Me, Myself & I-Mate

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When it comes to PDAs I am a virgin user. So far, they held little attraction. I am a minimalist kind of guy I suppose. For me a cell phone is for making phone calls. I don’t use the camera neither the alarm nor reminder functions and I don’t really send text messages. My one concession to options is my subscription to Clip Plus, a service that tells me who has called when the phone is off.

So when I was offered a complimentary, all-singing-all-dancing I-mate JasJar worth around $1,200, you will forgive me for telling you I did not get into a lather of excitement. I was hesitant to take such a huge technological leap.

Essentially, I am a self-conscious kind of man. I don’t like to make an obvious statement of what I can afford or where I have reached in life, by what clothes I wear or which watch I have on my wrist. The same extends to my choice in telecom accessories. I don’t need to be seen to be speaking into a piece of NASA hardware to feel secure. So the size of the Imate was a novelty and took some getting used to. Yes, I was worried that people might think I had just stepped off the boat from Dubai with my duty-free gizmos ready to cut a dash in provincial Beirut. Still, I pride myself in my positive outlook and decided to give it a go. After all, apart from my image, what did I have to loose?

The I-mate JasJar is undeniably big, heavy and wide. It is not discreet and it is difficult, if not impossible, to pass unnoticed when talking on it in public. But it is slim and, if carried without the carrying case, can fit neatly and unobtrusively into one’s inside jacket pocket without spoiling the cut of the suit. Still, you know it’s there.

The cover is however, there for a purpose. The screen is delicate, as two friends of mine found out when their screen cracked (one had to send his Imate – along with all the stored data – to Dubai to be fixed; an inconvenience to say the least). The good news is that, in the name of research I tried to break my new toy, but was unable to. Maybe I just look after things.

Novelty value

So what about the performance? Well, first off, Configuration is quick. I was expecting to go to hell and back before I could get it to work but it took a mere 10 minutes. Then it was a case of which screen to use. Did I go with the fold-out format, not unlike that of a laptop, or did I opt for the more space-age, touch-screen method? As a child of the laptop generation I went for the latter, but given current habits it might also depend on whether or not you have a driver (my logic being that you can use the keyboard easier in the comfort of chauffeur driven luxury). That said we should never encourage people to send text messages while driving should we?

What really made my day however, was the SMS facility. As I have said I am not really text kind of guy. Even people who send me SMS messages will get a phone call in reply. However, the JasJar allows you to send SMSs on a Microsoft Outlook email platform and on a recent business trip I found I was saving a fortune in phone calls by using this very civilized and professional option that allows you to manage your messages like e-mail.

I was also able to access the internet where there is WIFI hosting. While I quite enjoyed the novelty of sitting in a lounge (T-Junction of the Emirates Tower as it happened) and logging onto to Yahoo, it is not my thing and I have never fully understood those who need to do their work in public. That said, if I had transferred my emails onto the JasJar, I might have been as busy as the proverbial bee.

For those who can’t stop themselves, the JasJar comes bundled with all the standard Microsoft software – PowerPoint, Word, Excel etc. – so they will never be caught short. Would I buy one? Honestly? I liked it, but would prefer something smaller like the I-mate JAM. But then again, I have not made that crucial lifestyle leap…yet.