WAPsight paid a visit to the Motorola booth at CeBit and spent some time checking out their new line of GPRS phones. We couldn't help but be impressed with the new Accompli 008 smartphone with its sleek styling and interesting set of features. This is an all-in-one, start-of-the-art handset, incorporating phone, large touch screen, handwriting recognition, full e-mail, synchronised PIM, and the ability to add new applications through J2ME technology.
Both Rich Foss, Motorola's executive responsible for global product marketing and Bob Schukai, Motorola's director of Accompli product marketing in Europe offered us a demonstration of this sleek new handset. Both mentioned that the Accompli was developed for the burgeoning Chinese market and is manufactured in that country. It was also the first handset with Chinese character recognition. As a result of the Chinese market experience as well as a great deal of consumer research, Motorola has developed some nice user interfaces for its European model.
Overall, the Accompli 008 makes a good first impression with its small size, features, displays, and availability of applications. It weighs in at 155 grams measuring 98x60x28 mm. The touch-screen display measures 54 x 40mm. It boasts a user-friendly graphical interface and pull-down menus accessible with a stylus. The WAP browser is version 1.1 from Phone.com. The security support includes WTLS class 2 and 3. GPRS functions use three timeslots for downlink and one slot for uplink resulting in data rates up to 40kbps.
When working through the features, the first level of icons includes addresses, SMS, recent calls, email, and browser. The second level includes note pad, date book, ink pad, tasks, voice notes, and alarm clock. The third level includes conversion, calculator, currency, world time, and games with the fourth level offering a composer, receiver IR, TrueSync, modem, java, and setup.
The composer is a small piano keyboard allowing the composing of a tune to be e-mailed, stored, or used as your handset ring tone. The java applications are downloadable via a data cable, infrared, or on the air (OTA). There is no special graffiti character set to learn with the Accompli. Just write away and if your character is not identified, a set of alternatives is displayed over the writing area for easy correction.
The demonstration included email functionality. The Accompli can be configured to connect to a Microsoft Enterprise email server using the IMAP protocol. With this connection it is then possible to view emails in your in-box and select ones for downloading. The Accompli also has a hotkey feature allowing a short-cut assignment of a frequently visited URL or frequently utilized function key to gain quick and easy access. It also synchronizes its PDA functions with Microsoft Outlook either over a wired connection or an OTA connection. The handset offers 90-145 hours of standby time and up to 160-270 minutes of talk time.
In discussing what Motorola has on the horizon, Rich Foss mentioned that Motorola is very interested in encouraging independent development of new handset applications and has promoted an application initiative involving five development centers. They hope to eventually expand these centers to 15 worldwide.
Motorola also has been sponsoring development conferences focusing on J2ME with the first being held in California followed by one in London. He reports demand for these conferences has them turning people away at the door. Motorola offers a developer toolkit downloadable from their site for a 30-day trial.
The Accompli 008 is a dual-band handset expected to make its debut in the European market in June with plans for a US version to follow later this year.