Posts Tagged ‘Verizon Wireless’

Email IT Infrastructure BlackBerry to Droid Part 1

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

For the past couple of weeks I have been working with a client from Ohio on upgrading parts of their IT infrastructure.  Specifically we are upgrading their email capabilities and mobile platform.

The company is a small manufacturing business which produces commercial products for the building industry.  They have been in business for since 1955.  Currently they are using POP accounts for email and a combination of BlackBerry’s and iPads for mobile devices.

To help them with email their email will be migrated to a solution which combines Microsoft Exchange and our Business Class email.  The reason for the hybrid system is to keep costs down and provide maximum efficiencies for the management team.  Those with the need get Exchange while staff with minimum requirements will use Business Class email.

In order to ensure everything flows smoothly and minimize downtime, the device migration will start with the CEO.  He has been using a BlackBerry for many years and their account is with AT&T.  Our suggestion is to move to Verizon Wireless, and this past weekend I met the CEO at the Verizon Wireless store in Clifton Park New York.  The representative James Preece was extremely knowledgeable, and great to work with.

As the CEO relies on his mobile device for email very heavily, my suggestion was to move to a Motorola Droid 4.  I believe having a physical keyboard is a big asset for typing.  The software we will use is Touchdown, which is an Exchange Client.  Touchdown is a power tool for business users and offers a great array of customization options.

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It’s Time For a New Smartphone, But You’re on State Contract

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Late last week I had a conversation with one of our clients regarding upgrading their smartphones.  As they are on state contract, their options aren’t as broad as those who pay full price for new devices.  Entities which can take advantage of the New York State Contract, are limited to getting phones which are technically one year old.  While they are new phones, they are not the latest model of smartphones.

Currently the smartphones which are in use at our client’s are BlackBerrys.  While they have served them well for the past year, I have recommended they move to the Android platform.  BlackBerrys have been for the most part very reliable.  However the advantage they once held with push technology is now gone as Microsoft’s Sync has caught up.  Add to that the unlimited texting option offered by Verizon Wireless and that takes away any advantage the BlackBerry Messenger had.

While there are plenty of apps for the BlackBerry and companies continue to write for them; there is no denying the popularity of the Android operating system and its proliferation in the marketplace.  Also a business or organization does not need to use a BlackBerry Internet Server and the associated licensing to get push email, calendars, contacts, etc.

The options available to our client are the Motorola Droid 2 and the Motorola Pro.  Both are good choices for business use; the Droid 2 offering a larger screen with a slide-out keyboard in landscape mode; and the Droid Pro more the style of typical BlackBerry.  While many people are able to type quickly using a virtual keyboard, in my opinion most people find it easier to use a physical keyboard for lengthy emails, notes, documents, etc.  Plus if you use a lot of complex passwords, a physical keyboard is tough to beat.

This article was written by The Boss of HITman Services, a computer and IT company, based in Clifton Park and serving the Albany, Troy, Schenectady and Saratoga Counties of New York.

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Dataviz RoadSync Superb – DataViz Support MIA

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

A while back I wrote about how I used the DataViz RoadSync to synchronize email, contacts, calendar entries and tasks from our hosted Microsoft Exchange server to my Android smartphone.

It was a big improvement over Touchdown and I suggested to some of my technicians that they may want to use RoadSync and one of the guys installed the trial version a couple of weeks ago.  As it is expiring today, he attempted to purchase a full copy of RoadSync, but received a message indicating RoadSync is not compatible with his phone.

Talk about a glitch!  He was running the trial version for two weeks, we share the same model phone, the Samsung Fascinate from the same carrier, Verizon Wireless and it is not compatible?

As Dataviz no longer accepts phone calls, I had to use their email form.  Talk about horrible support and customer service!  When I went to submit the information, their site crashed.

What is it about some software companies that they are afraid to talk to their customers?  Part of our purchasing policy is to make sure any company we do business with has people we can talk with in the event of an issue.  In the case of Dataviz, they did have a phone number but changed their policy and no longer have their phone answered by a person.  Now unless you know a person’s name who works there, there is no getting through.

When I attempted to contact them via the RoadSync installed on my Fascinate, the program froze.  So as of now, this is no longer on our list of recommended software.

This article was written by The Boss of HITman Services, a computer and IT company serving the Albany, Troy, Schenectady and Saratoga Counties of New York.

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Fascinated for a Week Part 1

Friday, October 8th, 2010

For my summer retreat this year I was considering going minimalistic, sans notebook computer.  As I was going to be away for eight days, it was important the device I would bring was up to the task.  My smartphone days go back to when Palm dominated the industry, so I have a fair amount of experience when it comes to PDA’s and smartphones.

A couple of weeks before going I had concerns that the smartphone I was using at the time, a Samsung Omnia II, wouldn’t be sufficient if indeed I did not travel with a notebook.  Thus my search for a new PDA started.  As Mr. T (aka Mike) was also looking for a new phone, we hit the Verizon Wireless store together after lunch at Panera Bread in Clifton Park.

We focused on four phones, the HTC Incredible, the Samsung Fascinate, the Motorola Droid 2, and Motorola Droid X. We didn’t look at the BlackBerry Tour, Storm 2 or Palm Pre as I previously had those and Mr. T had a Storm.

While I like physical keyboards, I wasn’t thrilled with the one on the Droid 2, also when comparing the screen size to the Fascinate and Droid X, it was lacking.  Mr. T was of the same opinion.  The speed on the incredible was impressive, as was Swype, though with the smaller 3.7″ screen, it was at a disadvantage.

That left Motorola’s Droid X to battle it out with the Samsung Fascinate. Both Mr. T and I thought the display on the Fascinate was superior.  We were also a little concerned that the Droid X was just a tad too large. The fact that the Fascinate had Swype was icing on the cake.  Each of us decided that was the phone to get.

Stay tuned for part 2.

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Microsoft Windows Mobile Devices – Samsung Omnia II

Friday, July 16th, 2010

The latest Windows Mobile device tested on Verizon Wireless, is the Samsung Omnia II, running Windows Professional 6.5.3.

The Samsung Omnia II uses an AMOLED display.  AMOLED stands for Active-matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode.  A benefit to using an AMOLED display is that the screen can be seen without having the backlight on.  This saves quite a bit of battery life for other functions.  The backlight does need to be turned on in order to see the screen in bright sunlight.  The display size is 3.7″ with a resolution of 800 x 480.  Images, photos and videos are all very clear and vivid.

The Omnia II measures 4.75″ high by 2.38″ wide and .53″ deep, and weighs 5.08 ounces with the standard battery installed.

Input is done via a resistive touch screen.  While many resistive displays do not work very well, the one used in the Samsung Omnia II is exceptional.  The options include landscape and portrait qwerty keyboards and swipe.  Swipe is an extremely fast method of entering text.  It can be done via a finger or the built-in stylus.  Getting use to swipe is easy.

Call quality with the Omnia II is very good regardless of the number of bars displayed.  Bluetooth integration works well.  One consistent hiccup has been the first time a call is attempted via Bluetooth, it is lost.  Once the second attempt is make all further connections work flawlessly.  The Omnia II features a proximity sensor which turns the display off as it nears the face.  Sound level is decent for hands free, speaker and headset.  The Airplane mode is quick to activate.

Based upon recent calls made, the estimated batter life with consistent phone use is about 240 minutes.  A nice feature of the Omnia II is the ability to swap in spare batteries when recharging is not an option.

Key for our business use is integration with Microsoft Exchange Server and here the Omnia II performs extremely well.  Calendar entries, tasks, email and contacts are all synchronized wirelessly.  Connecting the device to a notebook with Microsoft OneNote also allows synchronization of OneNote files, once configured.

Browsing on the Omnia II using either Microsoft Internet Explorer or Opera Mobile is just fair.  The speed is good but the viewing experience is not the greatest.

Overall, the Omnia II by Samsung is a very good smartphone for people who need integration with Microsoft Exchange and are looking for an alternative to a BlackBerry.

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Microsoft Windows Mobile Devices – LG Fathom

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

The second Microsoft Windows Mobile phone I tested was the Fathom by LG.  This is powered by Windows Mobile Professional 6.5.3 and has a slide-out keyboard.

The Fathom lacks Verizon’s V Cast Mobile TV of the HTC Imagio but does have access to Verizon’s VZ Navigator.

The qwerty style slide-out keyboard works well.  One design flaw is the keyboard requires pressing a function key in order to get a period.  This is a major oversight in my opinion.  LG does include a stylus for input, but it is too short to be of much use.

The LG Fathom uses a resistive display , which does not work very well.  When scrolling, programs start to run because the display interprets the users intent incorrectly.  A benefit of a resistive screen is that they do allow for use of a stylus.

The size of the Fathom is pretty good and it has a nice display.  The display size is 3.2″ with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels.

Call quality was good. We tested the Fathom throughout the Clifton Park area up to Saratoga Springs and down to Latham.  We experienced no dropped calls during the test.

The LG Fathom also has a proximity sensor which locks the screen when the phone is near your face.  Likewise, Bluetooth connections were good in the different vehicles we tested it in.

During the short time of our test, we found battery use to be below what we expected.  But since the battery is removable it is possible to carry a spare.

Overall the poor screen sensitivity made the LG Fathom not a good choice.

Microsoft Windows Mobile Devices – HTC Imagio Real-World Review

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

During the past several months I have been testing Verizon Wireless’ smartphone offerings for Windows Mobile phones.  The units tested have all had version 6.5 of the Windows Mobile operating system installed.

The first smartphone I tested was the HTC Imagio.  This phone had the additional feature of being able to view TV broadcasts such as Fox News, although at an additional cost of $15.00 per month.  The video quality is very good.

The HTC Imagio offers options for either Microsoft Sync or Microsoft Windows Mobile Device Center in that the user is able to select the time period for look back of calendar entries.  For those who have been using smartphones or PDAs for a while, this is a very nice feature.

Syncing with Microsoft Exchange or Microsoft Outlook works very well as one would expect from a Windows device.

The device has sufficient memory to hold close to 20,000 calendar entries along with a couple thousand contacts, hundreds of notes and over a thousand tasks.

The main issue with this phone is the display sensitivity is very poor.  It is too easy for applications to run while simply trying to scroll through the options.

As a business class device, this is definitely not my first choice.

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On The Road With The BlackBerry Storm 2

Friday, April 9th, 2010

During the past week I had the opportunity to take a couple of out of town trips and decided to use my BlackBerry Storm 2 for my GPS.

In preparation I ordered an Amzer Gooseneck vehicle mount.  The suction cup on this bracket is extremely strong and placing the Storm in it easy and is held very securely.  Attachment of the power cord is also convenient.

There are several areas within the Town of Clifton Park, New York which have very poor cellular reception.  Even in portions of the Town which are weak, the Garmin never lost reception.

Over the past years I tested GPS software from Verizon Wireless, Telenav and Garmin.  There are pros and cons to each.  The system I settled on is the Garmin for BlackBerry.  While it may not have some features of the VZ Navigator or Telenav, there is a one-time cost of about $90.00 vs. $10.00 per month for the others.  The Garmin has been precise and has acquired a satellite signal 100% of the time.  Additionally, the directions have been accurate, something I can’t say for the VZ Navigator.

My vehicle is equipped with Sync, which works exceptionally well.  While making and receiving calls changes the screen from navigation to phone, it is easy to get the navigation screen on, while still talking on the phone.  The only time an incoming call created an issue, was when the unit had been on for over an hour with no input.  When the system reverted back to the navigation screen after the call was completed, the phone went into lock mode as that is the default I have setup.  If the call had not come in, the navigation would have continued to work even without any input to the screen.

For those seeking a one device solution while traveling, the BlackBerry Storm 2 with Garmin software loaded is an effective solution.

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