First Look at Pocket PC Phone Edition
The first combination cell phone and PDA to run Microsoft's Pocket PC Phone Edition is now available, taking a decidedly PDA-centric approach to its tasks and offering features of interest to international travelers.
The Pocket PC 2002 Phone Edition includes the entire
The initial implementation comes from
The Pocket PC 2002 Phone Edition from T-Mobile is a sleek, pewter-colored PDA with chic rounded edges and a stubby black antenna. The unit works on both U.S. and European GSM/GPRS networks--an appealing feature for international travelers.
The device is powered by a 206-MHz Intel StrongArm processor, and comes with 32MB of memory. It measures 5 inches by 2.8 inches by .7 inches, and weighs 6.8 ounces, according to T-Mobile. The unit has a Secure Digital expansion slot and can synchronize with your PC through a USB port. Microsoft Media Player and Reader software are bundled with the PDA.
The Pocket PC 2002 Phone Edition's features make it easier to use as a PDA while you talk on the phone via the included stereo headset. For example, if you want to take notes during a call, you can tap on an icon to bring up a memo sheet prepopulated with the contact information of the person you've called (assuming that the person is listed among your Pocket Outlook contacts).
If you're listening to music on Media Player and a call comes in, the OS automatically turns down Media Player's volume so you can hear the phone ringing; and it pauses the music completely if you decide to take the call (or to initiate a call). When you hang up, the music resumes (and heard through the headset, it sounded pretty good). You can use any .wav file to create a ring tone.
The combo device provides a conventional selection of PDA-phone features, including a flashing missed-call alert, caller ID info that uses your contact list, a soft phone keypad that you can use to dial numbers with your fingertip if a stylus isn't handy, call logs, and voice mail. Phone Edition comes with a Windows Terminal Services client, too, which would be useful for enterprise users who need network access anytime, anywhere. Operating at speeds approaching those of 56-kbps dialup connections, the GPRS data network delivers Web pages to Pocket Internet Explorer with acceptable promptness.
Predictably, the Pocket PC 2002 Phone Edition suffers from design quirks that plague the underlying OS. For example, that useful note-taking icon mentioned earlier does not appear if you initiate a call from your Pocket Outlook contacts (as opposed to starting from the phone keypad interface).
T-Mobile's attractively priced device evidently targets well-heeled corporate folk who are willing to invest time in learning its features, and who can make good use of its wireless voice and data capabilities.
People who prefer a smaller, more phonelike phone-PDA hybrid may want to
wait until Microsoft introduces its
Microsoft and four partners say that they expect to release smart phones and phone-PDAs running Microsoft software. Besides T-Mobile (VoiceStream), Verizon Wireless and Sprint have announced that they will market combination PDA and phone devices running Microsoft Pocket PC Phone Edition.
Both Verizon and Spring have said they will sell the Thera from Audiovox Communications. The Thera is a Microsoft Pocket PC 2002 PDA with added phone functionality. Powered by a 206-MHz Intel StrongArm processor, it weighs 7 ounces, measures 3 inches by 5 inches, and comes with 32MB of RAM and 32MB of flash memory plus a Secure Digital card slot.
This year, Cingular Wireless plans to release Sendo's Z100, a phone with some PDA functions based on Microsoft's Windows Powered Smartphone 2002 software. Smart phones are generally smaller than combo devices, offer more-limited access to e-mail and the Web, and have fewer software options.