I have a Sprint PCS PPC-6700 Windows Mobile 5 PDA/Phone. The battery life on it is decent, considering all that it does, but I still dislike it.

Here’s why: it’s a terrible consumer device. It’s great for geeks like me who understand software is buggy and difficult to write, but I couldn’t imagine any of my end users dealing with this thing. Examples:

The phone is ok, but the Bluetooth radio randomly shuts off on me. The worst is in the middle of a conversation, my headset will go silent. And it’s ONLY ever in the car. So there you are, driving down the street, and having to fumble for a soft-button to turn on the speakerphone. Many MANY people will mention something or other about software upgrades required, and believe me, I have them. I had them before Sprint support knew what I was talking about. I’m still 100% up to date, according to Starcom’s site. No, I’m not going to run a 3rd party update to a business tool, like I would my own personal phone.

The device requires a reset every 3 days. I have 2 pieces of add-on software, and I’ve actually REMOVED 8 installs from Sprint (from the hidden ROM, so they don’t come back during a hard-reset). I installed Google Maps, because it’s fantastically worthwhile, and “TCPMP” for media playing (Windows Media Player doesn’t play Cisco UNITY voicemails sent to email). Out of the box, it required a reboot every 1-2 days. After 3 days of no reboots, ExchangeActiveSync stops reliably retrieving email. The touchscreen becomes wildly out of sync (I can’t hit the scrollbar anymore, usually). Phone calls actually hang up in the middle of conversations. And the phone finally won’t respond to any buttons or screentaps, save for the “power” button.

It Phantom-Dials. I’ll read an email, put the phone back in its holder, and walk down the hall. 45 seconds later, one of the recipients of the email will call me back asking me what I called them for. Best I can figure, is that the joystick is getting depressed, scrolling up, getting depressed again (on a recipient of the email), and the call button is getting hit. In the holder designed for the device, on my hip. I’ve been wearing cell phones on my hip for work since I was 19 – don’t tell me I’m hitting it with my elbow. Having to lock your phone in your pocket is understandable. But in it’s designed holster?

So, what DO I like about the phone?

I don’t have to open my laptop at home to watch email every night, in case something breaks. Exchange ActiveSync DirectPush in conjunction with SMS for alerts is fantastic. I turn on the sounds for text messages, but not email, and if it’s an actual issue, I get the alert, hear it, and respond. But if it’s a co-worker sending out a “I finished doing this overnight work.” email, I don’t get woken up. Better response time for the business, more sleep for me.

Charges from USB on my laptop. On the road, this has been a life-saver.

Can install all sorts of neat software. Games, document readers, etc. Adobe Acrobat for PPC and Microsoft Reader, combined, give me hours of reading material. Especially manuals for things I have to do the next day.

Pocket IE: www.weather.com, www.opentable.com, www.google.com (which has a great mobile device reformatter). I took just my phone to New York City for a 3 day weekend, and was able to book every dinner, find directions, and verify that Ferries were open on the days I wanted to go places.

Google Maps. I use this to check the traffic of my drive on my way to the car in the parking lot, so I can decide which way to drive home. Add accurate directions that I can pull from my contact list… wow.

Now I just have to figure out RAPIP, so I can plug it into my Ubuntu Feisty laptop and sync THROUGH the GNU/Linux OS, rather than just through WinXP.