When walking on the streets of London, and when you’re not used to the “driving on the left” concept, you find the “Look Right” or “Look Left” warnings very helpful (painted in big letters on the pavement at the pedestrian crossing areas). I was wondering if these were mainly for visitors. Before crossing though, I still looked in both directions, especially when the thought came to my mind that visitors, who are not used to driving on the left side of the road, may be out there driving.
When I tried to login today from the Ad-Tech conference floor, I had problems connecting to the wireless network, I found myself again making use of the T-Mobile MDA as a modem. It seems that this feature is being very useful during this trip, which makes me think that for business travelers, it may be one of the important capabilities to look for when purchasing a handheld device. The speed has been reasonable for downloading e-mail and simple browsing, however I did encounter very slow response times today when trying to access some Web databases.
- The T-Mobile MDA main strength is its larger screen and larger QWERTY keyboard, which combined with the Windows Mobile and Office Mobile application makes it a possible and reasonable to actually compose or edit documents, something I wasn’t keen on doing with other devices.
- The MDA ability to connect my laptop to the Internet came in very handy (using the EDGE network and approximate speed of 230kbps). Most of the devices I used in the 81-day-experiment so far provided this capability (Treo 700p, Treo 700w, Motorola Q, and BlackBerry Pearl). However in the case of the Treo 700w, I had to install an add-on application to connect (PdaNet), and in the case of the Motorola Q, I did encounter some problems (which still require some additional research).
- The T-Mobile MDA is Wi-Fi capable. If you are interested in connecting to the Internet at hotspots, and other areas where wireless networks are available, this feature comes in handy.
- In terms of the device usability, and aside from the large screen and large keyboard, my personal experience with the device has been “marginal”. I often experienced slow response time when switching between applications, occasional freezing which left me wondering if the device needs to be reset, and less than optimum navigation when entering information. If you are curious about the details, you can refer to the entries on day #37 to day #44. I suspect that some of these are glitches that have been (or are being) corrected in future software upgrades and some related to my own preferences and expectations.
- Continuing with the usability topic, I found myself inadvertently hitting the shortcut buttons which happen to be abundant almost on every corner and every side of the device. It seems to be easy to accidentally press these buttons especially as I opened and closed the sliding keyboard or tried to take pictures which I did often in the last few days.
Would I choose the T-Mobile MDA as my device? Will the fact the larger screen and keyboard and ability to compose and edits document on the go lure me into it? This remains to be seen.
How do the Windows Mobile devices compare so far?
So far, I have used the Treo 700w, the Motorola Q, and the T-Mobile MDA, and it is likely that I will be using the HP iPAQ later in the 81-day-experiment. I am finding out that not all Windows Mobile devices are alike. The T-Mobile MDA interface, and the fact that it comes fully equipped with the Office Mobile applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), reminded me of the Treo 700w. They are both full featured and they both are “stylus-heavy” (you are likely to want to use the stylus and touch screen extensively). The Motorola Q on the other hand, which happens to be smaller in size and slicker in design, is more streamlined in its user interface and overall navigation (no stylus and no touch screen, a convenient back button). At the end of the experiment, I will be going over these differences in more detail.
The similar Verizon, Sprint, and Cingular devices
I mentioned earlier in the blog that Verizon, Sprint, and Cingular offer devices that are similar to the T-Mobile MDA. If I don’t use some of these in the 81-day-experiment, I will at least include in the final report a feature comparison to help you as you consider these devices.
Some picture from the streets of London today
With the T-Mobile MDA in hand, these is what I found myself capturing today (the post office where I had to exchange the old money with new money, a picture of the new money, the pedestrian button to cross the street, and local fruit market, and a colorful cab):