Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Motorola Q is a RAZR Thin QWERTY Phone

The Motorola Q for Verizon Wireless service might be mistaken for a Blackberry or a PalmOne Treo looking straight on. From the size you might mistakenly think you are watching someone using a Motorola RAZR phone. The Q borrows from the best of the smartphones and ups the technology ante once again.

To see why, lets start with the name. It's actually a letter: Q. The "Q" cleverly refers to QWERTY, the typewriter-like keyboard that makes efficient data entry possible. BlackBerry and PalmOne pioneered the idea of including a full set of QWERTY keys on the front of a PDA phone. Other smartphones have QWERTY keyboards, but have them slide away when not in use. Whether the keys are prominent or hidden really defines whether a device is a phone first, or a data and messaging device first and a telephone second. Motorola is trying to brand the Q as a "QWERTY phone" which implies that both voice and data are equally important.

They might just succeed in this marriage with the advancements introduced in the Motorola Q. Most apparent is the thickness of the device. It's a mere 0.47 inches, less than even the ground breaking 0.5 inch RAZR. The other dimensions are 4.57 in. long by 2.52 in. wide. It has more of a rectangular than chunky shape, a form factor making it easier to use as a phone.

The QWERTY keyboard has nicely spaced keys and is backlit with an integrated thumbwheel to make one-handed operations easier. The operating system is Windows Mobile 5.0. The Windows Pocket Outlook email client supports POP, IMAP, APOP, and ESMTP protocols, plus MS Exchange ActiveSync and VPN support. You'll be able to view and edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, and read PDF documents. This full featured email software is intended to support both corporate and personal accounts.

Web browsing is accomplished with Pocket Internet Explorer that supports HTML, SSL, JavaScript, cookies, bookmarks, frames and VPNs. It's almost like having the capability of your desktop computer in your pocket. You won't get bogged down by slow data transfers, either. The Motorola Q includes EV-DO cellular broadband capability and is backward compatible to the almost universally available but slower 1xRTT protocol.

In addition to Email, both SMS text messaging with pre-loaded messaging templates and multimedia messaging to send and receive pictures and videos are supported. MSN Messenger is included to support instant messaging.

One difference you'll notice between the Motorola Q and similar devices like the BlackBerry and PalmOne Treo is the absence of an antenna. Actually the antenna isn't missing, it's integrated into the case for cellular phone calls and broadband data transfer. Another communication system is Bluetooth. In the Q, you can use Bluetooth for hands-free phone calls with an over-the-ear wireless headset.

Bluetooth is becoming a standard in high end phones, but this implementation is different. In addition to normal phone use, Bluetooth communications in the Motorola Q also includes the A2DP or Advanced Audio Distribution Profile. What this means is that the Q supports wireless streaming stereo music using the built-in Windows Media MP3 player and a pair of Bluetooth stereo headphones. Stereo speakers are built-in to enhance the music experience.

Multimedia capability also includes downloading streaming video using the EV-DO high speed data transfer available on the Verizon Wireless network, plus taking high resolution still photos and video clips with the 1.3 Megapixel digital camera. An LED flash is included for low light conditions.

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