HP's iPAQ Picks Up Windows

By Ed Sutherland

February 12, 2007

The company unveils its first true smartphone, this time running atop Windows Mobile 6.

HP today unveiled its iPAQ 500 series Voice Messenger at the 3GSM cell phone tradeshow in Barcelona. The announcement comes only days after Microsoft announced Windows Mobile 6.

Providing corporate customers enhanced Outlook Mobile and a built-in Microsoft Office Mobile suite, the device offers more than 20 voice commands, including e-mail dictation. The voice features also enable users to listen to e-mail and text messages, as well as navigate and start applications by voice.

iPAQ 500 Series
HP's iPAQ 500 Series Voice Messenger
Source: HP

In addition to the 1.3 megapixel camera, the new handset includes Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. The phone offers six hours of talk time per charge. Also part of the new iPAQ series are over-the-air management features that HP acquired during its purchase of Bitfone.

The features allow businesses to remotely manage and support the iPAQ's performance, security and application access. IT managers, for example, can delete data on lost devices, as well as configure and repair handsets.

"Our HP iPAQ Voice Messenger smartphone gives mobile users an easy way to manage all types of communications and stay focused on their businesses," Dave Rothschild, vice president of HP's Handheld Business Unit, Personal Systems Group.

Expected this spring in the U.S. for around $300 to $350, the phone had analysts scratching their heads asking "why?"

"They don't have a good track record on mobile devices," JupiterKagan analyst Neil Strother told internetnews.com. Its closest competitors: RIM , Motorola and Nokia.

However, at $300, HP is a "very small player and corporate focused," he said. HP is focused on the boardroom, and most growth in the smartphone market came from the pro-sumer area, which is dominated by RIM's BlackBerry Pearl and Palm's Treo.

HP was not immediately available for comment. Strother believes HP decided to enter the smartphone market following last year's success reclaiming its lead in desktops. Apple's iPhone could also have given the PC maker hope it could expand into phones.

Originally published on .

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