Thoughts on the HP T-mobile iPaq h6315

I don't consider myself a "gadget geek" -- which isn't to say that I'm not one -- because I usually don't buy devices on curiosity or impulse. I usually wait for second-generation devices because kinks can defeat my goal of getting usefulness out of devices.

So it is difficult to tell if my purchase of T-Mobile's iPaq h6315, a personal digital assistant with GSM, WiFi, and Bluetooth capabilities, put me into areas I don't normally venture. I didn't really consider it a first-generation device since there had been quite a few PDA-phone combinations on the market before it, and iPaq PDAs had WiFi capabilities for years. One of my colleagues had been using two different models of Treo phones -- the 300 and then the 600 -- for months. The OS was even multi-generational: Windows CE had evolved to PocketPC and then Windows Mobile, the OS for the h6315.

On the other hand, the h6315 was the first device in my market with WiFi, Bluetooth, and mobile phone technology combined, and I think the impact of putting the phone into Windows Mobile shows in a couple of areas: the SMS integration is glitchy and leaves some functionality to be desired; features that are pedestrian on a normal cell phone (loud alarm clock) are missing; I haven't found a way to lock the screen and buttons when I am on the phone, making it difficult to put in my pocket and talk on the Bluetooth headset at the same time.

But do I still love it? Yes. The convergence is what I've been dreaming of since my first Palm Pilot (the 3Com, not the US Robotics, version): being able to directly dial a contact from my phonebook that synchs in a reasonable way with Outlook. Taking notes on the device while on the phone. Large, beautiful color screen. No cheesy thumb-board necessary (but supplied), just good character recognition on the screen. Being able to download and install third-party software from a large number of suppliers (which admittedly contribute to the glitches). A standard audio jack. Maps with GPS capabilities. Extensibility.

I'll plan on talking more about what I'd like to see with regards to hardware extensibility next time...


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