New Smartphone Has Wi-Fi, Disappearing Keyboard

By James Alan Miller

September 10, 2004

Nearly identical to upcoming smartphones from T-Mobile and O2, the VPA III from carrier giant Vodafone combines GSM, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless networking with a nifty retractable keyboard.

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More people around the world get their wireless service from Vodafone than any other mobile operator. So when it embraces a smartphone platform -- as it has with Windows Mobile -- the industry takes notice.

Today, the carrier giant introduced its latest Windows Mobile smartphone, the VPA III, which looks remarkably similar to the already-announced T-Mobile MDA III and O2 XDA II (see T-Mobile Unveils MDA III Pocket PC Phone). The three mobile handsets are so alike, in fact, it is a sure bet they share the same original equipment manufacturer: most likely, Taiwanese handheld specialist HTC (see image).

As with palmOne's Treo 600 and Research In Motion's BlackBerry series, the VPA III integrates a thumb keyboard. Unlike these smaller devices, however, the VPA III's keyboard is retractable so you can make the Pocket PC Phone more compact.

That's a good thing, as the VPA III measures a not inconsiderable 4.92 x 2.83 x 0.75 inches when the keyboard is put away. So if the smartphone is that large with the keyboard retracted, just imagine how bulky it becomes with the keyboard out. The VPA III also weighs a robust 7.23 ounces.

Since Vodafone offers phone service all over the world, the VPA III delivers a quad-band (850/900/1800/1900) GSM/GPRS radio that should work in most locales, including the United States. As with upcoming smartphones from Nokia (9300 and 9500 Communicators) and Motorola (MPx) and the recently shipped iPAQ h6315 from Hewlett-Packard, the VPA III also offers Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless networking.

The smartphone's display measures 2.5 inches diagonally and supports the Pocket PC standard 240 x 320 pixel resolution at 65,536 colors. There is also a 400MHz Intel XScale PXA263 processor, 128MB of RAM and 64MB of ROM. An SDIO-enabled Secure Digital slot lets you add memory and peripherals. The VPA III's lithium ion polymer battery delivers 5 hours talk or 200 hours standby time.

The VPA III should ship later this fall for an as-of-yet-undisclosed price.

Reprinted from SmartPhoneToday.
Originally published on .

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