Italy’s two larges cellular phone service providers, TIM and Vodafone, each offering mobile email solutions, recently offered product trials of their proposed mobile office solutions.

After a test drive of the 2 devices here are some of my thoughts.

Blackberry
The sleak design and stunning display quality immediately grabbed my attention and fortunately my excitement didn’t stop there. The Blackberry was a true gem, impressing me with each functionality tested. The devices ergonamic design, clear interface and absolute responsiveness convinced me that that it works as it should. Here is a quick summary of what I found to be the pros and cons:

A good reason for Blackberry’s extreme popularity is their well thought out interface and design. Its simplicity and ease of use makes it truely enjoyable to use. Browsing and scrolling can easily be done with one hand, fitting well into the palm of the hand. Thumb scrolling is natual and is surprisingly a fast method of navigating through menus and options. The lack of a touch screen makes the navigation less intuitive at times, the additional option would be a nice feature. For faster navigation keyboard shortcuts are required. I found them to be useful, however not intuitive and some what frustrating at the beginning.

HP iPAQ Pocket PC

Packed to the brim with all the goodies, this device is dressed to impress. I was excited to find some nice updates/improvements made to the latest Pocket PCs. It made me wish that my own Pocket PC had the integrated phone service, primarily for the ability to connect to the Internet, even though the connection was only a GPRS connection. HP iPaq Pros and Cons:

What I enjoyed was the long list of features, including GPS and digital camera missing from the Blackberry. Unfortunately a long feature list isn’t everything, especially when my list of cons match the pros.

Conclusion

Both are excellent devices and offer all the essentials for a mobile solution. The Blackberry’s EDGE connection and push technology services make it by far the better option for mobile email. The lack of proper email synchronization with Outlook however doubles the amount of email to sort through, once on the Blackberry to read and cancel items and again on the desktop to organize and archive important messages. The HP iPaq is less responsive, bulky with poor battery life and with a slow GPRS connection, plus it heats up too much. Fortunately ir runs on the Pocket PC platform ensuring proper synchronization with Outlook and Exchange and permits you to view attachments in their original format. At this point you do the math and let me know what you decide.

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