March 23, 2006



October 2004

A New Voq-ation

First impressions are important. Very important. Especially in business settings. Shake someone’s hand the wrong way upon meeting them and you might have just doomed any chance you had at making a sale. Many experts agree that people can win or lose deals within the first 60 seconds simply because of the impression they create. The folks at Sierra Wireless, though, have nothing to worry about, because the Voq phone makes a great first impression.
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By Eric M. Zeman

Opening the box for the Voq phone provoked feelings of stepping into a science-fiction movie. The shape and coloration of the phone evoke the appeal of a futuristic sports car, with sleek lines and bulges that are reminiscent of wheel wells. The black and silver color scheme lends an air of authority to the phone, solidifying its professional moniker. Most users will note that it’s longer and wider (5.24 by 2.1 inches) than today’s typical phones, perhaps making it bulkier than some might like. Even so, it fit into the pockets of my jeans and my suit jacket with no problem.

I wasn’t the only one to have a positive first impression of the Voq. It elicited ohs and ahs from my fellow commuters when I pulled it out to make a quick phone call before my bus left the Port Authority.

As for the functionality of the device, the Voq phone is first and foremost a cell phone. Built around Microsoft Windows Mobile OS and available with service from AT&T’s GSM/GPRS network, I found the phone features easy to access and use, and calls were clear and static-free. The joystick under the 2.1-inch, 176 x 220-pixel screen lets users navigate the display and make selections efficiently with one hand. I also managed to make a call with the Voq’s speakerphone and conference in a colleague.

To take advantage of the smartphone capabilities, I loaded the included software on my laptop and before long downloaded my entire contacts database, calendar and tasks information to the Voq phone via the USB connection. I was also able to send selected files to the phone’s 20 MB of user memory for viewing and modification. The 200Mhz Intel Xscale processor made working with files a snap.

Sierra knew that mobile professionals would accept nothing less than an all-inclusive e-mail, messaging and voice-capable device. To whit, they devised the phone’s coolest feature, a flip-open qwerty keyboard. The keyboard makes text entry of any sort a breeze. Composing e-mails and SMS or MMS messages was easy, simple and far quicker than using the standard method of text entry on cell phones. Users can also set up Sierra’s VoqMail Professional E-mail, which is always-there wireless access to Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Notes and other IMAP4 mail from the Voq phone.

The Voq has an SD slot on the side, which lets users store files or, as in my case, some MP3s. Using Microsoft’s Media Player, I was able to listen to The Who’s “Tommy” through the stereo headphone jack and surf the Internet at the same time. Using a combination of the joystick and the keyboard, navigating the ’net is easy and the various menus allow users to configure the way Web sites are viewed.

AT&T’s speedy GRPS connection came in handy this past weekend. I was attending a friend’s wedding and was able to quickly and discreetly check the scores of a few college football games without drawing any attention to myself. Later, I was able to check the weather report for my 300-mile drive home.

Lastly, the 1100mAH lithium polymer battery provides approximately six hours of talk time, 100 hours of standby time and 10 hours of media playback time—more than enough for a guy like me…er…mobile professional to get his job done.
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