Monday, May 28, 2007

Not All Smartphones are Created Equal!

I hate carrying multiple devices when I'm off work. So I have been watching with great interest the growing options that combine cell phones and PDAs. In fact, last year one was available that I was very excited about!

Motorola Q
The Q is a smartphone based on the Windows Mobile platform that is light, thin, and cool looking. (Yes, "cool looking" is a necessary feature!) So I bought one of the first. It's a love/hate relationship... here are the details:
  • Love the Phone Features: The phone features are good! Excellent reception, great speakerphone, and fairly easy to use (though the dialing buttons are a little on the small size for my medium-sized hands).
  • Hate the PDA Features: I am an advanced-- or at least intermediate-- PDA user. I use a number of programs to take notes, organize thoughts, track information, and so on. Unfortunately, Microsoft installed a very limited subset of its Windows Mobile OS on this phone, and it doesn't allow most of these programs to install. And those that do have limited capability because of the lack of a stylus and touchscreen.
What Have I Learned?
When shopping for a smartphone or PDA phone, decide what programs you'll want to run in the PDA OS and make certain they will run in the version loaded on the phone you're considering. If you use your PDA for little more than a calendar and contact list, a limited OS will work fine. If you depend on additional programs that don't come pre-loaded on the phone, you may have difficulties. Make sure you try loading them and testing their functionality while you're still in the timeframe in which an exchange is possible.


Skywalker said...

I've loved my Treo 650 from the start. I waited for years for a device that could work as a solid phone, full PDA, mp3 player, camera and (best of all) movie player. With TCPMP installed and a couple 2 gig memory chips, the treo is my favorite entertainment device.

The only things that would make it perfect are high speed internet (should have waited for the 700), a flash for the camera and maybe a few megapixels, and a little more stability. If I try and call someone right as someone calls me, it tanks.

So my wife needs a new phone and I've been thinking about giving her mine and transitioning to something new... the real question becomes, is the iPhone worth it?

ktackel said...

I also bought a Q about 3 weeks ago and love it.

I also came from a full function PDA (Dell Axim) and did not want the Batman utility belt anymore.

Although I love the stylus, when I looked first at price of various units I was amazed at the price differences. I decided that I needed to sit down and decide how much I really needed the stylus for my day to day tasks, I did not feel it was a necessity. Deciding that prior to a purchase is why I can say I am very happy with the Q. Do I miss the stylus along with a few apps, yes, did I feel it was worth the extra $100-$300 for full blown PDA function? No.

So I agree in that you need to determine your needs first then go for it and try to push it's limits during the initial few weeks in case an exchange is needed.