In talking with many customers they are always skeptical if a Windows Mobile Smartphone will be a useful device for email access.
Everyone seems to obsess abut the fact that an email device needs to have a keyboard.
What I've witnessed though is that even when people have a keyboard they tend to only send short responses (even on competitive devices). Now there are those people who do send massive emails however they seem to be the exception not the rule.
Interestingly the QWERTY keyboard was designed to slow down fast typists because in the original typewriters the characters would jam the type writer so Sholes (who invented QWERTY) create the QWERTY arrangement and patented it in 1868 to stop this clashing and jamming.
The fastest keyboard configuration is the Dvorak keyboard which can allow the typist to type about 400 of the English Languages most common words without ever leaving the home row (QWERTY allows 100)
So why the discussion - well a Smartphone (with a phone keypad) is a great device for 3 reasons.
1. Most people (excluding some age ranges 🙂 ) are very fast at T9 (particularly in Europe where SMS is prevalent)
2. Triage - most mobile email users triage email, that is they read, delete, move and deliver short responses. Smartphone is great for that. One of my customers who previously had another fruit based device loved his Smartphone because he basically responded in 3 ways:
c. PCM - Please Call Me 🙂
He loved the fact he could setup some pre-defined messages to do that.
3. Read and Ring! - Rather than emailing someone back - call them! Whilst email is a great method for conversing (particularly cross timezone) - if they are in the same (or near) timezone - why not call them and discuss over the phone?
I find 'Read and Ring' a nice way of positioning how a Smartphone can be used as a great device! Not only can you triage email but you can also call people too!
Of course what's confusing the matter now is that many Smartphone devices like the i320 and HTC S620/T-Mobile Dash also have QWERTY keyboards.....