Move over Treo, HP Mobile Messenger Is Here

18 Comments

hp6500For nearly a year Palm’s Treo 650 has been the must have smart-phone for the digerati in Silicon Valley. But that reign at top is about to come to an end, thanks to Hewlett Packard’s Mobile Messenger, HW 6500, a elegantly utilitarian device that has all the benefits of Treo 650, and is bolstered by a very comfortable keyboard that after two days of use can become quite addictive. Especially when you are using Good Technology’s Wireless Email solution, that comes bundled with this device. Read on for the full low down.

For nearly a year Palm’s Treo 650 has been the must have smart-phone for the digerati in Silicon Valley. But that reign at top is about to come to an end, thanks to Hewlett Packard’s Mobile Messenger, HW 6500, a elegantly utilitarian device that has all the benefits of Treo 650, and is bolstered by a very comfortable keyboard that after two days of use can become quite addictive.

The keyboard is a direct descendent of a device HP had introduced last year – the 4300. It was an awkward device too long to fit the shirt pocket, (it made you look like a 21st century version of the nerd caricature – pens replaced by a PDA!) That doesn’t mean, I did not love the keyboard, which was in my opinion, on of the very best. The Mobile Messenger, thankfully fixes that problem. Its proportions have been given a nip and tick, and it now safely slips into a shirt pocket. It is also proof that HP is hard at work, and is using its considerable engineering resources hacking together interesting devices, and is dead serious about the mobile phone business.

hw6500The Mobile Messenger, mind you, is not the optimal solution for those who are looking for a wifi+cellular phone devices, but it is still does its job as a connected PDA admirably. Like most I miss the lack of WiFi support, but it is understandable – Cingular won’t want us to be using Skype to make phone calls instead of their cellular network. (I am told the next generation devices will have WiFi built into them.) If you are willing to overlook that, you would be pleasantly surprised by the first Mobile Messenger. (Of course you can spend some money and buy this one!)

I have had it for two days now, and I have been solidly impressed. It packs a pretty punch, thanks to a 312 MHz XScale processor, 128MB Flash, 64MB RAM, GSM/GPRS/EDGE, Bluetooth, IrDA, MiniSD, GPS, 3-inch screen, and 1.3 megapixel cam. The 240 X 240 pixel screen is brilliant and sharp, even for my aging eyes. You boot up the device, and go through a five minute set-up, and you are good to go. I promptly launched Good software that comes bundled with the device, and within five minutes I was receiving my email wirelessly.

The ease of use makes me suspect that Cingular would be pushing this device really hard, and offer it as an option to Blackberry. That was my initial reaction, but I don’t think that would be the case. Blackberry keyboard and user interface is much more simple and intuitive that Windows Mobile. (However, Good Wireless Email is as good, if not better than Blackberry wireless email.) I think this device will quickly become an option for those folks whose relationship with their Treo is similar to my feelings about Windows PCs.

I am planning to use this devices as a constant companion for on-the-go email, instant messaging, and other tasks that forced me to carry laptop around. A few RSS reader suggestions have come my way, and once I settle on one, it would be a good way to stay on top of news. I am still looking for a blogging client, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to find one. With 1.3 megapixel camera built into the device, which makes it a nifty way to take photos for moblogging. I have already installed an IM client and find it easier to respond to IM messages with the keyboard, than with a phone.

By now you must be wondering, why is he going on and on about the data features and not about phone features. I find using most of PDA phones a bit awkward, for they don’t allow me something my fingers are accustomed to – dialing with sense of touch. Having said that The Mobile Messenger does a good job of phone calls – the sound clarity is great, and never did I find the calls being dropped as they were on my Treo 650. I found that pairing the device with a bluetooth headset is the best way to use it. I am using Plantronics 3000, but you can use any headset really. Amongst the phone features I like – I can quickly make address book entries for either incoming or outgoing calls, by typing.

Now for the good part – using Mobile Messenger as a multimedia device. I like the storage expansion options and you can get a 1 GB SD card cheap enough to basically use MM as a music player. Since it plays back WMA files, the storage is enough to cram in music/podcasts that can entertain you for a few hours. Mind you, this doesn’t mean if I will be replacing my iPod anytime soon, but for short walks or 15-minute bus rides, this is a good option. Then there is the option of converting your videos (on your PC) and putting them on the card. I found the video sucked up the battery life of the device, and decided to forego further testing. Talking about batteries – how is the battery life. At the end of day two, I had used up 40% of the total battery after initial charge. This is with Good Wireless Email running all the time, and sporadic voice calls, and some music “listening.”

Bottomline: The big downside of the device – its happy as a clam in the Windows world. It doesn’t make magic with a Mac as yet, because most of the existing programs like Pocket Mac don’t work for this particular model. On a scale of 1 to 10, this gets a solid 7 from me. A good buy for those who are looking for a Treo option.

18 Comments

GPS

Does the US model not have GPS? I’ve had this device for a year now in Europe and use the GPS/TOMTOM Navigation daily.
I think the price of this device is due to the integrated GPS and afaik, it is still the only one with this option and was the only reason why I bought it.

asr

sorry small correction in my above post, what I meant was ‘Sony Erricson P990’ ( my above post is about P910 which is earlier model) which is still not availble in US, but available in Europe.

See all the specification at this urls
http://www.sonyericsson.com/spg.jsp?cc=gb&lc=en&ver=4000&template=pp1_loader&php=php1_10336&zone=pp&lm=pp1&pid=10336

http://www.sonyericsson.com/spg.jsp?cc=gb&lc=en&ver=4000&template=pp1_1_1&zone=pp&lm=pp1&pid=10336

http://www.pocket-lint.co.uk/news.php?newsId=1782

Brian Malone

Have had a treo for some time now and just bought the hp about a week ago and just opened up last night to do my due dilegence comparisons. The thing I noticed immediately is that processing speed increse in data transfers and downloads. I think now I will be “lying in fields of gold” as sting said once or twice.

JOE

does it run Windows Mobile 2003 or Windows Mobile 5 ? Can it be upgraded to Windows Mobile 5 if it comes with WM2003 now ? Why would anyone buy a device with WM2003 when WM5 is around the corner in all these upcoming devices and Exchange Server SP2 and the Messaging and Security Feature Pack are all about to deliver so much more ?

John

Nitin, the Samsung i730 isa Windows Mobile smartphone that is available now for Verizon and sports EV-DO and Wi-Fi. Seems to be well received except for its poor battery life…

Om Malik

i am not sure that is the case. i have heard a lot of cdma devices which are coming out with all sorts of fancy stuff. few more weeks.

NITIN AHUJA

There is a deluge of such devices in the market. Another one I was reading about today is the HTC which is the first one to come out with Windows Mobile 5. The distressing thing is the lack of these devices for CDMA service providers which sucks.For people like me who pretty much gave up on all service providers before signing up for Verizon Wireless really have to be a part of the waiting game and never get to have too many options in terms of smartphones. Hope someone wakes up to this call :)

Om Malik

this device is going to be an interesting one to watch jeeves. it has most of things right, even though it has windows mobile as OS.

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