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PPC-6700: Waiting for it to Die January 2, 2008

Posted by TimTheFoolMan in Technology.
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Some time ago, I wrote up a feature comparison between the PPC-6700 (I have the version from Sprint) and the iPhone. Here, I will try to avoid making iPhone comparisons, largely because I’m highly unlikely to become an iPhone user until that phone is available on the Sprint network.

ppc-6700

Instead, I’m going to give you an idea of why I’m learning to hate this phone. (Note: All of the colorful language that so frequently comes to mind when using this phone has been carefully edited out. This is a family show.)

Application Error
On several occasions, I have been greeted with the phone equivalent of “the application has quit unexpectedly,” a phrase that has always caused me amusement. If the app had quit according to my expectations, would I even need to be notified?

Give me Lithium, or Give me Death
Approximately ten months into owning this phone, I have already replaced the battery. Unfortunately, the phone is such flop in the marketplace that none of the retailers that used to sell the phone sell batteries. I bought two from a mail order place, figuring that the odds are good that the first replacement will fail before my two years is up on this phone.

The Missing Stylus
As I noted in my earlier review, the stylus on this phone is easy to lose. I know they all are, but with this phone, it was especially bad. The stylus used to “fly out” of the phone when I would walk with it in my hand. One day, with the headset in place, I didn’t hear the familiar sound of it hitting the floor/pavement, and then realized it was gone as soon as I needed to change to flight mode, or use the funky “target” icon that brings up the primary “Phone Settings” window.

Fortunately, the manufacturer realized that they had a bonehead working on the stylus retention system, so the gave you a spare. Sadly, both the original and the spare are completely unlike any of the dozens of other styli of other handheld devices, so when the spare makes its javelin-like departure from the slot, you’re left with nothing but fat fingers to manipulate icons that are less than .25″ square.

Someone needs to make a phone with a touch-screen designed for fingers, and ditch the stylus. Oh wait… they did.

Mysteriously in ‘Flight Mode’
By far the most annoying aspect of this phone is its willingness to suddenly go into “flight mode” (where the phone is on, but can’t make or receive calls) all by itself. A few moments ago, it performed this magic again, notably as I was putting the phone in its cradle to re-sync. If I’d had the ring set for “Vibrate,” which is normal for me, I’d have not heard the familiar “I’m about to go into flight mode, and turn myself into an electronic brick” warning tones.

In this case, I happened to spot it, and turned the phone back on. (This required quite a bit of “fingertip gymnastics,” because that particular mode can’t be easily set by using the physical buttons, including the trackpoint-style device.) In recent weeks, I’ve missed important calls, only to find out that my phone had been off when at the end of the day I tried to call home.

The Song Remains the Same
Naturally, all of my previous frustrations with the PPC-6700 remain: The screen still needs to be polarized; the built-in speakerphone is useful only as an amplifying device for regular calls (since the normal earpiece volume is so low); too many applications continue to run, even when you’ve closed all their windows; the touchscreen keypad is too small, and ActiveSync continues to give bogus errors, and is clumsy to update.

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Comments»

1. Jeff - February 2, 2008

As I type this reply on my iPhone, I have to laugh at the similarities between you, my dad and myself. Over the past year, one of the most common topics of discussion is that of smart phone devices. I remember sitting a Christmas dinner, talking about which devices we liked the best. I do understand your frustration with your 6700, one reason I decided to “follow the heard” and get the iPhone. A good friend of mine had a 6700 and learned to despise it after using it for only a few days. He now has a Q and is only marginally happier with it. I don’t think the perfect smart phone exists, but I’m pretty close for my needs with my fanboy device.

2. Tim - February 6, 2008

Jeff,

I noted that, even though the iPhone hasn’t hit Apple’s projections for first-year sales (they’re shooting for 10,000,000, but will probably come in at 2/3 of that), they’ve already passed all of the Windows Mobile devices…combined. I am sooooooooo not surprised. – Tim


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