Product Analysis: Wireless Devices

To determine which device can best deliver wireless data access, we evaluated three PC Card modems and four smartphones, all using various wireless services. The right device depends on your users, area, applications and carriers.

We couldn't obtain a Windows Mobile 5 device, but this system was close enough to being available in new smartphones that we wanted to report on some imminent enhancements.

We interviewed John Starkweather, group product manager in the Mobile and Embedded Devices division at Microsoft. Starkweather says important features of Windows Mobile 5 include client support for close coupling with Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2 for an enhanced push e-mail experience, nonvolatile memory, an improved browser and the ability to flip between landscape and portrait modes on all devices.

He adds that Microsoft intends to continue supporting both smartphone (single-handed, no stylus) and PDA (two-handed, stylus-oriented) form factors, but Windows Mobile 5 will offer greater code compatibility between the two platforms, making it more likely that the applications will run across both.

Other improvements include support for USB 2.0, hard drives and enhanced multimedia support. Some newer Windows Mobile devices based on Pocket PC 2003 will be upgradable to Windows Mobile 5, but this will vary by vendor. We were unable to confirm whether the Samsung i730 would be upgradable to Windows Mobile 5.

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