So, having switched to Sprint over 2 months ago to take advantage of their cheap data plans, I have to say I’m quite pleased with their coverage thus far. Between my PPC6700 and my wife’s 700p we’ve gotten impressive evdo speeds in many different locales. The 6700 is certainly a very data capable device, especially with regard to my use of over the air synchronization with my company’s Exchange server (particularly task syncing which I use extensively) and Terminal Services over vpn. The ability to switch to a WiFi connection where available is also something I wouldn’t feel good about losing at this point. However, the overall experience on Windows Mobile is beggining to truly make me question whether this is my mobile platform of the future. Yes, the “one-handedness” is much improved in WM5 and especially so for devices with dedicated “Start” and “OK” buttons like the 6700. But it still doesn’t come close to the snappy and covienient Palm OS based Treo experience. As you might have guessed I have been experimenting with my wife’s 700p a fair amount lately, and I have to say that though I know the PalmOS (as we now know it) is certainly going nowhere, and though there are some functionality sacrifices from a multi-tasking perspective one would have to make switching from WM5, the overall experience is so much less cumbersome, it just might be worth it. In fact if the measure of a device’s worth is directly connected to the quality of its browser as Engadget’s Ryan Block recently and correctly posited, then PalmOS has to trump WinMO precisely because Blazer is now more capable than PIE. Despite my ongoing sourness with WM, I just haven’t been able to make this complete leap though, because from an OS stability perspective I think it’s sadly a draw, if not a complete win on this front for “Magneto”. The latest iteration of Garnett is certainly the best, mainly because of the improved functionality in the Blazer browser, but also due to the improved Exchange Activesync capabilities (no task syncing though). But it is certainly not without it’s share of annoyances, and it is likely the last dot upgrade to this venerable but long in the tooth user interface. At least Redmond is a little closer to perfecting their vision for mobile OS computing (“Crossbow”), whereas PalmOS/Access has really just wrapped up their Linux focused “Back to the Drawing Board” session from a market availability perspective.

So, as a psychological compromise why am I not using the 700w? It would be easy to guess I’ve spent considerable time in various Verizon retail stores playing with the “w”, but just haven’t been able to pull the credit card trigger due to concerns about Verizon’s expensive data plans, not to mention the now notorious memory issues on the first WM Treo. Therefore, it is with great anticipation that I await the bonafide release of the 700wx on Sprint, as both of those problems will have been solved. However, the larger problem remains: which letter of the alphabet do I really prefer in this never ending quest for mobile OS perfection? As for the “y&z” in my post title, those are meant to represent the soon to be released Treo “Lennon” and “Nitro” devices for GSM networks. The Lennon will run WM and supposedly be HSDPA capable, but the Nitro will apparently only be EDGE capable due to the aforementioned multitasking defenciencies in the latest, and hopefully last Garnett release. It has been speculated that these 2 devices might also have WiFi which might cause me to hold off on wx until y&z get released. Or, I might just have to convince my wife to relinquish the deathgrip she has on the p, and if that doesn’t work then maybe I’ll have to continue to live in both worlds and drive myself (and anybody who ever reads this and future posts) crazy!

Jim Answers Quickly

August 24, 2006

So, we know the JASJAM now lives, but there have also been leaks of a forthcoming Motorola Q wannabe device from iMate called the JAQ. The interesting thing is the device is purportedly being manufactured by Inventec (original manufacturer of the iPod). It isn’t the sexiest looking device but it is more attractive than the horrid looking HTC Excalibur and it is a full PocketPC as opposed to a Windows Mobile Smartphone device. It lacks WiFi, but as long as it’s UMTS capable, I’d still be interested due to the presence of full PocketPC capabilities.

The title is the unrequited answer to the question: Where is the Imate branded version of the HTC Hermes?  There are now at least some pictures of the Russian JASJAM, but it’s surprising this device isn’t already available everywhere.  Imate is usually the first rebrander of HTC devices to get their version to market, and one has to wonder if Imate CEO Jim Morrison didn’t anger someone at HTC such that they’ve been frozen out of the European and US markets for the release of the Hermes?  In fact one wonders if somehow this potential conflict might have lead to the HTC decision to brand and market their own devices once and for all?

HTC’s “TyTN” branded version of the Hermes 200 is certainly attractive, but I think the aforementioned Imate version (black Hermes 100) is the most attractive I’ve seen thus far.  It looks identical to the Orange SPV M3100, minus the gawdy square “Orange” branding sticker on the top of the device face. However, the red accented Vodafone gunmetal gray version of the Hermes 200 is pretty sexy, and the T-Mobile UK version of the Hermes 100, with pink accents and a modified d-pad can’t be dismissed either. (all of these devices can be seen at coolsmartphone.com)

Regardless of my preference for the JASJAM, if it isn’t available soon, I won’t be able to resist the TyTN much longer, and I’m guessing that was what HTC intended to have happen……Maybe we’ll learn more from the next Mobility Today Podcast

Let there be battery life

August 14, 2006

I recently took my first business trip since acquiring a hand-me-down Toshiba Portege 3505 Tablet PC. The device overall works well, but has one fairly major flaw: it won’t power up unless the battery is removed, and therefore has to always be tethered to a power outlet. At 4 pounds (actually a little less than that sans battery) it’s worth it to me to put up with this problem relative to continuing to cart around the 8 pound Dell Latitude behemoth I was using previously. It has also given me some virgin experience with the Tablet platform that I’d been craving. Regardless, it has made me all the more conscious of the important role batteries play in our ability to break away from the shackles of electrical outlets (apologies to any readers on death row who take umbrage with my metaphor).

Not long after this first travel experience with the Portege 3505, I acquired (in rapid succession) the Fujitsu P1510D mini tablet, and the first UMPC on the market: the battery challenged Tabletkiosk eo. The Fuji could last about 2.25 hours with wifi always on, and the eo never made it more than a paltry 1.5 hours. I sold the Fuji not so much for the low battery life, but because it just couldn’t handle normal inking with its otherwise terrific touchscreen interface, and I returned the eo for a refund, unwilling to wait on the Tabletkiosk to discover a battery life fix (and they since have and were absolutely excellent to deal with to their credit).

Needless to say battery life is much more important to me since I got burned by my first experiences on the bleeding edge. I rely heavily on my PocketPC phone, the Sprint version of the HTC Apache, which usually makes it through an entire day, such that the need for my handicapped Portege 3505 is fortunately minimized. However, the Apache sometimes just can’t handle everything I need to be able to do (but comes very close), so I’m constantly lusting for my next computer (among other devices) and the 9 hour battery life of the Electrovaya Scribbler slate tablet is looking more and more attractive by the day…