The device does not appear to work consistently as a phone


That title is one of the main reasons I seriously considered a Treo 650 (and ultimately got one). If you wish to purchase a Pocket PC Phone in the US, you have four choices (that I am aware of).



  • HP H6315 (T-Mobile)

  • Audiovox 4100 (AT&T)

  • Audiovox 6601/XV6600 (Sprint/Verizon) & Siemens SX66 (Cingular)

  • Samsung i700 (Verizon)

Not a lot to chose from. All these devices are quite large with the exception of the 4100 which is pretty small. But all are bigger (some more) then the Treo 650. The HP has been around since July 2004 and T-Mobile is the only carrier that sells it. Other carriers were supposed to pick it up but none did (T-Mobile had a 3 month exclusive on selling it). I guess the reason lies in the fact that, well, it does not appear to work consistently as a phone.


I owned the Audiovox 4100 for a few brief weeks. At first it was love at first sight. Then a few weeks later I realized it sucked. Not only did it not reliably work as a phone, but it did not reliably work as a PDA!!! Sometimes it would not turn on after I locked it, most of the time I had trouble answering calls, and generally speaking it was flaky. I loved the idea of a Pocket PC phone, but ultimately it’s size, problems, and quirks had me return it. Additionally, dealing with Audiovox was not fun. They do not make this phone and know very little about it, so getting support was problematic. I ended up trading the 4100 in for an Audiovox 5600 Smartphone which was much more reliable and small. Of course I lost the PDA functionality and doing email on that device was problematic. It was a great read only device though. But I was never satisfied due to the form factor I really wanted (keyboard), and the minor phone problems with the 5600 (I also had problems answering calls, but no lockups).


I thought my 4100 problems were just limited to that device but it appears that even HP is having such problems with their H6315 that T-Mobile stopped selling it more than 6 months after it was released. That is a vote of no confidence IMHO. I mean if HP can’t get it right who can? Their products are usually top notch!



“The H6315 was released last July as HP’s answer to the popularity of palmOne’s Treo smart phone. HP added phone capabilities to one of its iPaq PDAs (personal digital assistants) with a GSM/GPRS (Global System for Mobile Communications/General Packet Radio Service) modem, and also installed an 802.11b wireless chip and Bluetooth connectivity. Early reviews were kind, in part because of the device’s ability to shift seamlessly between GPRS and 802.11b networks.


However, since its release users have been underwhelmed by the device’s phone capabilities, according to numerous posts on handheld-enthusiast Web sites and user-review sites. The device does not appear to work consistently as a phone, as many users reported having to frequently reset their units after software lockups.”


[PC Magazine]


This is not good. Especially because HP will also be releasing the iPaq Mobile Messenger sometime this year. If I were a telco I’d be hard pressed to sign up to sell one of their devices. I do not like to frequently reset anything. Especially not knowing that my device is locked up till after some one has tried to reach me.


Now, with the palmOne Treo 600/650 you will find it’s sold by:



  • Cingular (650)

  • AT&T (650)

  • Sprint (650)

  • Verizon

  • T-Mobile

Not only that but you can buy directly from palmOne, call them for support, if the thing breaks they will send you a unit in advance or returning yours (not something Audiovox would do for me when I complained about my 4100), send them email. Not to mention the fact that you can buy accessories and software for the 600/650 almost anywhere phones and PDAs are sold. But best of all, the 650 does appear to work consistently as a phone.

Comments (10)

  1. Finally a good blog on Cellphones, PDAs and Wireless services. I haven’t found it easy it get really…

  2. I had the first generation of T-Mobile’s Pocket PC phones, and I eventually decided that the Pocket PC design doesn’t work well as a phone.

    The reason Palm does is that the Palm OS and API is not the underlying OS on Palm’s devices. They use a dedicated realtime kernel called AMX, and PalmOS is really an application that runs on top of it. So no matter what your PalmOS application is, the phone function is largely invisible and untouchable to it. The relatively limited Palm API suddenly becomes an advantage.

    Back in 2000 I suggested to Microsoft’s Pocket PC developers that they do something similar with Pocket IE (an excellent application, what I personally considered the killer application for the Pocket PC) the hosting application, and with applets and a mini server providing the standard API for most tools. Oh, for things like movie and media players I can see writing to the Windows CE API, but most applications have much more modest response requirements and would work well as browser applets. Not anything like ActiveX applets, mind… they’d have full access to the API and you’d be right back where you started… but JScript applets and some kind of mini JScript server for programs that needed to retain more state.

    If the phone functions only had to make sure they stayed out of the way of Pocket IE, the system would be SO much more responsive and reliable. Oh well…

  3. Aaron says:

    I’ve never really been too convinced by the PDA/phone blur and still maintain a phone and PDA seperately (hey I have the pocket size :))

    My boss however is all-in-one device type guy and has been through smartphones from the first in Australia. Which is probably about 3-4 years ago maybe… I can’t remember.

    In that time he’s never had one that worked flawlessly and has lasted more than 12 months, he’s not a hardcore phone user either.

    Hopefully MS will pickup some good solid partners to develop phones because at least in AU they seem to be made by some really dodgy manufacturers (Motorola excepted – although their phone isn’t officially avaialble in AU – thanks ebay).

  4. Aye, I hear you…there still isn’t "perfect" mobile device yet…but its getting closer…

    Treo 650’s also aren’t without their problems either…on TreoCentral it looks like one of the first batches of the carrier phones (Sprint and Cingular) were a bit broken, and people have been getting them replaced with better results.

    Some new owners who have upgraded from the Treo 600 are reporting that when they sync the data from their old Treo onto their new one that applications and files that oreviously took up, say, 132k of space now take up 859k of space. Palm is now giving away a 128MB SD chip free for the asking to all Treo 650 owners. (http://www.treocentral.com/content/Stories/494-1.htm)

    Others are reporting(had similar problems) powerup problems with the 650 phone power up sequence where the phone repeatedly crashes during the powerup and the clock was left on a date back in 1982 which causes all pending alarms (system and application) to be killed. So programs that are trying to be nice about re-enabing themselves by setting alarms to wait for a period of time before they enable themselves after a reset will most likely not enable themselves because their alarms were dropped!

    Many people are reporting battery drain issues, which could be due to the looping problem found in the previous paragraph.

    I had a few test units to try here are some of the problems we found:

    Volume of ringing changes even though the setting stays the same in the Sound menu. Gets so loud on the softest "setting" that it’s unbelievable. When you go into the setting, pick some other volume, and then pick the 1 (softest) again, it reverts back to normal operation.

    This happens about 50% of the time with call waiting, when swapping to a second call, this ususally works OK, but when you swap back the person you were talking to can’t hear you (but you can hear them). If you push touch-tone buttons, they hear the tones, but they don’t hear me.

    Calls would drop for no reason even with great signal on both the phone and conversant’s, but the call just drops. This happens about 25% of the time. No problems with the same callers, same location with a Treo 600.

    We also had static problems with the phone when using some Bluetooth headsets, note most were with the Jabra 250, which also had problems on the SX66(which also has some minor problems-mostly Bluetooth related), but worked fine with other devices.

    This was over just 3 weeks of casual use with the units requiring soft resetting several times a week. The Treo 600 seems to be a more stable device. maybe the 650 will prove to be a better device if and when Palm uses their latest OS- Cobalt.

    Most new mobile devices aren’t perfect (early adopters usually become device guinnea pigs) and are rushed to market way too soon because of either due to contractual agreements or companies want to be first to market with the latest coolest gadget everyone has been hammering for due to the last leeked picture on the internet. Companies should take the time to release quality products or they will be loosing repeat customers on future technology.

    Experience with the Audiovox 4100PC was that it worked great as a phone, but failed to function well as a PDA, the battery life just stunk if you used the device as a PDA. It also could have used more buttons, but worked great with devices like Voice Command that had a hardware button on the wired headset. Nice size too.

    Experience with the HP H6315, great battery life of any PDA/Phone combo used. Downside is that the processor was too slow and the unit didn’t have enough memory(which may be the source of Palm’s problems as well- come one people does doubling the memory really add that much to the overall cost when compared to tech support calls?)

    Experience with Audiovox 6601/XV6600 (Sprint/Verizon) EVDO speeds are great!!! However faster speed has a tradeoff of short battery life. Otherwise the unit functions well with some minor problems with the bluetooth radio stack requiring soft resets, driver updates have been out solving most of the problems, but rumor has it new ones will be available soon after testing. Bluetooth tethering is a pain requiring an application on both the laptop/tablet and PPC Phone.

    Experience with PDA2K and Siemens SX66 (Cingular) same device as the Audiovox, but uses GSM(sorry not EDGE or UTMS capable) gets better battery life than the Audiovox line due to slower internet speeds. Also has similar tethering process, it should just work via bluetooth DUN…but I guess they have problems with the way the radioset is setup. Also has minor bluetooth problems, which have been slowly going away with incremental software upgrades. So far this is my daily machine…

    Each device has its strengths and tradeoffs, you just have to weight what is important to you at the time. It just seems it is a high cost to be on the bleeding edge of technology…hopefully companies will do more testing before releasing products. I remember one of our users in the trial stating this "smartphone needs to go back to school, I want my dumb flip phone back…"

    Devices should just work out of the box like the devices of yore…remember to check out your carriers return policy most are now 14 days and be sure to put your new device through its paces, if doesn’t work for you, return or swap is also an option…

    This is my 2 cents with 3 cents change…

  5. Great post,give a definite insight into how reality is and how advertising see’s it

  6. Joshua Allen says:

    I really appreciate your investigations, Omar; I feel like I’ve saved myself some potential trouble by waiting and watching.

  7. Unsanity.org says:

    Sigh, I’ve been pining for the Treo 650 since the GSM version of the phone was released. I’ve been wanting…

  8. pda2k user says:

    this applies to pda2k/XDA IIs/XDA III/MDA III/M2000/SX 66/ QTEK 9090 etc

    I have owned the pda2k for a few months now. its an amazing device, here is my short list of things i am extremely unhappy with even after installing the firmware fixes from imate, the bluetooth is a complete disappointment….and the placement of the mic, the voice FROM your device is horrible to the listener.

    There are other smaller issues but I can live with those, but for a 900 USD device its critical that a main feature such as Bluetooth worked as advertised by imate and then the phone call on this quad band phone is no where close to acceptable.

    SO i recommend that all general pda2k users email imate management and apply pressure on them to get their engineers to produce a fix before they rob a lot of customers. By the way, there is no official support from imate and they are TOO BUSY RELEASING OTHER PRODUCTS. Imate has promised all their registered memebrs on http://www.clubimate.com that the new release with ALL the fixes will be released in a few days, but this has been going on for months, few days has transltated into few months and I know pda2k and the series is not a priority for them anymore.

    You dont want to beleieve me? visit http://www.clubimate.com and try and register? what?? you can’t? because imate doesnt want potential customers to know the real issues that current owners are actually facing by only alllowing current owners to register and join their forums meanwhile they DO NOT HAVE ANY CUSTOMER SUPPORT ANSWERING ON THE FORUMS….that should be proof enough. visit http://www.pocketpcdubai.com and checkout the forums section for more info on this.

    Management:

    ahmad.aldulemi@carrierdevices.com ;

    shadi.zaytoon@carrierdevices.com ;

    ann.degnan@carrierdevices.com ;

    Employees:

    maria.merchak@carrierdevices.com ;

    anoop.nair@carrierdevices.com ;

    youssef.houry@carrierdevices.com ;

    feroz.abbas@carrierdevices.com ;

    claire.towlson@carrierdevices.com ;

    john.williamson@carrierdevices.com ;

    sunil.jassal@carrierdevices.com ;

    srushti.ghisad@carrierdevices.com ;

    sami.awad@imate.com ;

    mohammad.khalil@imate.com ;

    jim@imate.com ;

    raef@imate.com

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