea and the must have accessory for WINMO devices summer 2008

I’ve been using a Redfly for about a month now, and I think that it’s one of the best accessories for a Windows Mobile smartphone that I have ever seen.

It looks like a laptop which makes people think that it’s a computer in its own right, but in fact it isn’t – it’s a keyboard and an SVGA screen which both connect over Bluetooth to your phone allowing you to use the full capacity of your smartphone,

I found it to be a superb way of getting my e-mail when I am out and about and it makes Pocket Word and Excel 50-times more usable than they are on a 3-inch QVGA display.

Let that sink in for a minute – its just a screen, a keyboard and a big battery, no processor, no operating system, just a remote screen and keyboard for your phone with an oversized power source attached.

But there are two other cool things about it as well – it has 2 powered USB ports and the battery is huge, much bigger than the Redfly alone requires so you can use it to top up your phone’s battery when you are away from an AC outlet, I went away for 3 days last week and never charged the Redfly or my phone.

I just topped my phone up from the Redfly the whole time – I use push e-mail all day and normally charge my MWg Zinc II in the afternoon and again at night so the Redfly was working quite hard.

You can also use the USB ports to connect USB memory which is then accessible to your phone – ideal for music and videos.

The guys at Celio have also done a superb job of the Bluetooth pairing software, pairing Bluetooth devices is still a pain in many cases but with the Redfly you simply connect the phone to the Redfly with a USB cable and press ‘pair’ then you can disconnect and use the devices – brilliant.

I have got a couple of niggles with the Redfly though, the unit is well made but it doesn’t look as well made or well designed as it is, some of the plastics feel a bit cheap and the whole thing lacks density – though I suppose some people prefer light weight gadgets, I prefer them to feel denser and more metallic than the Redfly. Also the price is a bit on the high side when compared with UMPCs like the MSI Wind or the Asus EEE PC, although it’s a very different device and better in many ways.

Celio see a huge corporate market for these devices, mainly as laptop replacements, Most current Windows Mobile cellphones (6.0 and above) can be remotely locked or wiped using Microsoft’s new management tools if they are lost or stolen and since the Redfly stores no data a WINMO phone plus a Redfly is a great solution for people who work with sensitive data and want to be 100% sure that it can’t be lost.

All in all this is my recommendation for the ‘must have’ smartphone accessory for summer 2008.

This post was contributed by eXpansys plc, the owner of the eXpansys brand, the largest wireless technology online retail business in Europe and the USA.