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A Collection of Random Thoughts
Thursday, December 01, 2005
 
My new toy - Imate Jasjar

Ok, so I've got a new toy. I previously owned a Dell Axim X5, but
unfortunately, didn't use it a whole lot. Why? To be honest, a
standalone PocketPC doesn't offer a ton of value to me. Sure, it was
intrigueing at first, and I used it for things like creating grocery
lists, and I installed some programs on it like an eBook reader, but it
wasn't something I used every day. It didn't have phone functionality
and it didn't have built-in wireless. One nice thing I did like was
that it had both a CompactFlash AND Secure Digital memory slot.

Anyway, back to my new device...

The Imate Jasjar is a Windows Mobile 5.0 device with a 62-key QWERTY
keyboard, and a 180-degree swivel screen. It also includes 2 cameras
(one for video conferencing) and is a fully functional phone. The size
is about as big as most other Pocket PC's, which means that if you will
be using it as your primary cell phone, you will want to have a
earpiece, likely a Bluetooth headset. Details about the Jasjar can be
found on Imate's website here:
http://www.imate.com/DETAILS_JASJAR.htm

First thoughts...
1. Needs a more robust voice-dialing package. Microsoft Voice Command
is supposed to do wonders - the built in Voice dialing package just
doesn't have enough features. Having a Bluetooth headset that supports
CallerID would be great here too, but I'm not about to shell out for one
yet.
2. I LOVE the swivel screen. I almost think of this as a mini-tablet
PC. Handwriting recognition works very well (I tried writing very
sloppily and it still correctly translated it to text).
3. The speed seems slow, even compared to my old PPC (300Mhz). This
has more memory (Flash and RAM), and also has a 520Mhz processor.
Hopefully this will change with ROM updates that optimize some more
things.
4. Syncing with Exchange via ActiveSync leaves a little bit to be
desired. I can't wait for the Messaging and Security Feature Pack
(MSFP) - it should improve things quite a bit. Notably, there will be
no more SMS messages to notify the device that there is new mail. I've
found so far that another area where Exchange ActiveSync isn't quite
like BES is that Exchange only notifies you when there are new messages
in your Inbox. If you are like me, and have server-side rules to move
messages into other folders, you will not be notified when messages get
dropped in those folders. I don't know of a way to configure ActiveSync
to notify you if messages arrive in folders other than your inbox.
5. The battery life can be pretty bad. Coming from my Axim, where the
battery would last the better part of a week, my Jasjar lasts about 2
maybe 3 days if I don't use Wireless. If I do, I pretty much have to
recharge it on a daily basis. I'm sure that the extended life batteries
will be gobbled up once they come out.
6. This is a quad-band phone, but coverage in the US will likely be
spotty. It only supports the 1800Mhz US GSM band, which both Cingular
and T-Mobile use, but Cingular also uses the 850Mhz band. I've been
using this with T-Mobile, and haven't had any problems with coverage
thus far. Phone quality seems fine. The packaged earpiece is good. I
should note that the Jasjar uses a standard size 3.5mm plug instead of
the mini one that most cell phones use.
7. AWESOME screen. It has a VGA screen (640x480 resolution) that is
stunning. I had a few days with both this and my old Axim, and there is
just no comparison. Even using the Terminal Services client is now
usable.
8. The keyboard is very usable. I've tried typing e-mails on
Blackberry devices - they are horrible (for me). The size of the keys
on Blackberries is too small for me to thumb type (which is what you
need to do). The keys on this are just the right size. If you want,
you can even set it on your desk and type with a few fingers - this also
works well. There is also a backlight that lights up the keys in a red
glow in low light situations. My only complaint about the keyboard (a
weak one at that), is that there is only one shift key and Function key
(on the left side of the keyboard), so if I have to type a symbol, I
have to use my left hand to hit the shift or Fn key, even though there
are some keys with symbols on the left side of the keyboard.

Do you use a Windows Mobile device? If so, which one do you use? Does
it have phone capability? Are you able to use it as your only mobile
device?


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