Have you ever heard of a Voq? No? Well, what about the expression ‘professional Phone'? Really, not that either. Well you must have heard of the Canadian Telecoms company Sierra Wireless. You're kidding me! Well you and me both on all three then, but that does not mean we shouldn't look at what out neighbours to the North West are up to.
The Voq looks more like something you'd use to change from ESPN to CNN with rather than make a call from. The body is chunky and plastic in a ‘it came from behind the Iron Curtain' sort of way, and measures153x53x23 and weighs 145g. The screen is a 2.2inch 64K colour display and this is what first convinced me that the Voq might be a bit of a swan in disguise. The numeric keyboard flips open to reveal a small QWERTY ‘thumb board'. Voq doesn't pretend this is as good as a full-sized version but it better than predictive text. A port at the side will take either SD or MMC cards allowing the phones 32Mb of RAM to be expanded for storage purposes.
Depending on where you are, two models exist, the A10 & A11. Both offer GSM network coverage of 1800 and 1900 with the A10 also covering 900 and the A11 covering 850Mhz. The phone function is easy to use and the set-up is easy. The main interface shows you loads of data in one go, although I must admit I was a little mystified where half of the other functions resided. The battery life is in the same league as the Hiptop and the Nokia Smartphones, i.e. lousy. Anything over 36 hours and I'd write a postcard announcing it. The included documentation states, a little over-optimistically, 100 hours though.
The Voq is intended to be an e-mail, internet, calendar and address book, like so many other phones on the market and if you read the very impressive spec on http://www.voq.com it does seems to cover lots of ground. The Voq's central nervous system comes from an Intel Xscale PXA262 (200 MHz) processor and the OS and applications are all MS. The trial version supplied refused to go online, although I suspect with some Jedi-like guidance, especially around the Proxy Vs. GPRS settings, this would have been easy enough to rectify. More worryingly, the charger seems to refuse to fulfil its core brief, and restore the battery's power. Loads of wiggling the adapter lug in the socket was required to get any sort of current to flow.
Overall, the Voq looks like a work in progress. The cost and the fact that the handsets are only being supplied through very limited number of outlets in the UK will mean that you won't seem many of these around. Sierra Wireless should carry on though as this could be an excellent product, although on a final note their version of Solitaire baffled me totally!