['Willcom D4' UMPC] Using D4 as Phone [Part 4]

Jul 25, 2008
Masao Oonishi, Nikkei Microdevices
An application has to be launched to make a phone call.
An application has to be launched to make a phone call.
[Click to enlarge image]
Phone calls can't be made without connecting an earphone. The optional Bluetooth handset is likely to be indispensable.
Phone calls can't be made without connecting an earphone. The optional Bluetooth handset is likely to be indispensable.
[Click to enlarge image]

Continued from ['Willcom D4' UMPC] Using D4 as PC [Part 3].

I also held high hopes for the D4 as a full-scale Windows machine equipped with PHS phone capability as a standard feature. I have longed to integrate all the gadgets I carry into a single unit. I'm always willing to carry a notebook PC all the time regardless of its size if it is capable of making phone calls.

However, Vista must be always kept operating to start a phone call or to automatically receive incoming calls. If Vista is sleeping, nothing but call history is available. In addition, the battery life lasts no more than an hour if Vista is operating. Based on these factors, the D4 has a serious problem if it is used as a mobile phone.

Furthermore, users must connect the earphone/microphone in the package with the D4 to execute phone calls. An optional Bluetooth handset is required, otherwise. And it's impossible to connect the earphone/microphone with the D4 quickly.

The Bluetooth handset is likely to be indispensable even if the D4 is used as a mobile phone with its battery life extended (then I'll have to carry more than one gadget, though).

Design might have fallen behind the new style's debut

Regarding the D4's market release, which was delayed by one month from the initial date slated for mid June, some people posted favorable opinions primarily on PC-related blog sites, saying, "Willcom probably postponed the release date to provide a sufficient number of D4s."

However, what Willcom finally announced the week before the release was the battery life specification for continuous operation. It was claimed as 1.5 hours, but the battery life was never indicated as more than "60 minutes" after a full charge when I used it (in power saving mode with the backlight system lit, which is the default).

It makes me suspect that Willcom could not announce the battery life earlier because something went wrong with its power conservation design. I suppose the company could not complete its final design, although it had already proposed the form of the new gadget and its concept. Or, Willcom might have lacked sufficient ability to utilize the new "Centrino Atom" CPU for mobile applications. I hope Willcom's second release of this kind will be better.