I’ve been using an i-mate SP3 as my mobile phone for just over a year now. With the launch of Windows Mobile 5.0, I started researching upcoming phones to find a replacement. I liked the SmartPhone form factor, but I get tempted by the first WM5 phone that went on sale in Dubai which is the i-mate JASJAR, an uber-PDA phone featuring a VGA screen, WiFi, Bluetooth, quad-band GSM, 3G (WCDMA), and an integrated keyboard.
Unfortunately, my biggest concern about this device was valid. It’s too big. It’s not easy to carry around in my pocket all day. And it has one major usability issue…it’s virtually impossible to use it one-handed to make or receive calls. It’s a great PDA and having 3G connectivity on a device with a pretty good keyboard means that I can have access to my e-mail, browsing, Remote Desktop, etc. where ever I go on a device which has better battery life than any laptop…but I can’t use it as a mobile phone.
After realizing this, it was time to go back to a SmartPhone. Luckily for me, i-mate launched the SP5 at GITEX and I bought one and have been happily using it since. It has decent battery life, Bluetooth, WiFi, quad-band GSM, EDGE, a high-res QVGA screen, and is very easy to use one-handed. The only thing that is missing is support for the new push technology which is featured in Microsoft Exchange 2003 SP2. The challenge is that client devices, which have to be running WM5, must also include a set of components called the Windows Mobile 5.0 Messaging and Security Feature Pack which will be distributed by device manufacturers, OEMs, or carriers as part of a device-specific ROM update. There is no announced timetable for the release of this, but late this year or early next year is a reasonable guess.