Email-enabled smart phones are becoming the workhorse of the business world. But finding one that’s remarkably different to the next isn’t easy.
They all do email, they all have web access and they all synch with your computer in the office or the home.
It can also be argued that every phone on the market today is a smart phone, allowing you to do the above and keep your contact and calendar information up-to-date.
Until the BlackBerry arrived and gave the business mobile industry a kick up the backside in terms of constant email, there has been little to differentiate one business phone from another except for the wad of cash you could be expected to part with.
With the Palm 500V which will be available from Vodafone, it is clear that providing business users with inexpensive, portable email on affordable devices will be the trend for the foreseeable future.
Palm has been the doyen of the personal organiser world for over 20 years with its own distinctive operating system. With the 500V, the company’s ongoing relationship with Microsoft is seen to continue with the Windows Mobile 6.0 operating system.
First off, I’m a fan of Palm’s own operating system and I wasn’t entirely happy with Windows Mobile 5.0 on the Palm Treo 750V product. I found it cluttered and difficult to navigate.
But I have to say Windows Mobile 6.0 is far cleaner and more presentable – albeit almost too clean to be bear.
Many of the applications work fine but some features I enjoy on the standard Palm operating system are absent, such as the Voice Memo recorder and Memo Notes.
But there are some nice new applications aboard the 500V such as a connection to eBay and best of all, Google Maps, which I found to work very quickly and easily.
But I feel the device needs something more in order to really differentiate itself in the market.
As a competitor to BlackBerry, the Palm device looks stylish, but also presents emails well. Users have a choice of email platforms they want to use such as the Visto service that can sit on most mobile devices and is therefore attractive to the SME.
The Palm 500V comes with a very large screen and has a 2.0 megapixel camera with video capture. Because of the screen and full keyboard, the device is a little on the wide side.
It comes with a 150MB built-in memory and a microSD expansion slot.
Primarily, where I think Vodafone is aiming the Palm 500V is at the affordable end of the business email market, and the device should go down very well. It not only looks the part but won’t break the bank at €199 with a contract and €399 without.
PROS Good screen and snazzy operating system
CONS Could do with more killer applications
PRICE from €200
By John Kennedy