Today is the last day for the Motorola Q before it gets replaced by a new device. If I have to summarize the Motorola Q in just a couple of words, I would say “pleasantly surprising”. I started to use the device thinking it is going to be similar to the Treo 700w at least as far as the navigation within Windows Mobile. Actually it is not, even though they both use Windows Mobile, the difference in navigation and functionality is still significant.
So what is the scoop on the Motorola Q?
The Motorola Q is an impressive device. It is easy and efficient to navigate (and unlike the Treo 700w, I didn’t experience the “couple extra clicks” it takes to do thing). It does not have a stylus and it does not have a touch screen which means you mainly rely on the 5-Way Navigation buttons for your navigation with some help from the Thumb Wheel and the Back button which are located on the side of the device (more on this later). I believe that this made navigation more efficient.
The Motorola Q, coupled with the Verizon broadband access, gives you excellent e-mail and internet capabilities. The Verizon Wireless Sync technology is capable of “push” e-mail which means you get your e-mail to the device within minutes from when they reach your server without having to manually retrieve them, and without having to set the device to retrieve them automatically at preset intervals. Also, browsing the Internet using the Motorola Q was very reasonable. And even though the device is not enabled to be used as a modem for your laptop out of the box, I was able to install PdaNet and use it to connect my laptop to the Internet (see day #26)
The Motorola Q has some nifty navigational shortcuts I especially liked the back button and the home buttons. They made it easy to quickly track back my steps, and revisit screens that I just visited a few seconds or minutes earlier, and also easily get re-oriented by bringing back the home screen, and a list of the most recently used applications.
The form and usability factors of the Motorola Q get high marks. Even though these aspects are very subjective, in general a thin and light device, with a sharp and nicely lit screen, and streamlined navigation, is desired by most users.
So what is the catch?
If you are seeking to use the device to manage and edit documents, and/or to perform Web transactions (heavy browsing and completing Web forms), the Motorola Q may not be the device that best handles these areas. The Motorola Q (at least out of the box) does not allow you to edit attachments, and in addition, filling Web forms is not particularly easy. Actually I wasn’t able to complete the Web survey that I wanted to fill out (see day #25).
A computing device or a smartphone
This brings an interesting question relating to selecting a handheld device: Are you looking for a “computing” device (one that can almost replace your laptop and allows you to perform some serious computing applications), or are you looking for a “smartphone” (one that keeps you well connected and Internet-able when you’re on the go)? The Motorola Q does a fine job on the latter (being a slick and capable smartphone), but is not likely to satisfy your needs on the former (playing the role of a full-featured computing device).
Is the Motorola Q a “BlackBerry-ied Windows Mobile
As I was using the Motorola Q over the last 9 days, the thought that the Motorola Q is a “BlackBerry-ied Windows Mobile” device kept coming to mind. It seems that the combination of the Verizon “push” e-mail capability, and the Motorola Q Thumb Wheel and Back key on the side of the device, coupled with not having the stylus and the touch screen, and having a more streamlined navigation, gave me the feel of the BlackBerry device.
Now how about that Thumb Wheel and Back Key on the side?
I hardly used them! If they were fully capable of navigating through the menus, screens, and options (like they are in the BlackBerry), I probably would have used them exclusively. However, the fact that you still need to abandon them, and resort to the 5-Way Navigation button and other buttons when performing certain actions, made me stick to the 5-Way Navigation button and the Back button next to it. As far as I am concerned, I question their value (the value of having the Thumb Wheel and Back key on the Motorola Q) and consider them a slight departure from the Motorola Q design philosophy of being “easy” with less choices and less complexity (see day #22).
Moving on to yet another device
There is probably more to be experienced and discovered about the Motorola Q, but the experiment needs to move on. The next device will be unveiled tomorrow. It is likely that it will be a departure from the devices I have used so far (which are the Treo 700p on day #1 to day #9, the Treo 700w on day #10 to day #18, and the Motorola Q on day #19 till today). Let us see what tomorrow will bring.