We asked, and you...er...asked back! Here are the answers to all your questions (that we felt like answering) about the T-Mobile Dash, the slim smartphone from T-Mobile. Our review is back here, in case you wanted to read that first.
Q: How does IMing work with the built-in OZ messenger? Does it use data or SMS?
A: All your messages are transferred over SMS, which means you need a fatty text message plan if you want to send lots of messages. It also uses your GPRS/EDGE occasionally, like when signing on, but we're not sure what's up with that. The bulk of your messages will be over SMS, so plan accordingly.
Q: Can Skype be run?
A: Skype can only be run, as of right now, on Pocket PC versions of Windows Mobile 5. The Dash uses the Smartphone edition. If you wanted to run Skype, the T-Mobile MDA can run Skype pretty well if you overclock the device using an app (it's very easy to do) and use WiFi as your data.
Q: How well does the touch strip work?
A: Not great. You can only use it for volume control, and as you can see from this shot, it takes up the whole screen. We'd have preferred a traditional volume scroller or buttons.
Q: Will this be capable of using over home and office wifi or just t-mobile hotspots?
A: You can use it on any WiFi access point, including your home's.
Q: Will the Dash work with T-zones or do you have to subscribe to a data plan?
A: The Dash will work with T-zones for browsing some email, but if you want to use a third-party IM client like Agile Messenger or various other apps you will have to subscribe to a data plan.
Q: Will this work with T-Mobile's upcoming 3G Network?
A: No, the Dash only has GPRS and EDGE, not any kind of 3G data.
Q: Would this is be useful as a wifi device to check news, webmail, sports scores, etc. on the go (hopefully at free hotspots)? If so, is it all keyboard/button controlled (since there is no touchscreen), or is there a cursor device of some type?
A: Yes, checking news and sports scores is fine with the PocketIE (or Opera Mobile, if you install that, but costs money.) for most web pages. I use a RSS reader called pRSSreader on the MDA, but it's not available for Smartphone Editions like the Dash. There should be an RSS reader out there that is though.
As for the controls, yes it's all controlled by the directional pad in the middle of the keyboard, so scrolling requires you to hold down on the d-pad for a while. There's no touch screen on this phone.
Q: Will this be available on Cingular? How's T-Mobile's service?
A: Beats me. Probably somewhere down the line, but T-Mobile's service is fine for voice as long as you live in a moderately populated area. The data is alright too, but kind of slow if you're comparing it to the other big-three providers.
Q: Is it decent to use without a Bluetooth headset? In other words, would I look like a tool if I had that up against the side of my head? Also, any word on pricing?
A: It's kind of wide, so if you picture the broad on Veronica Mars talking on her huge phone, it's kind of like that. Of course you're not an extremely cute blonde, so you may not be able to pull it off. Pricing is "$199 with a two-year contract, $249 with a one-year contract, and $349 if you want to buy it without a contract."
Q: It's between this and the MDA for me. With that in mind, what software can I get for the WM5 platform? A decent RSS reader? SSH? VNC? A usable media player for compressed video?
A: The MDA has a great RSS reader, SSH, VNC (kind of slow even over WiFi), and Windows Media Portable can play compressed video (I think). I haven't tried this yet. Not sure if VNC is usable on the Dash, but there may be an SSH client available.
Q: How does it deal with installing extra apps? Can you get them from anywhere (upload from PC, get through the integrated browser) or do you have to buy them from t-mo like for the sidekick? What IM clients are available? AIM, YIM, GoogleTalk? Is it as easy to dial as regular "phone" phones? Is it usable as a MP3 player? Does it play video off micro-SD cards? It has no touchscreen right? How is app navigation without?
A: Whoa this is like five questions!
1) You install apps from your PC when you hook up your Dash to it via USB. You don't need to buy anything, unless the people who make the app charge money for it, then you need to pay them.
2) A few IM clients are available, and Agile Messenger has an alpha version for free for Smartphones.
3) It's harder to dial on this than regular phones thanks to the small keypad, but once you get used to the layout of the "numbers" on the left of the phone you're ok.
4) You can use it as an MP3 player with the Windows Media software.
5) App navigation is decent even without the touchscreen. Just expect to take multiple clicks to get anything done.
That's it! Thanks for all your questions, and if you have any more, feel free to email me and I'll get back to you if I'm not busy living the exciting life of a blogger.