Motorola Smartphones Offer Twist

By Jim Louderback  |  Posted 2004-03-24 Print this article Print

My favorite device from a design perspective has to be Motorolas new MPX smartphone. Built around Microsofts phone operating system, its a hybrid with twist.
Use it in normal phone mode and its your basic, albeit overlarge, clamshell phone.
But when you close it and press a button on the side of the unit, the phone does a Dr. Jekyll switch and turns into a clamshell PDA, complete with keyboard. Alas, I was very unimpressed with the prototype keyboard. The keys are not raised enough for easy thumb typing, which means a slow and arduous hunt and peck process. Motorola says its working on making the keyboard more usable, so well just have to wait and see how it ends up when the product ships later this year. But its undoubtedly cool, and it captured the enthusiasm and excitement of show-goers. It even glows in the dark! Motorolas new a845 phone, the companys first 3G/UMTS handset, will support two-way video conferencing, which is pretty cool. Its big, though—too big for most users, in my opinion. It also includes support for assisted GPS, a feature that combines cell-net location information with GPS satellite data to help users find stores, restaurants and addresses. It will launch in the second half of 2004, when AT&T Wireless rolls out its UMTS/WCDMA network. Motorola also introduced a phone with a megapixel digital camera. The V710 includes a 1.2 megapixel CCD, with a built-in flash and MPEG4 video support as well. It will sync with PC desktop applications and works as a data modem, too. Although I didnt see it at CTIA, the Motorola a760 offers an interesting take on the smartphone—but its only available in China now. I like it, small and lightweight with a good-looking screen. Maybe itll come to the United States soon. I was also fascinated by the range of Bluetooth devices at the show. Motorola plans to release a Bluetooth speakerphone, which if it works is actually a pretty good idea. Next Page: LG offerings dont match sexed-up ad campaign.

With more than 20 years experience in consulting, technology, computers and media, Jim Louderback has pioneered many significant new innovations.

While building computer systems for Fortune 100 companies in the '80s, Jim developed innovative client-server computing models, implementing some of the first successful LAN-based client-server systems. He also created a highly successful iterative development methodology uniquely suited to this new systems architecture.

As Lab Director at PC Week, Jim developed and refined the product review as an essential news story. He expanded the lab to California, and created significant competitive advantage for the leading IT weekly.

When he became editor-in-chief of Windows Sources in 1995, he inherited a magazine teetering on the brink of failure. In six short months, he turned the publication into a money-maker, by refocusing it entirely on the new Windows 95. Newsstand sales tripled, and his magazine won industry awards for excellence of design and content.

In 1997, Jim launched TechTV's content, creating and nurturing a highly successful mix of help, product information, news and entertainment. He appeared in numerous segments on the network, and hosted the enormously popular Fresh Gear show for three years.

In 1999, he developed the 'Best of CES' awards program in partnership with CEA, the parent company of the CES trade show. This innovative program, where new products were judged directly on the trade show floor, was a resounding success, and continues today.

In 2000, Jim began developing, a daily, live, 8 hour TechTV news program called TechLive. Called 'the CNBC of Technology,' TechLive delivered a daily day-long dose of market news, product information, technology reporting and CEO interviews. After its highly successful launch in April of 2001, Jim managed the entire organization, along with setting editorial direction for the balance of TechTV.

In the summer or 2002, Jim joined Ziff Davis Media to be Editor-In-Chief and Vice President of Media Properties, including, Microsoft Watch, and the websites for PC Magazine, eWeek and ZDM's gaming publications.


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