For a comparison of the new, cool smartphones, we go straight to the IT guys

June 30, 2006

7 Min Read
New Q Review

If the rash of new smartphones that have come out in the last few months from major vendors, including Palm Inc. , Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), Samsung Corp. , Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), and -- oh yeah -- those guys from Canada, has one major significance, it's this: BlackBerry no longer rules.

Many enterprises will continue to roll out BlackBerry devices to their mobile workers because of the tried and true, "Nobody ever got fired for choosing BlackBerry." And, because, let's face it, BlackBerries are proven, excellent devices.

But the oohs and aahs this year are going to the Motorola Q and the new Palm 700 series. The 700w runs Windows Mobile 5.0 from Microsoft, and the 700p runs Palm's OS.

For an enterprise user review of the Q and the Palm 700s, we spoke with Justin Hectus, the director of information at multinational law firm Keesal, Young & Logan, who along with a couple of colleagues, has been testing the Q for several weeks.

"I don’t like [the Q] as much as the Treo 650," says Hectus. "The biggest reason is the real estate on the screen -- there's probably 25 to 30 percent more real estate on the 650. And with GoodLinks [the push email system from Good Technology], it feels a lot more like Outlook to me even compared to the Q with Good."

David Piper, a senior associate in Keesal, Young & Logan's Long Beach office, disagrees. "I like the Q a lot," says Piper. Until he got a new Q, Piper used the older Palm Treo 600. "I got turned off on the Treo early on because of the phone quality. What I'm loving about the Q is that the phone is typical Motorola, which is a huge plus in my mind."

Those differences likely reflect different usage patterns: Hectus, an IT professional, uses his mobile device for heavily data-centric applications, while Piper, a lawyer, is still voice-focused.

"I'm on the phone a lot, and I basically respond to email on the fly," says Piper. "The Q is fine for that, where Justin may have more of a deeper usage of the data features."

Other comments worth noting: The battery cover on the Q, says Hectus, is "flimsy and crappy." The Treo's physical calendar button on the keyboard is "really convenient," he says. "You don't have those types of shortcuts on the Q." While the Treo 700p has a Palm OS and the Q uses the Windows Mobile operating system, the email features seem more native and intuitive on the Treo, says KY&L systems engineer Chris Almaraz: "The 700p works off the Palm OS, and uses Good with that, and I'm great with that."

Below, rundowns on five of the hottest new enterprise-ready smartphones:

Motorola Q

Tech Specs:

  • - 64MB of memory
    - OS: Windows Mobile 5.0
    - Weight: 4.1 ounces
    - Email: POP3/IMAP4, Microsoft Exchange and GoodLink
    - 320x240 display
    - 800 and 1900 CDMA, 1x-EVDO
    - Bluetooth
    - Pocket Internet Explorer
    - 1.3 mega-pixel camera
    - Price: $199


  • -Windows Media Player Mobile
    - QWERTY keyboard
    - Speech recognition
    - Speaker phone
    - MSN Messenger
    - Removable miniSD storage cards
    - Address book
    - Calendar
    - MP3 player

The new "It" device in the enterprise smartphone market, the Q definitely wins on style points, "marrying an eye-catching form factor to an operating system that enterprise admins are increasingly likely to adopt," says senior research analyst Carmi Levy, of Info-Tech. Some IT pros prefer the functionality of the Treo 650 and BlackBerry devices to the elegance of the Q, but you can expect to find this in more and more executives' suit pockets in the next year.

RIM 8700c

Tech Specs:

  • - Intel XScale processor
    - 64MB of memory
    - High-resolution color screen
    - International roaming between North America, Europe and Asia Pacific on GSM/GPRS and EDGE networks
    - Bluetooth connectivity
    - MP3 and polyphonic ring tones
    - Connects to the BlackBerry Enterprise push email server
    - Price: $250 with mail-in rebate from Cingular Wireless


  • - Email – support for up to 10 business or personal accounts.
    - SMS text messaging
    - MMS picture messaging
    - Internet browsing and wireless data access
    - Address book
    - QWERTY keyboard with dedicated ‘end’, ‘send’, and ‘mute’ keys
    - Calendar
    - Memo pad and task reminders

Research In Motion’s latest enterprise-focused device, the BlackBerry 8700c, is classified as a smartphone although it splits the difference between the classic form factor of the BlackBerry wireless email devices and a large, candy-bar type handset. "It’s the industry standard, a nice device," says analyst Craig Mathias at the Farpoint Group , but "it will come under pressure from Microsoft as Windows Mobile/Smartphone evolves."

Next Page: Samsung i320, Nokia E-Series, and Palm 700p

Samsung i320

Tech Specs:

  • - 120MB of memory
    - High-resolution color screen
    - International roaming between North America, Europe and Asia Pacific on 850/900/1800/1900 MHz GSM/GPRS networks with support for EDGE data
    - Bluetooth
    - USB Port
    - Smartcard removable storage
    - Polyphonic ringtones
    - MP3 Music
    - MPEG4 Video
    - QWERTY keyboard
    - Megapixel Camera
    - Price: $900 online


  • - Email
    - SMS text messaging
    - MMS picture messaging
    - Internet browsing
    - Address book
    - Calendar
    - MS Office Document Reader
    - Voice Recognition

Samsung’s entry into the super-skinny, full-featured smartphone category, the i320 runs Windows Mobile 5.0 and is even smaller than the Motorola Q. The "ouch" factor for this device is the price: It sells online for up to $900 without a contract. Retail is a cool $1,000. The i320's global roaming capabilities could be an important feature for the business traveler. "It’s nice for global roaming -- although it's tri-, not quad-band," says analyst Craig Mathias at the Farpoint Group .

Nokia E-Series

Tech Specs:

  • - 75 MB of memory
    - 320 x 240 resolution screen
    - 2 Megapixel camera
    - Weight: 4.48 ounces
    - GSM, 3G, and WiFi support
    - Symbian OS and S60 environment
    - QWERTY keypad
    - VOIP: Native SIP; Avaya and Cisco client options
    - Bluetooth
    - USB port
    - Price: $470


  • - Email: Intellisync, BlackBerry, GoodLink, Seven, Visto
    - Polyphonic ringtones
    - 2-way text messaging
    - Speaker phone
    - Push-to-talk (selected versions)
    - Internet browsing
    - Address book
    - Calendar
    - Voice recognition

The E-Series comprises four devices to date: the candy bar E-51 and E60, the E61 Blackberry-style handheld, and the E70 with fold-out QWERTY keypad. Packed with enterprise features and designed expressly for the business person on-the-go, the devices do ship with Golf PRO Contest. Nomura analyst Richard Windsor believes Nokia’s core market for the E-Series is the “prosumer” segment, which will lead to Nokia being successful with the small and medium-sized enterprises where users are going to be free to choose their devices. “Nokia remains behind in the race to deliver a solution that meets the needs of IT administrators who are increasingly going to purchase the devices and issue them to employees,” writes Windsor in a recent research note. “We think that Nokia's offering to these clients needs development to make it competitive."

Palm 700p

Tech Specs:

  • - 128MB memory
    - Intel XScale 312MHz processor
    - Palm OS
    - 320 x 320 color TFT touchscreen display
    - CDMA 800/1900MHz digital dual-band
    - CDMA2000 EvDO network
    - Bluetooth
    - 1.3 megapixels camera
    - Weight: 6.4 ounces
    - Price: $399


  • - Polyphonic MIDI & WAV ringtones
    - Email: GoodLinks, Microsoft Exchange
    - Speakerphone
    - Hands-free headset jack
    - Microphone mute option
    - TTY/TDD compatibility
    - USB port
    - QWERTY keyboard

The 700p may not be quite the telephone that the Motorola Q is -- the Q offers voice dialing, including Bluetooth, which the 700p does not, for example -- and the Palm OS is getting a bit long in the tooth, but many IT professionals now consider this the most balanced and functional smartphone for business users on the market. Next up: a complete overhaul of the Palm OS. The 700p "moves the Palm OS-based device to faster EVDO networks," says senior research analyst Carmi Levy of Info-Tech Research Group. "Despite the fact that the non-multitasking, enterprise-weak Palm OS is long overdue for a complete rewrite, this device will allow Palm to squeeze additional life out of its brand."

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung; Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung; and Gabriel Brown, Chief Analyst, Unstrung Insider

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