gadget of the week

I’ve spent a long time deliberating my new purchase of a phone. I had gone off of upgrading my telephones after my last Nokia 6650 and Blackberry (aka Crackberry). I’ve been using this ghetto Nokia 3250 since moving to London because I haven’t gone down to unlock the sim cards on my other two phones. Plus I have very few friends here whom I actually call so it is OK.

But I started to get the itch again a few weeks ago. You know that feeling. The old familiar gadget envy when you see someone doing something cool with some geeky toy.

It all kicked off when I ran into King Britt and he was playing around with his Sidekick. Sidekicks are quite cool and I have been jealous of the fact that we don’t have them in Europe. Whenever you are in the States you see people playing non-stop with them. They are almost as bad as Crackberries, but they have some cool features that made me want one.

These features include: always on IM (something you don’t get working very easily on the Blackberry), camera (another thing the Blackberry doesn’t have), cute colours and covers and, finally, that flip around keyboard is pretty dope.

I went online and found out that T-mobile here in the UK in fact does have the Sidekick II available. It just appears that they do absolutely nothing to push it. I have never seen a Brit walking down the street with one. I think this is part due to the fact that T-mobile is trying to develop their own MDA and push this rather than pushing the Danger Sidekick. Or maybe there just isn’t a market here for the Sidekick.


One interesting thing that I have noticed about the demographic of Sidekick users is that they tend to be a younger, more fun crowd. These are the people that don’t mind using AOL IM (who the hell uses that anymore?) and want really simple applications to retrieve their email. They don’t really care about connecting and syncing their PC – as the contact and email management is done through a T-mail account. This is interesting as Blackberry users tend to be tie-wearing, business travellers or sophisticated soccer moms that probably wouldn’t benefit much from IM chats or cameras.

I ordered a Sidekick. Then I got antsy about it. It didn’t feel quite right. I felt that maybe I needed more control over my phone. I want to sync with Outlook and do other things. So, I cancelled the order with Expansys and went back to the drawing board.

That is when I came across the latest Blackberry 8700. Oh, the all new Blackberry. I was a little hesitant after hearing all these rumours about the RIM lawsuit, but turns out that that has been settled. So what is great about the Blackberry and why would I even bother upgrading since I already have the small 7100 series which I had a brief love affair with.


blackberry 8700

My love affair with my Blackberry was short, but passionate. It is a great way to get email. I used it constantly to fool the boss into thinking I was in the office. But what I didn’t really like was the fact that the phone was crap on it. I never heard the thing ringing and missed every single call that came in. Plus the internet browsing was a joke and there was no camera. I ended up trading it in for my Nokia 6650 because I was obsessed at the time with the sunshine of Barcelona and capturing as many photos as humanly possible of drinking sessions on Sunday afternoons.

The problems that I had with my Blackberry might have been solved with the 8700. The internet browsing is supposed to be much improved, plus I can install IM software on it and annoy everyone all the time.

I ordered the Blackberry 8700 off of Expansys. Then I got antsy again. Crap! I really want to be able to get Skype chats on my phone and Skype only supports Pocket PC OS. Neither the Sidekick or the Blackberry support Skype.

Then I thought about it a little more. What do I really want from my new gadget phone?

Here is my list:

  • Good contact management that I can sync with Outlook
  • Push email for business and personal accounts
  • Internet browsing that is halfway decent
  • IM – especially Skype since most of my contacts are on Skype
  • Wifi – because 3G is too bloody expensive
  • Ability to add applications – such as SSH
  • Easy to use keyboard

    Things that I dont’ really care that much about:

  • Camera – nice to have, but I don’t really care about the quality
  • Ringtones
  • Size of the phone – I have a big handbag
  • Skype phone calls – I don’t mind not calling through wifi – I only want IM

    Back to the drawing board again. Yes, at this point you are thinking that I am completely undecisive and probably really pissing off the people at Expansys because I keep ordering and cancelling.

    That is when I came across the I-Mate KJAM. It has all the features that I was looking for and it is quite slick with a keyboard that looks a little reminicent of the Sidekick.


    image kjam

    And I ordered it. And I haven’t cancelled it. It will be delivered Monday. Wish me luck…

    Read the spec of the Imate KJAM