Contributed by Dr. Wolfgang Irber, PPCW.Net Reader and Business Professional
When I bought the XDA in June 2001, it was more out of curiosity than a real need. I always had eyed for a Pocket PC, and this new combination of PDA and phone with GPRS eventually got me, promising easy Internet access at reasonable speed wherever I go; a glimpse to the future?
Now looking back while on the brink to UMTS and significantly higher wireless data rates in Germany, the question arises, did the XDA change the way I communicate or access the Internet? Did it have any effect to my daily life?
Using the XDA as phone
Calling with the XDA was great from the beginning: the excellent audio quality, the easy to use operating system, the big screen. With the audio quality being so good, I started to use the XDA for all of my phone calls, not even from home where I had a cheap rate. It was the convenience factor that drove this behavior. I had all contact details now on a single device and could easily synchronize with Outlook on my Notebook.
But, there was also the fun factor using the external speaker for joining a call with friends or getting friends into a private conference call.
The size of the XDA was never a problem to me. I now feel strange with a standard cell phone being so small. And some of the new camera or multimedia phones are not that much smaller today!
After all, even though I am not a phone person, I use the phone much more often now then in previous times.
E-Mail: Killer Application #1 on expense of Text Messaging
The top application right from the beginning was E-Mail over GPRS. I really got addicted to it. The easy access to E-Mail wherever I go often helped in critical conditions where fast response was required. I further recognized that limiting the E-Mail download to about 4 KB per mail is absolutely sufficient and helps to keep the bill low. If people cannot say it in 4 KB, they won't get to the point anyway!
Since most people I communicate with are online during the day, I more and more preferred to send E-Mails to people I formerly had sent a text message to. Even though there is no difference when writing E-Mails or text messages on the XDA, E-Mail is usually much cheaper, even under roaming conditions.
Some may ask, what about a messenger client? I tried, but typing on the virtual keyboard is not fast enough to keep a conversation going. Second, the messenger requires an always-on GPRS connection, which drains a bit the battery. And the connection gets dropped anyway when a call comes in. And, honestly, none of my friends is using an instant messenger right now.
But I can see the optional benefit of the messenger as a substitute for SMS chats when phones can deal with phone and data simultaneously.
Web Access: Killer Application #2 on expense of Newspapers
My second top application is web browsing. Before I got the XDA, I always bought a newspaper while traveling. Now, I go to my favorite selection of PDA-sized web pages to read the news. Over the web I get a much wider selection of news: newspapers and newsgroups from all around the world covering my personal interests.
My medium-sized GPRS package of 5 MB means a lot of traffic when merely reading news; even though I am browsing daily, in particular when driving home from work in the bus, the 5 MB readily last for the month.
I admit that pictures are mostly switched off when I browse the Internet. This is partly due to the cost factor, but more due to the delay. Pictures take too much time to load over GPRS.
Mobile access to the Internet is having a very bright future; at least for me. I am already looking forward to higher data rates which will be available in Germany this year.
And what about my phone bill? It has doubled or tripled since having the XDA, but I don't regret it at all. That's definitely good news for my network carrier! And last but not least, my girlfriend wants to get an XDA too, after she was watching me for the last 20 monthsâ€¦
Cheers ~ Wolfgang