If you missed Mike's first take on the AT&T Tilt, you should go take at look at that first. He mentions there that Windows Mobile is awfully darn customizable - and with his “fond farewell” he gets into it even more:
The thing about Windows Mobile that I came to appreciate is that it's ridiculously powerful. If I want to check my mail, I can do it. If I want to browse the web, I can do it. If I don't like the default app that ships with Windows Mobile, I can replace it with a better one. The system is admittedly a tweaker's paradise. If you like getting gadgets and playing with them and they're like toys for you, than Windows Mobile is basically an infinite playground.>
That's exactly right, Windows Mobile is a tweaker's dream. But Mike makes an important point: that tweakability cuts both ways - with great power comes great responsibility. Which is to say that with the AT&T Tilt you're responsible for getting the beast tamed into usability submission. That's a fair complaint and one that I'm more prone to agree with lately. I do think that someday soon Microsoft will give us a new interface that makes their devices feel more “smartphone-like” and less “desktop-like.”
In the meantime we have the Faustian deal of customizability - Windows Mobile folks have more options to get to an ideal experience, but the “default” option isn't all that great. For myself, on the whole, it's a deal I'm willing to cut so I can do that tweaking and get to my smartphone happy place.
...one last thought: We're not proud of the fact that configuring GPS on Windows Mobile requires you to set a COM port. Yet it does mean that you can get Windows Mobile to speak correctly with pretty much any bluetooth device you'd ever want to connect it to.
(quick note: will be closing comments on this post so the conversation isn't split amongst multiple threads. Head on over to the Round Robin thread associated with Mike's article to discuss his final thoughts on the AT&T Tilt!)