Wait Over for iPAQ Smartphone

By James Alan Miller

August 27, 2004

HP's eagerly awaited iPAQ h6315 -- supporting cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless networking -- has found its way into stores in the United States.

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Hewlett-Packard's highly-anticipated smartphone, the iPAQ h6315, can now be bought at retail-- both online and at stores like CompUSA.

If you're an iPAQ devotee who wants to purchase the new smartphone soon, however, you'd better act fast. Apparently, demand for the smartphone is so high that stocks are already low.

Announced late last month, the iPAQ h6315 is available on T-Mobile's network. The smartphone offers GSM for global voice support, GPRS for long-range wireless data, Wi-Fi for data on local area networks (LANs), and Bluetooth for supporting personal area communications such as a wireless voice headset.

"This is a unique offering, and a first for HP," said John Dayan, HP's senior director of handheld and wireless business, at the time of the announcement. "We've partnered with T-Mobile to bring this to market, and even before, to come up with the design and branding."

The h6315 runs the Pocket PC Phone edition of the Windows Mobile 2003 operating system, which means users can't go into landscape format like other new Pocket PC products that run the Second Edition of Windows Mobile 2003.

It ships in the box with a case and a thumb keyboard that can be attached for easier dialing and text messaging. It also has an integrated digital camera capable of VGA-quality shots.

The operating system only allows one wireless data connection at a time, but the switchover is purported to be seamless. For example, if a Web page is open over the GPRS link and the user walks into a hotspot, the unit will associate with the access point (if allowed) and store an IP address in standby. The next time it needs to access the Internet, such as when a link is clicked, the h6315 will use whatever connection is faster (usually the Wi-Fi).

Using the GSM for voice while also surfing/sending data is supported, however. T-Mobile is expecting this product to boost the number of customers who sign up for both, saying one third of its hotspot users already have a T-Mobile voice account now.

Unfortunately, the h6315 doesn't have a voice over IP (VoIP) component, as T-Mobile views VoIP as a business opportunity for the future.

The h6315 lists for $599 without activation, or $499 (minus a rebate) with activation of T-Mobile's plan for cellular and hotspot service. It is exclusive for T-Mobile users on the voice and GPRS side, though the Wi-Fi connectivity will work with any hotspot, home network, or corporate network where the user is allowed access.

Although it was announced first, the h6315 isn't HP's first smartphone to ship. That honor goes to the iPAQ rw6100, which is a re-branded AQ rw6100. Regrettably, the CDMA-enabled mobile handset, which has some really cool features -- such as a retractable keyboard -- is only shipping in South Korea (see New HP Smartphone Unreal for U.S.).

Reprinted from SmartPhoneToday.



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