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On The Road 2008: The Ultimate Stall Surfing Challenge



MeWell, I’m not sure if it is an ““Ultimate” challenge or not, because I really am only checking out three devices here, but play along.

There are a lot of closet Stall Surfers out there. You know who you are. In fact, it is, in my considered opinion, one of the reasons that folks love mobile devices so much is the opportunity for a bit of Stall Surfing. Forget all the talk about making you more productive at work. It is all about being able to cruise the Internet, read an eBook, or check email in those very private moments. With the advent of touch devices, even those touchy about the subject are coming out of the closet on this issue. And don’t feign modesty here. You know I’m talking to you.

Anyway, Tablet PCs and UMPCs both brought new life to Stall Surfing. But there was one problem. When you’re visiting, or have guests, there is always that embarrassment factor when you pick up your Tablet PC or UMPC and head off to the loo. Smaller devices seem to offer a little more discretion when you head off for a little Stall Surfing, and on this current trip, I’ve had the luxury to check out how well three devices perform in these situations. I’ve been experimenting with the OQO Model 02, the iPod Touch, and the Sprint (HTC) Mogul. Each offers some benefits over the other.

The iPod Touch

Stall surfing 006Of course you’ll need WiFi to use the iPod Touch in Stall Surfing mode, otherwise no Internet browsing for you. I imagine iPhone users find Stall Surfing to quite pleasant, even with slow Edge connectivity. I really enjoy the touch UI on the iPod Touch and it makes navigating through feeds with Google Reader quite simple. The Safari browser for the iPod Touch also makes it easy to take a look at a website in most cases. Unless you are accessing your email via the web (GMail for example) you can’t do so on the iPod Touch. In most instances you can browse one handed with the iPod Touch.

The OQO Model 02

Here you have a variety of options for Stall Surfing. You can access a WiFi network if it is available, or you can use embedded 3G connectivity if you’ve got a device with that option. If you do have embedded 3G, you can Stall Surf just about anywhere. The one downside to the OQO Model 02 is that it requires two handed operation to effectively use the excellent keyboard. Of course if you’ve installed Outlook or another email reader you can grab your email from any POP or IMAP account on the OQO.

The HTC Mogul

The Mogul in many ways is an old standby as I’ve been using it longer than the other devices. While the Windows Mobile browsing experience isn’t the smoothest in the world, Google’s mobile interface for Goggle Reader makes browsing feeds relatively easy. That said, going to a web page depends a lot on the web page design as to whether that will be a satisfactory experience or not. Email is also easy to access with the Mogul. One handed operation is also possible and relatively painless. The Mogul also offers the ability to use either WiFi or 3G connectivity.

So, I’ll keep experimenting while I have these devices to see which one wins out. It is a tough call at the moment. The iPod Touch just feels easier to use, but you do need WiFi access. The OQO Model 02 is quite enjoyable to work with, but the two handed operation can be a drawback. The Mogul works well and is quite efficient, but the touch interface isn’t as smooth as the iPod Touch.

Tough choices here. But what about you? What’s your favorite Stall Surfing device?

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