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6 Months on A Dual Mode. Not Quite Walt Mossberg, but Here I Go….

August 24, 2007 - 2 Comments

Good Morning Blogosphere, I have just completed my first 6 months using a dual-mode smartphone and wanted to share some early observations on the experience. My model was Nokia’s excellent e61i, which went from a stealth device on our corporate IT plan to a full-fledged choice for all Cisco Mobility users.With a tip of the hat to Walt Mossberg, I wanted to offer a quick review of my dual-mode corporate mobility experience for the first six months, including the service and the device.Truth in packaging opening:For someone in my position, carrying one of these devices is an absolute must. It like being part of a political party or a club: it says, I belong to the dual mode, seamless collaboration generation. Nonetheless, the explosion of these devices in the Cisco environment suggest to me, in the words of Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”Let’s start with the things I like. While the features provided by the secure environment do not vary dramatically from my prior smart phone, there are a range of new things and improvements that blow away the first mobile platform I carried for the past two years:- Web access through this device is a huge gain. I have the opportunity to pre-configure an”access point” in the installation of the device. Thanks to our trusty friends in the 3GPP world, access point can be a choice of cellular data networks or it can be a Wi-Fi access point. Or I can actually let the network ask me which is the best air interface approach when I device to click on a web link- In the words of WNBU CTO Pat Calhoun, you can travel the world with this device and never need a guide book. The Google website and a dual mode phone is a virtual Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. What I have found is I have replaced directory assistance on the phone with Google searches wherever I am. So if I am in Las Vegas looking for Sushi, the e61i is in gear. If about to hop in the car for the drudge home, I check the California traffic site and check on the best roads to take home-Cisco Unified Mobile Communicator (CUM) is a huge part of my productivity environment. My entire UC environment is in the palm of my hand, including one click to my conference environment, presence-enabled buddy lists, vm, etc.- A plug for the device! There is much to like about the e61i. I will leave that, for the most part, to product reviewers. I find the navigation very straight forward and one to make a key point. The battery life has been great. Switching between Wi-Fi and Cellular, I have been able to get a full work day completed without a sweaty brow to the gas tank. It is very stable from an OS point of view, very lightweight, and with a little use, pretty intuitive.What needs work? – At some time, I would like to see the device and network have a much tighter approach to sensing and determining what network access is fastest without personal intervention. There are a lot of companies offering so-called”fixed-mobile convergence” solutions, but from where a common business person stands, they are highly klugey, particularly in the area of call control. The CUMC approach is much tighter than anything I have used and we have only released 1.1 Stay tuned for a range of new features and enhancements-More corporate applications, faster, faster, faster. My buddies in IT have shown me the next generation of corporate applications that will be integrated into this device. To me, that is where the real money is.What has this meant for me as a worker?- It if fair to say that for most of the work day, I have stopped carrying my laptop. Although one would not compose the Declaration of Independence on the smart phone (although Robin Williams did try something similar in the movie RV), you can pretty much monitor and work all day around one of these devices- The further integration of applications in these devices appears inevitable.So dual mode fans, I would rate this first 6 months a solid B with a B+ for the device and a B- for the range of applications I am currently using.

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  1. Where can you get the Symbian mobile communicator ? Both Cisco and Nokia's links are either not working or just provide useless information.

  2. Dual mode is the way to go as Wi-Fi moves to 802.11n this will make having such a device a must!The only thing I hope Cisco would collaborate with Nokia and perhaps Apple with on the next dual mode phones is to acquire the larger screen size and touch type keys. The ability to wirelessly synch your device with a larger LCD screen say through bluetooth or UWB would also be sweet.