Alien smartphone lands in Netherlands
Voq comes in peace bearing radical software
The Voq isn't quite the largest smartphone around, but with its flip-open full qwerty thumpad, it must be closet to being the weirdest. And it's now shipping, for €99, through Dutch operator KPN as a "professional phone".
This beast isn't just another Microsoft "Windows Mobile" device. Sierra Wireless, which designed the hardware, is a business specialist, not a phone maker - it is best known for its GSM wireless data cards for notebook users. The fact that it's not from any of the big phone companies, is apparent from several details of the phone.
There's no Bluetooth, for example - almost certainly a bad mistake in European markets where hands-free driving is now legally compulsory. And there's no camera, which is almost certainly a good move in many office environments.
But what makes it unique (apart from its funny keyboard) is the software which Sierra Wireless has built into it.
One feature of the MS Windows Mobile platform which is a real "killer app" is the way it looks up data in its Pocket Outlook database. It uses predictive text from the keyboard, and starts searching while you're typing, until a hit is made.
Voq takes this approach to a new level with myVoq software. Not just the personal information manager, or PIM, but all its software works that way. It goes beyond what's on the phone: it links into the corporate database too, and starts searching over GPRS if the data isn't available locally. Searches can be set up by the corporate MIS staff so that the user doesn't have to formulate them.
It also includes out-of-the-box personal and corporate email.
According to Derek Evans, Vice President and Managing Director in the EMEA area for Sierra Wireless: "Enterprises worldwide are looking to mobilize their workforces, but often cannot find a mobile device with the right combination of usability, data security and portability. The Voq Professional Phone is built to keep mobile workers fully connected and in touch, and we’re delighted that KPN is now delivering the phone."
KPN chipped in on the announcement: "Our customers look to us to provide innovative, robust solutions to their mobile communications needs," said Brian Stout, Director Business Line Business market, for KPN, stoutly. So now you know.
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