American Carriers to Offer Innovative Smartphone

By James Alan Miller

October 11, 2004

AT&T Wireless becomes the latest U.S. mobile operator to sign-on to offer the XDA III Pocket PC Phone. This Wi-Fi-equipped smartphone is the first of its type to feature a retractable keyboard.

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Several carriers in Europe, including T-Mobile and Vodafone, either have or plan to release an inventive new Windows Mobile Pocket PC Phone called the XDA III (VPA III for Vodafone, MDA III for T-Mobile) -- orignally developed by Taiwanese OEM High Tech Computer.

Unlike smaller smartphones with thumb-keyboards, this handset's keyboard is unique because it is retractable. That's a good thing, because no one will ever confuse the 4.92 x 2.83 x 0.75 inch and 7.23 ounce XDA III with one of its more compact Windows Mobile brethren, such as Motorola's Mx200.

We already know that two carriers, Cingular Wireless and Verizon Wireless, plan to offer variations on the XDA III in the United States later this year: The Federal Communication's Commission approved the mobile handset for release in the U.S. in August. Now come rumors that AT&T Wireless will also deliver the new smartphone.

AT&T Wireless will call its edition of the XDA III the Siemens SX66. Whereas Verizon Wireless will offer a Bluetooth only version of the mobile handset, the AT&T Wireless model will be the same Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled version available in Europe.

(Wi-Fi is quickly becoming a standard feature of high-end smartphones. Hewlett-Packard's first smartphone, the already shipping iPAQ h6315, as well as upcoming Nokia 9300 and 9500 Communicators, and Motorola's MPx integrate 802.11b wireless networking. Wi-Fi/cellular convergence promises to deliver voice or data over the type of network that is cheaper, more optimal and, of course, available at a particular moment. For more, see Seamless WLAN/Cellular Convergence on the Far Horizon.)

The XDA III/SX66 also features a 400MHZ CPU, integrated VGA camera, 128MB of RAM, 96MB of ROM, and an SDIO Secure Digital slot. The smartphone's display measures 3.5 inches diagonally and supports the Pocket PC standard 240 x 320 pixel resolution at 65,536 colors. Its lithium ion polymer battery should deliver 5 hours talk or 200 hours standby time, which is 25 percent longer than the previous model.

There is now word as to when AT&T Wireless will ship the SX66.

Reprinted from SmartPhoneToday.


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