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Summary:

I was just reading through the first review I’ve seen of the Samsung Mondi MID over at PC World. It’s well worth the read if you’re considering the Mondi. But I came away with more questions than answers. I just can’t get too jazzed about a […]

samsung-mondiI was just reading through the first review I’ve seen of the Samsung Mondi MID over at PC World. It’s well worth the read if you’re considering the Mondi. But I came away with more questions than answers. I just can’t get too jazzed about a Windows Mobile 6.1 device that’s repackaged as a “MID,” doesn’t offer cellular voice or always-on data, and isn’t likely to be upgraded to Windows Mobile 6.5.

For all intents and purposes, the Nokia N810 WiMAX Edition offered similar hardware, connectivity and features. Granted, running Windows Mobile on any device offers a vast number of third-party applications — far more than you can find for a Nokia Maemo device. But is there anything groundbreaking or revolutionary here?

The Mondi is a nice piece of hardware and offers support for WiMAX, yes. The design isn’t radically different from other slide-out QWERTY handhelds, though. And WiMAX is only available in a few cities — the reviewer used it in Portland where Clearwire has deployed WiMAX and still found many coverage holes. Mention was made of how the device supports Flash, but that’s done through Opera Mobile, which is currently available for most other Windows Mobile devices already. Video playback was good and the device supports DivX, but again, there are Windows Mobile software solutions available today that offer the same. I can’t help but ask: Why not forgo the WiMAX, add cellular support and get an HTC Touch Pro2, which offers a reasonably similar package?

Then there’s the pricing. The Mondi can be ordered today for $450, but you can get a subsidized price by agreeing to a 2-year WiMAX deal. The net price after your data commitment? $350, which is too high in my book for a device with spotty data coverage and no traditional voice. Sure, you can use Skype or another VoIP app — when you have data coverage — but you’re very likely still going to have to carry a phone. And in the end, I have to wonder: What can the Mondi can do that today’s smartphones can’t? That’s where I keep getting stuck with this device. Actually, that’s where I get stuck on the reason for MIDs in general. What device do they replace in my pocket or gear bag? Right now: none.

Maybe I’m just cranky from my 28-hour travel ordeal earlier this week. I’m not trying to be a “hater” — I’m trying to understand the device, its intended use and potential audience. Of course, I’m simply going on the device specifications and one review. Perhaps I’ve overlooked the “killer feature” or reason that would cause the Mondi to have huge mass-market appeal. I’m sure you’ll let me know. ;)

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  1. Call me crazy – but to mention the term MID with no full desktop like OS is silly. Be it XP/7 or Linux or even Android (which probably perfect for this type of devices). But winmo … get serious! On top on which I definitely agree with all of your arguments BTW.

    this is a smart PDA and nothing more.

    Tal

    1. Kevin C. Tofel tal Friday, July 24, 2009

      I’m simply not understanding the appeal. And it’s a device that could have been made at anytime in the past two, maybe three years, minus the WiMAX. Maybe I’ve set my standards too high these days. ;)

  2. This is exactly what I’ve been waiting for.

    Has no phone features? That’s not what I want anyway.
    WinMo may be sluggish, but as the reviewer pointed out–I want it over a slicker UI because I DO want to load all my 3rd apps onto it rather than depend on the meager apps the manufacturer provides. And WinMo gives me a calendar, synchronization, and easy app installs, which many mobile devices don’t have. But WinMo 6.5 would have been nice and a faster processor would have been better. But in terms of features, this has everything I want.

    Is it revolutionary? No. So it’s not going to win any innovation awards. If you already have something that does what you want, you probably won’t be looking at this. But it’s completely functional for my needs, and for that I’m not disappointed at all.

  3. The fact that it’s NOT a phone is actually an advantage in my book, since I am not in the position to use whatever phone I please. (That is, unless I end up paying for a data plan I can’t afford. I don’t care about voice, really-I just want Internet anywhere, but not enough to pay up for it.)

    Furthermore, it’s only 450 US$ with no contract. Expensive? Yes. Expensive like an unlocked smartphone with a large (W)VGA screen, slide-out-thumbboard, plenty of RAM, and more? No! Those usually cost at least 600 US$, by which point I’m looking at Tablet PCs instead.

    That contract subsidy is ludicrously low, though. It should be 50 US$ at the most, preferably completely free if they’re going to entice users to subscribe to a network with hardly any coverage. (Unfortunately, I live a bit too far away from Atlanta at the moment to be covered under the Clear umbrella at home.)

    Anyway, I don’t look at the Mondi as groundbreaking or revolutionary at all, just evolutionary-but, most importantly, providing an option for us no-smartphone folks who want to stay on the cutting edge of pocket computing without being tied to cell phone networks.

    1. I am using clear in Atlanta currently, and I am eagerly anticipating some new and cool products- especially handhelds to take advantage of the service. But the article is right on- there is no WOW factor at all with Mondi. I like the form, and layout. I’m sure I could get wm 6.5 on it (xda or ppcgeeks will surely support it). The price is not bad at all- compared to a current PDA. Also, for those who haven’t tried Clear, it’s definitely a mixed bag. Location, location, location! I’ve gotten great service around town, but in my apt I have to use a salad bowl as a satellite dish to get signal.

  4. Not ground breaking? ok, here is the first windows mobile device with Wimax and is not ground breaking? These are some reasong why I consider this device to be groundbreaking:

    1) Skyfire, opera, netfront, come on which other operating system gives you so much choice, as far as webbrowser goes, to do whatever you want.
    2) I own a Nokia N810 and installed a linux deviant to use open office, and guess what? it’s too slow to handle it, but here you have a device with office 2007 support. Not necessary all the time but yet there when you need it.
    3) WMWifirouter making it the first Wimax to Wifi router available, think a MIFI just with better download speed. If Samsung would be wiser they would put a shortcut to make it a MID/MIFI device in the desktop and charge accordingly.
    4) It’s the first windows mobile device to offer all of these features and yet pocketable, the HTC advantage doesn’t count as pocketable device. This is what the Nokia N810 Wimax wanted to be but couldn’t because of the software limitation and not so much about the software.
    I only hope that Microsoft gets off their lazy behind and make their application store as easy and nice to use as apple.
    If all these reasons do not make it a ground breaking device then I just don’t know what to say. Windows OS would be overkill and Windows CE too under power for this class of device. Windows Mobile is just right for this MID category.

  5. I just got mine in August. Clear is not and probably will not be where I live, but the wireless internet works great. I’ve mostly used the GPS function, but have loaded a few movies on it and it seems to run just fine. No phone functionality, it runs Route 66 for the GPS software, the camera is decent (it takes great panoramic pictures.)

    Other than that I haven’t used many of the features…. and probably won’t as I won this and really had no use for it beforehand.

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