Do you remember the T-Mobile MDA which I used for 9 days earlier in the 81-day-experiment? Well, the Cingular 8525 Pocket PC is its first cousin (picture on the left). Both come from the same manufacturer and both look similar and offer the sliding keyboard. The main difference is the addition of HSPDA/UMTS support by Cingular which means an average data transfer between 400 and 700 Kbps and uploads of around 384 Kbps.
However, the HSPDA/UMTS network is not yet widely available in the U.S. (see yesterday’s note about availability). When unavailable, the speed would drop down to the EDGE speed (2 to 3 times modem speed). Still not bad for simple browsing and e-mail, but maybe not ideal for Web TV or music applications.
By the way, the Cingular 8525 (and the T-Mobile MDA) are “Pocket PC” devices, which means in addition to the Windows Mobile features we saw with the Motorola Q, the Cingular 3125, and the T-Mobile Dash, they offer additional capabilities such as full editing of Microsoft Office documents.
The only smartphone that give users wireless 3G capabilities in the US and abroad
In this press release by Cingular, Kent Mathy, president of Cingular Wireless’ B2B organization, makes the advantage of the UMTS/HSDPA devices very clear.
So what does this mean to you? It means that if you are an international traveler, or a Cingular customer who has been envious of these Verizon and Sprint colleagues who are proud of their EV-DO devices, you now have a compelling solution within reach. The Cingular 8525 and the Sumsung BlackJack are at your disposal. T-Mobile has not yet released its high-speed devices, so for now, Cingular will enjoy this advantage.
But how about usability?
My belief is still that the single more important factor behind selecting and using a mobile device, and continuing to use it day in and day out, is the usability factor. This means the user interface, the navigation, the feel of the keyboard or keypad, how well it integrates with the desktop, as well as the form factor, among others. Speed is one factor but speed alone won’t do it. I was not impressed with the T-Mobile MDA usability, but I will see how the Cingular 8515 ranks on usability when I experiment with it, hopefully soon.
Your comments on usability?
Taking about usability, your comments on usability are most valuable for other users who are looking for new smartphones. Even though usability can be subjective, sharing your experience can help educate other users what to look for and what to pay attention to. To show you an example, below is a comment posted yesterday by Bill Pena about the keyboards and the typing experience he had with the new Samsung BlackJack by Cingular, and the BlackBerry Pearl, as he ventured into some hands-on experience with these devices.
Bill Pena on the BlackJack usability
“I tried out a Blackjack at a local Cingular store yesterday, and it is quite impressive in almost every way. It's very fast, the screen is amazing, it feels very solid yet light in the hand, and the HSDPA speed is a huge boon”.
“However, the keyboard and navigation keys are just too cramped. I tried typing out a couple of sentences, and the error rate was so high for me that I had to write off the device; I found it too frustrating to type on this phone to seriously consider carrying it around for the next couple of years”
“For as much as QWERTY keyboards on smartphones are sought-after, I've found that the hybrid Suretype keyboard on the Pearl was easier for me to use than any of the other slim smartphones with full keyboards, like the Q, Blackjack, or Dash. I could knock out a paragraph almost as quickly as I could on a full-sized keyboard (which is *very* fast) and Suretype got it right 99% of the time. Much better experience than the Blackjack.”