Can a Smartphone Work for You (One Device or Two)?

by Reads (16,817)

So you are now a new junior executive and your company tells you that you have to be accessible when away from the office. They tell you that you can choose any mobile phone that you want to, but you will have to consider that you will need to do email on it every once and a while. That pretty much knocks out the free with your plan phones and makes you consider a smartphone. Your only issue is that you have a PDA and do not want to have two devices that do the same thing. So now you have a problem: getting the smartphone and having everything on one device, with your PDA as your backup to everything; or get a high end phone that will be able to connect to your PDA (maybe even wirelessly), and you can have your email come down to the PDA.


Of course, like a good junior executive, you make a check list of positives and negatives of each, and evaluate that list with what is available. Here is what your list looked like.


Smartphone Positives

Smartphone Negatives

One device to carry means one less device to keep track of and charge

If any aspect of the device breaks, you will have to send the whole thing in for repairs leaving you without your phone and PDA

Has the organizational ability of a PDA and works like a phone

Some models are the size of PDAs, others are the size of mobile phones with screen sizes not large enough to see the mobile data needed

Much of the included software enables you stay connected and do some office work

Devices are very expensive even after getting them with a contract (job may not foot the bill)

Some models have a keyboard to make data entry easier

Keyboarded models have keys that are too small or the keyboard attachment makes the device too bulky.

Battery life is good on some models, so-so on others

Some models do not have a removable or long-life battery

The ability to browse websites and have ready access to email

Web browsers do not support all standards, making some banking and email sites inaccessible


What is Available?

First off, you re probably already tied to a carrier, so you want to look at the current models that are available and see what works best work with your budget.


Smartphones that use the PalmOS*

PalmOne Treo 600 GSM Cingular, AT&T, T-Mobile, Orange (UK)

PalmOne Treo 600 CDMA Sprint, Verizon Wireless

Samsung SPH-i500 Sprint

Kyocera 7135 Verizon Wireless


Smartphones that use PocketPC Phone Edition*

Samsung SPH-i700 Verizon Wireless

Hitachi G1000 Pocket PC Phone Edition Sprint

TMobile PocketPC Phone Edition T-Mobile


Smartphones that use Windows Mobile 2003*

Audiovox PPC 4100 AT&T

HP iPaq h6300 TMobile

Samsung SPH-i600 Verizon Wireless, Sprint

Motorola MPx220** will be released in Oct; service is most likely thru AT&T as they also carried the previous model


Smartphones that use the Symbian OS*

Sony Ericsson P910 Orange (UK), it can be bought in the states but you will have to get a SIM card from T-Mobile, Cingular, or AT&T to use it in the US

Nokia 9290** same as the P910, it can be bought in the states but you will have to get a SIM card from T-Mobile, Cingular, or AT&T to use it in the US

Nokia 9300** just announced, will be for sale in 2005, according to the Nokia website it will be for sale in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia (it is my guess that others places may be added as it gets closer to its for sale date)

Nokia 9500** also recently announced, it uses GSM so that leaves it to Cingular, AT&T, and T-Mobile


Danger HipTop Devices*

Sidekick II T-Mobile


RIM Blackberry Devices*

Blackberry 6230 TMobile

Blackberry 6280 Cingular, AT&T

Blackberry 6710 T-Mobile, AT&T

Blackberry 7230 TMobile

Blackberry 7280 AT&T, Cingular

Blackberry 7750 Verizon

Blackberry 7780 AT&T

Blackberry 7100t** just announced 9/8 by RIM, it will be sold initially by T-Mobile


* The list above was compiled from the websites of the respective phone companies. There have been other models available in the past, but this list only accounts for those that appear on mobile phone company websites.

** These phones where announced but only appeared on the manufacturer s website.


If you click on the links above, you can see that the average prices for smartphone PDAs are towards the higher end of the cost spectrum for PDAs. The reason being is that you are getting more than just a PDA, you are getting phone and internet abilities along with it.


How to Choose What Works Best?

To this point, I have focused on smartphone devices because if one wanted a PDA only, they would not be looking towards a smartphone. A smartphone is designed to allow the mobile worker to stay connected with business while away from the office. Smartphones also have the ability to gain time in ones day by allowing them to do work while traveling, instead of waiting to get to a laptop or desktop. PDAs in general will allow you to take your office with you. A smartphone allows you to take the office, and the Internet connection along with it. So what is the optimal solution? There is not one that works for everyone. You have to use what works best for you. Below, I have made a chart that will be able to help you figure out if a smartphone or a PDA and mobile phone combination works best for you.


If this description fits you

then this device type may fit you best (smartphone or PDA/Mobile Phone Combo)

Office worker who is looking to handle fewer devices but stay organized


Office worker who is out of the office more times than in the office


College student looking to stay organized and occasionally connected

PDA and Mobile Phone

Educational administrator who seeks to manage classroom better

PDA and Mobile Phone

Educational administrator who may be outside of the office as much as being in the office


Working parent who manages kids activities


On the field worker


IT person

PDA and Mobile Phone

Real Estate field worker


Accountant, accountant type work

PDA and Mobile Phone

Medical professional

PDA and Mobile Phone


Those people that would work best with a two piece solution usually need the more processing power, larger screens, and leave at home abilities more so than being connected all of the time. If you are a person that can foresee yourself making your PDA a near laptop in its use, then a two piece may work best in that you can attach keyboards and other accessories and not worry about a phone call in the middle of composing a thought.


Another aspect that a two piece solution brings to the table is the inclusion of WiFi to the PDA model. Giving you the ability to connect to hotspots (or wireless networks) for email and Internet. With WiFi on some models, you can engage in using VoIP (voice over IP: using the Internet to make a phone call) services. The only drawback to WiFi is the high power consumption of it. Having a phone without WiFi is an advantage, because you don t want to be using the WiFi and the battery goes, and then you lose a few phone calls.


On the other hand, if you are a person that needs to be connected to constantly changing information all of the time, or have a large number of contacts to be in communication with whether inside or outside of the office, then a smartphone may work best for you. Some of the latest models have excellent battery life, as well as common phone functions integrated into a devices that is not too much larger (except for the Nokia models) than larger cell phones.


So Where Does that Leave Our Junior Executive?

The final decision comes down to two things, price and what you will use it for. If you can afford the price of entry (some smartphones are as high as $800 before the contract) a smartphone can be a tremendous boon to personal productivity. If your budget is not as high, and you already own a cell phone, purchasing a data plan (for your Wireless Data needs) and a PDA to connect to it may work well for you. PDAs can connect to a phone via a cable, infrared signal (line up the devices infrared ports and the signal will be sent), or via Bluetooth (a wireless radio frequency in some high level phones and mid and high range PDAs). Phones like Sony Ericsson s T637 and Z600 and Motorola s V600 have Bluetooth so that one can use the phone in this capacity.


With whatever form that you choose, make sure that you have the software (email, messaging) to get the most out of your data connect. You will feel like an executive with the time and energy that you save.



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