I showed restraint and passed up the HTC Universal

I am usually one of the first to go out and buy the latest and greatest mobile device, even at a high premium. I bought my MDA III last year for $850 the day it was released and it even had a QWERTZ keyboard. I have developed some patience lately though and held off picking up the HTC Universal (i-mate JASJAR). One main reason is that I was able to play with an earlier model at our user group meeting and was unimpressed with the flat keyboard design and size. Yes, it does have a VGA screen, integrated WiFi and Bluetooth, and is a GSM phone. However, it doesn’t have EDGE, has limited memory capacity, and costs over $1,000.

I just read that David Weiniger sent Dave Evans (the guy I bought my first Phone Edition device from a couple years ago) one to review. You can check out his thoughts here on the device. I was really surprised to see only 43.72MB of ROM available for storage and only around 30MB of RAM available for running applications (Program). I thought the Wizard came with 128MB ROM, but Dave’s screenshot looks like it only has 64MB with 44MB available. Windows Mobile 5.0 no longer provides a storage/program slider to help you manage the onboard RAM since all RAM is dedicated to running programs (Program) similar to a desktop computer and RAM. ROM or SD/CF cards are where all your applications will be installed and developers have to do a bit of code updating to get this working correctly. So the fact that the Universal only has about 44MB of ROM available isn’t that big of a deal, but the 30MB of RAM does concern me a bit because I run a lot of programs on my device and worry that this may get filled up as applications get larger and more complex. I find it strange that Windows Mobile takes up 34MB of the RAM on the device and would like to see a breakdown of where all that memory is allocated.

Now that T-Mobile has EDGE out in many places, including a new tower in my neighborhood that gives me all bars and EDGE on my Treo 650, EDGE is one of my new device requirements. I understand the Universal has UMTS, but that is only the fast network in Europe that we may not see in the US for some time, if at all.

I believe the HTC Wizard does have EDGE and is priced about $400 less than the Universal so I am planning on reviewing that for Geek.com and will definitely post my thoughts here too. David Weiniger is tracking their availability and hopefully we see something next week from his supplier.

In the meantime, I am loving my Treo 650 and just reloaded ChatterEmail yesterday to try push email again. I am seeing the occasional reset caused directly by Chatter when I perform certain things and it may not last long on my device until the next version is released.

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  1. #1 by Antoine on September 15, 2005 - 11:43

    Wow and interesting. I dont see the universal as great as others. I guess that’s because I dont want a pocket computer in the sense of the Universal, but more in the mold of a Treo.

    I think most users are like that, but use the full ut desktops and notebooks because of screens and accessiblity.

  2. #2 by Mike on September 15, 2005 - 14:17

    Interesting device and I would LOVE to have vga for e-books, but whoaaaaa is that thing a brick!

    One of my favorite aspects of the treo is its relatively small size. I think Palm would take good lessons from Apple if they concentrate on making the device smaller instead of cramming more features (though always welcomed).

    I mean if you are using it for personal use. If you are a UPS driver and are just using the device from 9 to 5, I don’t think you care. Anyway, I think you made a good call (pardon the pun).

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