i-mate JAM

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INTRODUCTION

Back in the 20th Century
I never owned a mobile phone because they didn’t
really do all the things I wanted them to do. I
wanted maps, personal information synchronizing,
email, internet, music, movies… THE WORKS!


With the i-mate JAM Pocket
PC Phone, I’ve got what I was looking for and it‘s
just as small as a regular mobile phone. The just-released
i-mate JAM is an i-mate branded version of HTC’s
Magician Pocket PC Phone. Normally, a number of
different carriers license and rebrand HTC’s phone
designs for their own retail sales. The HTC Magician
is also available as the Q-tek S100, T-Mobile MDA
Compact, O2 XDA II Mini, and Dopod 818. All of
these devices are the same hardware-wise, but may
differ in the applications preloaded into the device
ROM.

 

WHAT’S HOT

The i-mate JAM is the smallest
Pocket PC Phone to hit the market. It’s also the
smallest Pocket PC for that matter. It’s the first
with a 2.8″ screen, but retains all the power
of a full-sized Pocket PC.

Take
a look at the table below to see some comparisons
on the size of the imate JAM. The JAM is smaller
than any other Pocket PC, however it’s still a
bit bigger than the Audiovox SMT 5600 Windows Mobile
Smartphone. That’s not a bad thing though since
the JAM is jam-packed with power. I think that’s
how it got it’s name.

Device
(no cover)
Size
(inches)
Weight
(grams | ounces)
i-mate
JAM
4.1875″ x
2.3125″ x 0.6875″
150
| 5.3
i-mate
PE2003
5.12″ x
2.39″ x 0.72″
190
| 6.69
Audiovox
SMT5600
4.3″ x
1.8″ x 0.6″
100
| 3.50
HP
iPAQ h6315
4.68″ x
2.95″ x 0.73″
190
| 6.70
HP
iPAQ rz1715
4.48″ x
2.75″ x 0.53″
120
| 4.23
HP
iPAQ 2215
4.57″ x
2.95″ x 0.63″
142
| 5.01
HP
iPAQ 1910
4.46″ x
2.75″ x 0.50″
120
| 4.23
HP
iPAQ 5450
5.43″ x
3.30″ x 0.63″
206
| 7.26
Dell
Axim X3i/X30
4.60″ x
3.21″ x 0.58″
138
| 4.80
Dell
Axim X5
5.00″ x
3.20″ x 0.71″
196
| 6.90
Toshiba
e740
4.90″ x
3.10″ x 0.60″
190
| 6.70
Toshiba
e310
4.90″ x
3.10″ x 0.40″
138
| 4.90

 

WHAT’S IN
THE BOX

The top part of the box includes
documentation, a vinyl belt clip case, and an ActiveSync/Outlook
2002 CD.

Underneath
is a carton containing the i-mate JAM, European
AC adapter, mini USB sync cable, stereo headset,
battery and one extra stylus. Since Expansys
knew they were shipping this one to the USA,
they also included an adapter for the American
power outlets, but frankly I don’t even use that.
It’s easier to just plug the sync cable into
your computer, or car USB adapter, or AC USB
adapter.

 

PRODUCT
FEATURES

The i-mate JAM includes
a 416Mhz Intel PXA272 processor, 64Mb ROM, 64Mb
RAM, 1.3 Megapixel camera, 24 bit color, 900/1800/1900Mhz
GSM/GPRS, and Bluetooth 1.2. A version that includes
800/1800/1900Mhz GSM should be available in 2005.
It also includes a 1200 mAh removable battery,
mini-USB sync port, and Windows Mobile 2003 Second
Edition with Windows Media Player 10.

Less
than three years ago the most powerful integrated
Pocket PC mobile phone consisted of a Compaq
iPaq and the GSM/GPRS
Expansion pack
seen on the left. Then in
2003 the first Pocket
PC Phone
with Bluetooth headset support was
released (HTC Himalaya – center). Another year
later, and now we have the HTC Magician; smallest
Pocket PC Phone yet.

The
i-mate JAM makes the HTC Himalaya Pocket PC Phone
feel like a brick.

Everyone
else on New York’s Metro North train has an iPod
in one hand and a cell phone in the other. One
device smaller than either is definitely the
way to go.

An
Apple iPod is only slightly wider than the i-mate
JAM.

Above
is a straight photo in low-light that compares
the screen size of the JAM to the 3.5″ screen
of the i-mate Pocket PC Phone 2003. The hand-made
screen protector I put on the JAM seems to be
doing weird things to the screen’s appearance.
Hopefully some one will release better screen
protectors for this size soon. As you can see,
the 2.8″ screen of the JAM is still perfectly
usable. I was afraid it would be too small, but
in use, it’s really quite nice.

On
the back of the JAM you see a rubber covered
hole for an external antenna, a self-portrait
reflection mirror, and the lens for the 1.3 megapixel
camera. Next to the mirror is also a slit for
the external loud speaker. I’m not sure why they
needed a speaker on the front for the phone as
well as a speaker on the back for other audio.
Personally, the inside of my hand doesn’t hear
very well and muffles the rear speaker. Usually
the front of the PDA is what’s facing towards
me.

At
the top of the JAM is a slot for an SDIO card,
as well as a loop hole for a wrist strap.

The
right side only includes a power button at the
top (just next to the stylus slot, and the infrared
port at the bottom. The infrared port is so integrated
with the black casing it’s very hard to see.

The
other side holds a volume slider along with two
customizable hardware buttons labeled with camera
and notes icons.

On
the bottom of the JAM, you see a microphone hole,
mini-USB port, audio jack, and soft reset hole.

Here’s
the JAM in the included belt-clip case. I don’t
think I’ll be using this. The JAM feels much
safer in my pocket.

The
i-mate JAM with the smallest Bluetooth headset.
The JAM makes my Bluespoon AX look very big.

The
JAM works beautifully with my Bluetooth GPS receiver
and car stereo audio adapter from Pocket PC Techs.
The audio adapter actually works better than
it did with the XDA II, since there’s no rubber
flap getting in the way.

 

Windows

Media
Player 10

 

The
i-mate JAM is the first Pocket PC Phone to
come with Windows Media Player 10 for Windows
Mobile. This gives you some excellent new features
that tightly integrate with the desktop version
of Windows Media Player 10 as well as Windows
XP Media Center 2005. It makes your Pocket
PC function like a full blown Portable Media
Center (minus the multi-gigabyte hard drive).

I
love the way the new Media Player interface shows
the album art for each song.

In
Media Center 2005, you can use your remote control
to set up automatic synchronization of your music,
videos, and recorded TV shows.

Media
Center automatically synchronizes your content
whenever you connect your Pocket PC to ActiveSync.
If you specified Recorded TV content to be synced,
Media Center will convert the TV recording to
a more appropriate size for the smaller screen.
An excellent feature in this system is that the
conversion will occur behind the scenes after
the program is recorded, that way the copying
to the device is much much faster. On the lowest
quality setting, Media Center can compress an
hour long TV show to about 40Mb. One problem
is that Media Center 2005 and Media Player 10
cannot sync through a bluetooth based ActiveSync
connection, so you’ll have to connect using the
USB port.

The
playlists you selected to synchronize automatically
appear in the Pocket PC’s Media Library. Finally!

Phone

HTC
has added some new software to Microsoft’s regular
Phone application. The Phone program on the JAM
has an added feature that automatically matches
numeric entry with contact names in your Contacts
listing. This makes it very easy to dial a contact
one-handed using standard T9 style text entry.
I only wish they had designed it to be a bit
more attractive. The beveled gray borders, yellow
highlights and aquamarine backgrounds all clash
with the normal Pocket PC Phone application interface.

Caller
ID

Since
HTC bought out IA Software, they have been integrating
and improving their software for Pocket PCs.
The latest version of Caller ID is included in
the JAM’s ROM and adds some welcome features.
For example you can now assign specific ring
tones to each contact or a group of contacts.

Caller
ID supports a variety of ringtone file types
including WMA, WMV, WM, ASF, MP3, WAV, 3GP, MID,
and MP4. However, the JAM may not be able
to handle playing multimedia files as ringtones
when they’re on a storage card. You best bet
is to make small ringtone files and keep them
in main memory.

When
a call comes in the photo appears in a bubble.
The photo will not appear when you’re making
a call from the contacts app though.

Photo
Dialer view lets you scroll through all your
contacts who have photos assigned and quickly
tap their picture to make a phone call.

Messaging

The
i-mate JAM includes the general Pocket PC Inbox
application which has been renamed to “Messaging”. It
supports IMAP/POP3 email, Exchange Server syncing,
ActiveSync email sync, and… with the support
of an add-on from Arcsoft… Multimedia messages
(MMS). One would hope that Windows Mobile 2003
Second Edition would fix some of the bugs that
have plagued this Inbox application for many
versions, but no… Draft emails still do not
sync with IMAP servers nor Exchange Server.

You
have to configure the MMS Settings from the Tools
menu, not the Accounts Options like you would
expect.

You’ll
have to create a new server here in order to
set it up for your GSM service provider… unless
your version has already been customized by your
service provider (which will likely be the case
for the O2 and T-mobile versions).

If
you’re using T-Mobile USA, you can see the correct
settings above. You may have to enable MMS or
Picture Messaging support with your provider
first.

An
icon in the title bar appears when you’re downloading
the content of an MMS message.

MMS
messages can be read in the MMS account folders.
For some reason, I couldn’t get my MMS picture
attachments to download. It worked fine on my
i-mate Pocket PC 2003 with the same settings
and software. T-Mobile USA couldn’t figure out
why it wouldn’t work as everything was correct
on their end.

The
JAM also sports a new software input panel from
HTC. “Phone Pad” as it’s called on
the i-mate JAM is a big-buttoned T9 style input
program. If you need to enter text one-handed,
this is the thing to use. It’s just like using
a numeric keypad with your thumb. One problem
is that it does take up more space vertically,
so you might find some user interface elements
become inaccessible when using this input method.

Phone
Pad also reformats itself for use in landscape
screen orientation mode. Not bad, but now all
the numbers are in different places
.

Continue
On: Camera / Screen Orientation / Benchmarks
/ Conclusion. . .


An
Apple iPod is only slightly wider than the i-mate
JAM.

Above
is a straight photo in low-light that compares
the screen size of the JAM to the 3.5″ screen
of the i-mate Pocket PC Phone 2003. The hand-made
screen protector I put on the JAM seems to be
doing weird things to the screen’s appearance.
Hopefully some one will release better screen
protectors for this size soon. As you can see,
the 2.8″ screen of the JAM is still perfectly
usable. I was afraid it would be too small, but
in use, it’s really quite nice.

On
the back of the JAM you see a rubber covered
hole for an external antenna, a self-portrait
reflection mirror, and the lens for the 1.3 megapixel
camera. Next to the mirror is also a slit for
the external loud speaker. I’m not sure why they
needed a speaker on the front for the phone as
well as a speaker on the back for other audio.
Personally, the inside of my hand doesn’t hear
very well and muffles the rear speaker. Usually
the front of the PDA is what’s facing towards
me.

At
the top of the JAM is a slot for an SDIO card,
as well as a loop hole for a wrist strap.

The
right side only includes a power button at the
top (just next to the stylus slot, and the infrared
port at the bottom. The infrared port is so integrated
with the black casing it’s very hard to see.

The
other side holds a volume slider along with two
customizable hardware buttons labeled with camera
and notes icons.

On
the bottom of the JAM, you see a microphone hole,
mini-USB port, audio jack, and soft reset hole.

Here’s
the JAM in the included belt-clip case. I don’t
think I’ll be using this. The JAM feels much
safer in my pocket.

The
i-mate JAM with the smallest Bluetooth headset.
The JAM makes my Bluespoon AX look very big.

The
JAM works beautifully with my Bluetooth GPS receiver
and car stereo audio adapter from Pocket PC Techs.
The audio adapter actually works better than
it did with the XDA II, since there’s no rubber
flap getting in the way.

 

Windows

Media
Player 10

 

The
i-mate JAM is the first Pocket PC Phone to
come with Windows Media Player 10 for Windows
Mobile. This gives you some excellent new features
that tightly integrate with the desktop version
of Windows Media Player 10 as well as Windows
XP Media Center 2005. It makes your Pocket
PC function like a full blown Portable Media
Center (minus the multi-gigabyte hard drive).

I
love the way the new Media Player interface shows
the album art for each song.

In
Media Center 2005, you can use your remote control
to set up automatic synchronization of your music,
videos, and recorded TV shows.

Media
Center automatically synchronizes your content
whenever you connect your Pocket PC to ActiveSync.
If you specified Recorded TV content to be synced,
Media Center will convert the TV recording to
a more appropriate size for the smaller screen.
An excellent feature in this system is that the
conversion will occur behind the scenes after
the program is recorded, that way the copying
to the device is much much faster. On the lowest
quality setting, Media Center can compress an
hour long TV show to about 40Mb. One problem
is that Media Center 2005 and Media Player 10
cannot sync through a bluetooth based ActiveSync
connection, so you’ll have to connect using the
USB port.

The
playlists you selected to synchronize automatically
appear in the Pocket PC’s Media Library. Finally!

Phone

HTC
has added some new software to Microsoft’s regular
Phone application. The Phone program on the JAM
has an added feature that automatically matches
numeric entry with contact names in your Contacts
listing. This makes it very easy to dial a contact
one-handed using standard T9 style text entry.
I only wish they had designed it to be a bit
more attractive. The beveled gray borders, yellow
highlights and aquamarine backgrounds all clash
with the normal Pocket PC Phone application interface.

Caller
ID

Since
HTC bought out IA Software, they have been integrating
and improving their software for Pocket PCs.
The latest version of Caller ID is included in
the JAM’s ROM and adds some welcome features.
For example you can now assign specific ring
tones to each contact or a group of contacts.

Caller
ID supports a variety of ringtone file types
including WMA, WMV, WM, ASF, MP3, WAV, 3GP, MID,
and MP4. However, the JAM may not be able
to handle playing multimedia files as ringtones
when they’re on a storage card. You best bet
is to make small ringtone files and keep them
in main memory.

When
a call comes in the photo appears in a bubble.
The photo will not appear when you’re making
a call from the contacts app though.

Photo
Dialer view lets you scroll through all your
contacts who have photos assigned and quickly
tap their picture to make a phone call.

Messaging

The
i-mate JAM includes the general Pocket PC Inbox
application which has been renamed to “Messaging”. It
supports IMAP/POP3 email, Exchange Server syncing,
ActiveSync email sync, and… with the support
of an add-on from Arcsoft… Multimedia messages
(MMS). One would hope that Windows Mobile 2003
Second Edition would fix some of the bugs that
have plagued this Inbox application for many
versions, but no… Draft emails still do not
sync with IMAP servers nor Exchange Server.

You
have to configure the MMS Settings from the Tools
menu, not the Accounts Options like you would
expect.

You’ll
have to create a new server here in order to
set it up for your GSM service provider… unless
your version has already been customized by your
service provider (which will likely be the case
for the O2 and T-mobile versions).

If
you’re using T-Mobile USA, you can see the correct
settings above. You may have to enable MMS or
Picture Messaging support with your provider
first.

An
icon in the title bar appears when you’re downloading
the content of an MMS message.

MMS
messages can be read in the MMS account folders.
For some reason, I couldn’t get my MMS picture
attachments to download. It worked fine on my
i-mate Pocket PC 2003 with the same settings
and software. T-Mobile USA couldn’t figure out
why it wouldn’t work as everything was correct
on their end.

The
JAM also sports a new software input panel from
HTC. “Phone Pad” as it’s called on
the i-mate JAM is a big-buttoned T9 style input
program. If you need to enter text one-handed,
this is the thing to use. It’s just like using
a numeric keypad with your thumb. One problem
is that it does take up more space vertically,
so you might find some user interface elements
become inaccessible when using this input method.

Phone
Pad also reformats itself for use in landscape
screen orientation mode. Not bad, but now all
the numbers are in different places
.

Continue
On: Camera / Screen Orientation / Benchmarks
/ Conclusion. . .

Camera


The Camera software is basically the same as the i-mate Phone Edition
2003. There are a few new options however.


You now have some new Ambience effects to choose from, and a more intuitive
way of switching camera modes in viewfinder mode. One new thing that
I find annoying is that the camera software saves images in dated folders.


Here’s
a sample photo. Click to see the full resolution version.

Album

The
Photo Album application is pretty much unchanged from the i-mate Pocket
PC 2003 version.

Wireless
Modem

The
Wireless Modem application makes your i-mate JAM function as a modem
for a laptop or desktop computer. You can connect through USB, Bluetooth,
or Infrared.

KSE
TrueFax

The
JAM also comes with TrueFax 2. This software lets you send and recieve
faxes on the JAM. I think it requires some kind of service change on
the provider’s side though because I couldn’t get it to work.

Bluetooth


The JAM uses Microsoft’s latest Bluetooth stack rather than the Widcomm
software. This version is the first in a Pocket PC to support Bluetooth
1.2.


You have to use the Bluetooth Settings dialog in the Settings>System
tab to create an ActiveSync connection. If you’re using Windows XP Service
Pack 2’s native Bluetooth drivers, you have to set up an incoming COM
port on the desktop first, then set ActiveSync to use that COM port
number in the Connections settings. Next you can start ActiveSync setup
from the Pocket PC. You initialize an ActiveSync connection from
the Pocket PC’s ActiveSync application’s “Tools” menu.
If you’re using the native SP 2 drivers, it will work the first time,
but due to bugs in ActiveSync 3.7.1 and SP2’s Bluetooth implementation,
you’ll have to reboot the desktop computer (or ActiveSync) if you want
to connect again.

The
Bluetooth settings are very simple


After you pair with a Bluetooth headset, the headset icon in the title
bar at the top appears. If you tap “close” from the pop-up
bubble, the icon will go away, but the headset will still be usable.
When a call is in progress and functioning through the headset, a “Turn
hands-free off” button also appears in the headset bubble. This
button will transfer the call back to the phone. This is a bit different
than the HTC Himalaya’s manner of managing the Bluetooth headset with
a today screen item. If you close the icon, then you don’t know
if you have a headset connection. There must be a better way to do this,
since I’ve tried to answer the phone a couple times thinking I had headset
capabilities, but my headset was off or had a dead battery. I wish the
Pocket PC could tell when my Bluetooth headset’s battery was dead or
off and could notify me in some manner other than not sending the call
to the headset.

Screen
Orientation


The JAM includes a little system tray icon that lets you switch through
screen orientations with a tap of the stylus from the Today Screen.

The
screen orientation switching icon in the lower right works nicely for
switching between landscape and portrait screen modes.

Benchmarks



Continuing the speed tests we have performed with other Pocket PCs,
we’ve updated the speed table to include the results from the iPAQ h6315.
All of these benchmark results come from the
Pocket PC
application Spb Benchmark from
Spb Software House
. Regardless of the results, the JAM feels just
as fast as any other Pocket PC. One indication was that Media Player
no longer skips while downloading email over GPRS as it did with the
i-mate (Himalaya) Pocket PC Phone. In consistent general use the battery
should last over 6 hours. I’ve used it without charging connected to
a bluetooth GPS receiver on a 2 hour drive and the battery level didn’t
get below 50%.

 

TestTimeSpeed%
of iPAQ 3650* speed


Write 1 MB file
889
ms
1152
KB/sec
145%

Read
1 MB file
48.5
ms
20.6
MB/sec
113%

Copy
1 MB file
847
ms
1209
KB/sec
153%


Write 10 KB x 100 files
1309
ms
783
KB/sec
140%

Read
10 KB x 100 files
137
ms
7.32
MB/sec
115%

Copy
10 KB x 100 files
1625
ms
630
KB/sec
132%

Directory
list of 2000 files
124
ms
16.1
thousands of files/sec
13%

Internal database
read
782
ms
1279
records/sec
303%

Graphics test:
DDB BitBlt
7.69
ms
130
frames/sec
484%

Graphics test:
DIB BitBlt
48.2
ms
20.8
frames/sec
154%

Graphics
test: GAPI BitBlt
6.15
ms
163
frames/sec
75%

Pocket
Word document open
8596
ms
30.3
KB/sec
98%

Pocket
Internet Explorer HTML load
2575
ms
9.61
KB/sec
74%

Pocket
Internet Explorer JPEG load
1368
ms
185
KB/sec
351%

File Explorer
large folder list
4274
ms
468
files/sec
91%

Compress
1 MB file using ZIP
4901
ms
207
KB/sec
195%

Decompress
1024×768 JPEG file
464
ms
607
KB/sec
190%

Arkaball
frames per second
9.55
ms
105
frames/sec
97%

CPU test:
Whetstones MFLOPS
4706
ms
0.079
Mop/sec
171%

CPU test:
Whetstones MOPS
1101
ms
57.2
Mop/sec
168%

CPU test:
Whetstones MWIPS
9718
ms
5.15
Mop/sec
173%

Memory
test: copy 1 MB using memcpy
13.2
ms
75.5
MB/sec
107%

 

HELP
SUPPORT

I-mate maintains a very useful support website
and community for their customers.
Clubimate.com
has forums, live-support chats, update downloads,
software purchasing capabilities, etc. all available to i-mate customers.
The live-support chat’s aren’t that helpful as the operators tend to
only give out cookie cutter responses.

 

BUGS
AND WISHES

Overall, the i-mate JAM has been amazing.
However, there are a few little problems. It tends to wake-up by itself
for no apparent reason occasionally. For example, it will be just
sitting on my desk, not connected to ActiveSync or anything and the
screen will come on. It’s as if a phone call is coming in or an appointment
would show, but nothing happens and there’s no notifications scheduled.
I think it may have to do with the GSM reception changing because in
the car there is radio interference when this happens.


Another bug is with Windows Media Player 10. If you try to assign a
function to a button that is already assigned to an application in the
Buttons Control panel, you can’t cancel the button selection.. you can’t
do ANYTHING actually. You have to force quit Media Player from
the Memory Control panel. So say I want to assign the Calendar
button to launch Media Player and then when Media Player is active I
want that button to perform a screen toggle… won’t do it. I can however,
assign the action button to Screen Toggle.


Which brings me to the next bug in Media Player… if you’re connected
to a Bluetooth COM port using something like a GPS reciever, then Media
Player’s screen toggle function does not work. There is no longer anyway
to make the Media Player’s hardware buttons function when Media Player
is not active.


There’s also some minor issues with the Bluetooth implementation. The
JAM supports the Handsfree profile, but it does not respond to the headset
button when not in a call. You can’t activate any type of Voice Command
software from the Bluetooth headset for dialing a contact via voice
recognition. You can’t even use the headset buttons to launch the Phone
application and redial your last call.



Be careful how much memory you use as well. The JAM only has 64Mb of
RAM and if this is exhausted, the stability will plummet. For this reason,
I recommend only installing priority applications that you absolutely
need. I decided not to install memory intensive things like Microsoft
Voice Command and multiple GPS Navigation programs for this very reason.

 

PURCHASING

The 900/1800/1900Mhz GSM version of the
i-mate JAM is currently shipping and is available from Expansys.com
as well as a few other online retailers. The price should range
between $624 and $650 USD.

 

PROS


  • Very
    small, feels great in your pocket


  • Mini-USB
    syncing/charging means you don’t need proprietary connectors


  • Windows
    Media Player 10 syncs beautifully with Media Center 2005


  • Great
    build quality


  • Bluetooth
    1.2

 

CONS


  • Only
    64Mb of RAM can be restrictive


  • No
    Voice dialing via Bluetooth headset


  • Only
    7.6Mb of user-accessible ROM storage


  • Low
    quality CMOS camera

OVERALL
IMPRESSION

I love the i-mate JAM. It makes all other Pocket
PCs feel huge, yet it still packs almost the same amount of power as
the HTC Himalaya type devices… and in some respects it certainly surpasses
the Himalaya. The JAM does not have built-in WiFi or a thumb keyboard,
but where are you going to put it!? This is a phone-sized Pocket PC.
I think a keyboard would take up way too much space. Plus I’m a FITALY
kind of guy. Maybe next year there will be a version this sized with
WiFi and more memory, but today, this is the easiest to carry Pocket
PC Phone with plenty of portability power.

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About The Author
Adam Z. Lein
Adam has had interests in combining technology with art since his first use of a Koala pad on an Apple computer. He currently has a day job as a graphic designer, photographer, systems administrator and web developer at a small design firm in Westchester, NY. His love of technology extends to software development companies who have often implemented his ideas for usability and feature enhancements. Mobile computing has become a necessity for Adam since his first Uniden UniPro PC100 in 1998. He has been reviewing and writing about smartphones for Pocketnow.com since they first appeared on the market in 2002. Read more about Adam Lein!