Nextel i85s

By Deborah Cusa

The newly released Nextel i85s includes Sun Microsystem’s Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME) software. The Java environment offers developers to create customized applications for all industries – all available from a phone. As new applications are developed, users will be able to download them to their phones from the Web site. Applications actually reside on the phone and are not network dependent. The phone we reviewed came with version 1.0 of the software and included an expense pad (for storing travel expenses), a calculator, and a Sega game.

Similar to PDAs and other all-in-one models, the i85s can connect to company networks through the Nextel Mobile Office E-mail service, offering workers access to their office e-mail, phone lists, and calendars from their phones. Employers can, using the MyView feature, custom tailor which sites employees can visit and the information to which individual workers have access on individual phones. By the time of publication, the software will be upgraded to a more secure platform (including SSL) that Nextel hopes will encourage more business owners to give workers access to their networks from the phones.

The i85s works solely on Nextel’s propriety iDEN network designed in collaboration with Motorola. As with our past experiences using the iDEN network, service was again strong, consistent, and clear. Nextel phones have pushed the envelope for some time now with their three-in-one communications tool model. The 4.8-ounce i85s doesn’t abandon this proven-successful format. It is a digital cell phone that functions just as well as any other in its class. It is also a modern day walkie-talkie. Using Nextel’s Direct Connect feature, workers can communicate one to one or in group-settings – without using any talk time minutes. Text and numeric paging is also available from the handset. The i85s is also a Web phone offering wireless access from the handset.

This line of Nextel models is for busy professionals who need to stay in touch all day, in all locations. Nextel is shooting for a complete all-in-one device. The Nextel solution to the wireless communications conundrum may just be a better bet than what the Palm OS and PocketPC platforms have yet to offer.

Nextel i85s

Rating: 95

Manufacturer: Nextel Communications Inc.;

Price: $199

Configuration: Battery time: 75 hours standby time, 3 hours of talk time; supports WAP (wireless application protocol) in addition to new Java technology; PIM (phone and date books); voice recorder (memos/notes); voice-activated dialing; speakerphone; one-year limited hardware warranty

Pros: Easy to use and navigate through features; great user’s guide

Cons: Problem with battery

Small Business Computing Staff
Small Business Computing Staff
Small Business Computing addresses the technology needs of small businesses, which are defined as businesses with fewer than 500 employees and/or less than $7 million in annual sales.
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