SMART Communications, in conjunction with Microsoft, released the first ever Windows powered Smartphone 2002 here in the Philippines — branded as Smart Amazing Phone (I’ll refer to it as SAP)! Generally, its physical appearance outside and functionality inside is obviously too familar with all HTC Tanagers. It got the same specs of a T1 OMAP 120MHz processor with 32MB flash memory, shows a 2.2inch display in 176×220 resolution with approximately 65,536 colors TFT screen LCD, a built-in mic for voice recording and speaker that produces ample sound when listening to voice calls or as a speakerphone. It also produces clear stereo sound when used with a headset or headphone accessory, usually when listening to MP3 music. It has a plug-in SIM card slot; uses an RS-323, USB or infra-red connection for pc synching or data transfer, and finally, utilizes a lithium ion battery which, in normal usage, consumes about 2-3hrs of talk-time, 2hrs. in GPRS mode and 100hrs. of standby time. The accessories SMART includes in the package is a digital camera, a USB synchronization cable, a fast travel charger, and manuals with a CD-ROM disc. All these costs for Php22,290.00! Sorry, but online orders need not apply! You have to go to a telecenter to purchase one.
The Smart Amazing Phone is a great device! Having Windows as its operating system is an ease to sync information from Outlook to Smartphone and back. synchronization is limited to Contacts, Calendar, Tasks and Inbox. Unfortunately, quite missing are Notes and Favorites for jotting texts and viewing webpages offline. The CD-ROM only includes ActiveSync 3.6, Outlook 2000, and the usually sleuth of apps from Microsoft: Both PC versions of Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer. It doesn’t, however, include a .pdf version of the user manual, no third party user-installable apps, and definitely no extras.
One thing good about the SAP is the upgradability of its firmware and Microsoft can easily incorporated new features and functionality for the Smartphone as soon as it is available. Not to mention, the many downloadable freeware games and applications from the internet and other commercial programs being sold online.
The display is a crisp 65k colors in TFT screen LCD, but there’s no font smoothing, though, so jaggies in the fonts is immediately noticeable. Watching videos encoded exclusively for the SAP is great! Its only bogged down by the constant turning off backlight — if only Microsoft added a backlight feature in the Windows Media Player version of the Smartphone 2002, watching videos is more pleasant.
The keypad layout of the SAP is easily adaptable and quite easier to use contributing to its large buttons and neat configuration. The voice recorder and volume control buttons are located to the left of the Smartphone which is a little cumbersome to use for right handed folks.
The ability to turn the radio (signal or network) off is a plus, since going to an institution where one should turn off their mobile phones and using just the PDA features of it is definitely important. The speakerphone feature is a must if having both of your hands full.
The included digital camera is a nice extra. However, because its external and attachable, its a little inconvenient to use and because of the small size of the digital camera, its easy to loose or misplace it. Its also bothersome to bring along always and sometimes forget to pack it in. The Secure Digital (SD) slot is also a great addition to the SAP since one can buy or upgrade memory as long as it is supported by the Smartphone. Power consumption is no hassle, either. I’ve encoded and watched a full-length movie and it didn’t even spend a bar from my battery meter.
Contact entries and inbox is almost limitless — I personally think this depends on the memory available on the Smartphone. Editing and sending SMS is akin to creating an e-mail message and can send to multiple contacts.
SAP already includes Action Backup and Action Update utilities and IA Style’s IA Album and IA Camera (activates when use with the camera) applications. All embedded from the Smartphone’s internal memory. Both functions seamlessly. I’d only wish Action Backup “backup” Smartphone’s data to an SD rather than going online. Its more handy and convenient that way.
With its ability to install user-installable applications and games, it all goes down with third-party developers to make the necessary software and Microsoft’s promotions to offer the Windows powered Smartphone 2002 to mobile phone operators. Having SMART Communications to back them up here in the Philippines — its a great offering for business and casual users.
Overall, the SAP is a neat, streamlined and simple device that the user will quickly adapt overtime.
Personally, I first owned a Pocket PC. It’s a great device and can almost mimic everything a desktop PC can do. For obvious reasons, I switched to a mobile phone simply because: (1) a Pocket PC 2002 has no built-in mobile phone, (2) one can purchase a mobile phone for any Pocket PC 2002 in the form of a compactflash card (eg. Audiovox RTM8000), and (3) the cost of the mobile phone unit for Pocket PC 2002 is almost the same with a mobile phone! Sheesh, and you can’t even do a single-hand operation with it (you can press the touch screen with your fingers, but it’ll just get dirty). Is SAP a saving-grace? Definitely! For now, its premature to declare it a winner in the mobile market. Soon it will, but that depends on Microsoft, the mobile operator, and software developers for that platform to attract more consumers.
>>CoolSmartPhone – awesome site!
-Rodel Rufo (inspired by my wife Gladys and daughter Gladeline)
If you want to see the FCC report (including close-ups and PDF’s) – click here.