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By Chris De Herrera 
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Pocket PC Support
By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 2004
 Version 1.00 Revised 7/12/2004

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As part of select a Pocket PC as an individual or a corporate rollout you should assess the support available from the OEM for your particular Pocket PC.    As part of this assessment you should consider the following items:

OEM Assessment Checklist

  1. Phone Support – All OEMs offer phone support for their Pocket PCs.  However there are some differences out there.  Some OEMs only offer 90 days of free support so make sure you know what it will cost if you have a problem after 90 days.
  2. Time to repair – One of the most difficult things to deal with once you’ve had a personal device like a Pocket PC is getting along without it.  Well some OEMs offer advance replacements (with a credit card guarantee) while others require you to mail in the Pocket PC and wait until it’s repaired.  Either way you should know what to expect in advance of making a purchase.
  3. Reported Problems with your model Pocket PC – I highly recommend that you assess whether or not problems have been reported by users by visiting websites such as Pocket PC Thoughts (www.pocketpcthoughts.com), Pocket Now (www.pocketnow.com) and the forums at Pocket PC Magazine (http://www.ppcmag.com/forum/)  so you know what the quality level of the Pocket PC you are buying.
  4. Patches and Rom Upgrades - Also, you should visit the OEMs website to see what patches or rom upgrades have been provided to fix the problems users have reported above.   You’ll want to install the appropriate patches on your Pocket PC to reduce the problems you will experience.
  5. Prior Patches and Rom Upgrades - If you are considering a new generation of Pocket PC then I recommend that you look at prior generations of Pocket PCs that an OEM created and see what issues they have had.  Also, look at what patches or rom upgrades they have offered to fix these problems.  In particular note the amount of time that the OEM offers patches or rom upgrades for older model Pocket PCs as a way to gauge the level of commitment you can expect from your OEM in the future.
  6. Longevity of Support – How long will the OEM offer to assist and repair your Pocket PC?  This is an important issue for corporate roll outs since they expect that the Pocket PC will be usable for a life of 2-3 years.

Operating System Upgrades

Also, while you are checking with the OEM you should ask them what their policy is for operating system upgrades.   You’ll find that some OEMs offer the ability to upgrade to the next generation of Pocket PC, while others do not.  If the OEM does not then you can look at what they have done in the past with older Pocket PCs.  As with any upgrade OEMs do charge for them so you may want to ask what they have charged for prior operating system upgrades.

Calling Support

Prior to calling support, I recommend that you make some notes to make assisting you with your problem easier.  I suggest noting the make, model, serial number and rom version (usually displayed when you perform a soft reset) of your Pocket PC.  Also, if you are having problems with ActiveSync make sure you note what desktop operating system you are using as well as what version of Outlook and ActiveSync you have installed.  Finally make sure you observe what is happening when you are having a problem.  Try to describe it to the support person and provide them with the steps required to reproduce the problem.  Finally note what additional applications you have installed – in some cases they can be the source of the problem.

Conclusion

Users and Corporations armed with this support information can make the best decision on what Pocket PC will be supported the best for them.  Further with the notes I described in Calling Support they will be able to get faster and less frustrating support in resolving their problem.

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