Symbol’s new ES400 – first thoughts

Symbol ES400 Mobile Device

New Symbol ES400

When Motorola bought Symbol, I thought it would be a good opportunity to see some of Moto’s experience in cool handset design migrate to the Symbol line – a kind of “best of both worlds” thing.

The new ES400 fits right into this with a stylish formfactor that still has a lot of the Symbol attributes that are expected in the enterprise world.

For a long time, Symbol have had things pretty well covered for mobile workers. Whether the industrial MC9xxx line up or the more mobile MC70 range. These are great for people needing rugged devices in applications that demand a lot of barcode scanning.

Where Symbol hasn’t done so well is providing equipment to mobile workers and managers who rely more on email and phone capabilities than barcode scanning and don’t want to lug around a large device – the territory currently occupied by Blackberries, iPhones and Moto’s own Droids.

Enter the ES400.

At first glance it is clearly a phone, rather than an industrial mobile computer. Take away the Moto logo and it could be something new from Blackberry – it has a Blackberry looking design, but with a VGA display which unlike Blackberries is a touch screen (I don’t count that lame Blackberry Storm here).

Now, I must confess, there is one thing I dislike about the ES400 – you’ll see it as soon as you look at the photo of the device – it’s running Windows! The OS is a flavor of Windows Mobile 6.5 with a custom Moto overlay to hide some of the nastyness. I was hoping that Moto would have taken advantage of all the good work they’ve done with Android to make this a Droid ES400, but no such luck; we are still stuck with Windows Mobile overhead.

Other than the OS, everything else about the ES400 is great. A lot of the Symbol enterprise features we’ve come to rely on are retained – the ability to drop 4 feet onto concrete (try doing that with the nice new glass iPhone 4!), all the wireless options one would wish for (including ability to run on both GSM and CDMA networks) and barcode scanning.

Need enterprise level WiFi security? No worries it is standard as one would expect from Symbol.

So what we have is a real Symbol mobile device that can be used for serious work, wrapped up in a sexy form factor that no executive would be embarrassed to use as their main phone.

Nice job Moto/Symbol! Just a bit of a shame about the OS.

What do you think? Am I the only one wanting to see Android on mobile devices instead of Windows?

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