Thursday, February 02, 2006

JupiterResearch:T-Mobile MDA and SDA WIndows Mobile Devices - First Look

One of the fringe benefits of being an analyst (as well as those with large readerships) is that you not only get to hear about the latest mobile devices and technologies before anyone else, but you also get to play with them as well. Michael Gartenberg at JupiterResearch posts his first look of two new Windows Mobile devices, the T-Mobile MDA (HTC Wizard) and SDA (HTC Tornado). Gartenberg writes:

Both phones are great. The SDA is the best Windows Smartphone I've used to date. While it's similar to the iMate [SP5m] unit, the iMate isn't a mainstream product in the US. It's also similar to the Cingular 2125 [HTC Faraday], but I'd take the SDA over it in heartbeat. Unlike the Cingular offering, the SDA is WiFi enabled and has dedicated media keys on the front. The MDA is similar to the {Sprint PPC-] 6700 in form factor but doesn't have the protruding antenna. With a slightly more rounded appearance, it's easier to hold. What it also lacks is performance. Using an TI process it runs at only 206mhz, slower than the 6700 so apps don't snap open as fast. Also, T-Mobile supports EDGE connections on the device, which is nowhere near as fast EVDO. T-Mobile does add a lot of value with the addition of an IM client (AIM/YAHOO/MSN/ICQ), a hotspot connection utility and integrated push email. I tested a few apps out on it, including the Sling Mobile client and had no problems with performance. Viewing remote TV over Edge was more than acceptable. If you're a GSM user who likes the flexibility the technology offers and you need a smartphone, these devices are worth the look. The SDA is more phone centric and the MDA more PDA/data centric. Kudos for T-Mobile for offering both devices and letting users decide what meets their needs best.
I'm now starting to lean more toward a phone-centric device, like the SDA, since I think I can live without a keyboard for text entry. I wish there was a EV-DO version available too so I could have both WiFi and 3G. Otherwise it's just WiFi and EDGE, which is still an decent upgrade from my Audiovox SMT-5600 with GPRS. The other thing I need to consider if I make the leap is, do I port to T-Mobile or find the SDA or i-Mate SP5 unlocked so I can still use Cingular. Any ideas on T-Mobile's U.S. coverage?

Lastly, if anyone wants to twist my arm and review a mobile device then I'm more than willing :-) I might not be positive, but I'll be honest and fair...