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Motorola A388: if you're looking for PDA and phone functionality, the A388, might be for you.

The Motorola A388 is a clamshell device that blends mobile phone features with PDA functionality. The first thing I noticed was the size. Motorola's choice to ditch the traditional phone keypad and use an onscreen keypad instead keeps this device small. The buttons take some getting used to because there's no tactile feedback when you're pressing numbers. Still, the tradeoff is worth it.

When it comes to the UI, you have an easy-to-use combination of buttons and an icon-based, onscreen UI to navigate between modes and applications. The A388 also gives you a touch-screen keyboard you can use with or without the included stylus.

You also have the option of using the QuickPrint handwriting recognition program. QuickPrint is reminiscent of Palm Grafitti, but somewhat easier to use. When in doubt, it offers you a list of "Did you mean?" options to choose from. I've heard some complaints about QuickPrint's speed, but I didn't experience any of these problems.

This device gives you basic PDA applications: calendar, to-do list, address book, and a notepad application, among others. These applications won't be enough to keep your average power user happy. However you can add third-party J2ME applications.

The Motorola A388 covers all three bands of the GSM network, so it's good choice for travelers using plans that allow international roaming.

The Motorola A388 ships with Starfish TrueSync and a serial data cable to let you sync with Microsoft Outlook and Starfish's PIM, called TrueSync Desktop. Because the device I evaluated didn't ship with a data cable, I wasn't able to test the data sync capabilities.

Motorola chose not to ship with a USB cable, instead choosing a serial cable, which is getting hard to find on new notebooks. However, you can buy a converter for USB.

The device can operate in phone mode, or PDA mode, but not both. That means no paging through notes while making a call. The device doesn't offer a speakerphone, so this wouldn't be an option anyway.

All in all, the Motorola A388 is a solid piece of equipment, and a good choice for international travelers, or those of you who just ant basic PDA functionality and reduce the number of devices you carry around.

BUSINESS BENEFITS

The Motorola A388 is a serviceable option for business users who only want to carry one device.

(+) Touch screen is easy to use

(+) Handwriting recognition is more intuitive than Palm Graffiti

(+) Easy-to-use UI

(+) Tri-band GSM for international travel

(-) You can't run in PDA and phone modes simultaneously.

Motorola Inc. http://www.motorola.com./

Motorola A388 US$300

DIMENSIONS: 3.86" height, 2.28" width, 0.9" depth

WEIGHT: 4.59oz

SCREEN SIZE: 1.9" height, l.4" width

RESOLUTION: 240x320

DISPLAY: Grayscale

BACKLIT SCREEN: Yes

BATTERY LIFE: 4.5 hours Talk; 145 hours Stand-by; 29 hours PDA

BATTERY TYPE: Lithium-Ion

OS: Proprietary Motorola OS; J2ME for third-party Java applications

PROCESSOR: Dragonball VZ

RAM: 8MB

EXPANSION SLOTS: No

PORTS: Serial, stereo headphone jack

INPUT DEVICE: Touch-screen QWERTY keyboard, handwriting recognition

VOICE RECORDER: Yes

INTERNET: E-mail, Web

TEXT MESSAGES: Yes

APPLICATIONS: Address book, calendar, to-do, notepad

SYNC: Serial port, StarFish TrueSync

INFRARED: Yes

DATA SPEED: GPRS 56Kbps

RADIO SYSTEM: GSM 900MHz, 1800MHz, and 1900MHz

CALL TIMER: Yes

CALL WAITING: Yes

CALLER ID: Yes

LAST NUMBER RECALL: Yes

MISSED CALL LISTING: Yes

MULTIPLE PHONE BOOKS: No

RING OPTIONS: Ring, vibrate, silent

TEXT MESSAGES: Yes (SMS)

VOICE DIALING: No

VOICEMAIL: Yes

SPEAKERPHONE: No

Robert Ayer is director of network operations for RedWire Broadband, an wired and wireless broadband provider in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties, Robert uses his experience as a MAN architect, UNIX systems administrator, and Cisco internetworking engineer to ensure the reliability of RedWire's integrated wireless and landline network, http://www.redwire.net, rob@redwire.net.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Smartphone
Author:Ayer, Robert
Publication:Mobile Business Advisor
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2002
Words:626
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