Verizon XV6700

Rich Tehrani : Communications and Technology Blog -
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Verizon XV6700

Until recently I carried a Blackberry 7750 and a bluetooth phone. I am a Verizon Wireless user and no other network has been as good in my past experience. Both my devices reside on this network. Perhaps the new Cingular has a better network but for now I am sticking with Verizon.

Recently my phone died and I went to the Verizon store looking for a new one. Why not just use a single device -- the 7750? It doesn't support bluetooth and if I want a Blackberry that does I need to sacrifice screen size and also the slimness of the 7750.

Furthermore I don't want to carry my Blackberry on the weekend. I feel stupid. Sure I work on the weekend but perhaps there is a fashion problem I have with having it connected to my belt in the mall on Sunday with the kids.

I know that this year will see a number of "Blackberry killers." These new devices are supposed to be better than Blackberries in a number of ways. They are also supposed to look better.

I was planning on buying another small phone for now and get a single integrated device later this year. Perhaps from Motorola I surmised.

Surprisingly I was blown away by a device Verizon had in is store. The Verizon XV6700 which is made by UT Starcom who purchased Audiovox.

This Windows mobile based device has a keyboard that slides out and does almost everything the Blackberry does. It also has a mini SD card slot that can currently hold up to 2 gigabytes of storage.

I purchased this phone and am trying to wean myself off the Blackberry.

Since I picked up the XV6700 it seems everyone else has one of these devices as well. I just ran into Andy Abramson who has one but on Sprint's network.

So far my office is having trouble getting it to sync with Exchange and I am not sure if this is an anomaly or normal. Surprisingly Verizon tech support has no way to help you with this problem. I was able to get e-mail via IMAP4 but I can't sync contacts or appointments.

Verizon has synching software on the device itself but it requires you to close the e-mail client on the device and manually send your messages -- or your alternative is to have sends and received be automated no more often than at 20 minute intervals.

The device is far from perfect and freezes from time to time and has to be rebooted daily. It is also a battery hog.

Still, I am hooked. The additional memory allows me to download massive amounts of e-mail with local attachments. Furthermore I am able to view presentations on Pocket PowerPoint. This has already been very handy when practicing for a speech in the back of the room at a conference this week in Atlanta.

In short this device is the blackberry killer.

I need to be sure and express the following point though. My Blackberry is old and still does things this device doesn't. Like give me instantaneous e-mail while sipping the battery. I still keep the 7750 on my waist because I am not sure the XV6700 can do everything I need it to. I spent $50 to buy a second battery to keep this device going for a full day.

In the end, the XV6700 is the device that is as close to perfect as it gets. It also works on WiFi networks but I am concerned it may not support WEP.

But here is the interesting side of the coin. This is becoming a cult device. Not unlike the iPod. The problem is that it has no brand. Sprint calls theirs something else and it is likely being sold by other providers as well. This device should have been called the Mobile office or something as catchy. This is perhaps the breakout device of Q1 and it is in stealth mode. I found it by accident.

It needs to be totally rebranded and consistently marketed by all service providers I am 100% certain this should happen as I already see others lusting after this device.

UT Starcom has a hit on its hands and it won't benefit from the branding opportunity it has in the Verizon XV6700.

I hope the service providers catch on and work with UT Starcom to turn this device into the iPod of the mobile warrior space.

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