Who Wants a Dual-Mode Phone? - Page 3

By James Alan Miller

April 22, 2004

Motorola MPx

Unlike most Pocket PC phones, the MPx is a dual-hinge device that opens both lengthways as a clamshell phone and in landscape mode with a wide screen and full QWERTY keyboard. By opening the device in landscape mode, Internet browsing, streaming video and access to corporate applications are possible.

The tri-band GSM/GRPS Motorola smartphone features both built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and is similar in basic design to the Symbian-based Nokia 9500 Communicator.

The MPx has a 2.8 inch, 16-bit (64,536) color and 320 x 240 pixel resolution display. The outside of the top half of the clamshell phone features a second, smaller display for time, date, phone info and audio control. With it, you can use existing and upcoming Pocket PC and Java applications. Windows Mobile for Smartphone devices, for example, such as the Motorola MPx200, are far more limited in what applications they can run.

The device also includes a Secure Digital slot for memory expansion and a 1.3 megapixel digital camera with a flash. As a Windows Mobile device, the MPx will include mini versions of Word, Excel and outlook as well as Windows Media Player. The MPx supports a variety of input methods, including a numeric keyboard, a thumb QWERTY board and stylus and touch sensitive screen. The Nokia 9500, for instance, doesn't have pen input.

The Motorola MPx is expected to be available in the second half of this year for 749 euro or about $920.

HP 6300 Series

While the iPAQ h6300 series hasn't been announced yet, it looks like it will probably be the first Wi-Fi enabled smartphone to hit the market, as it is due this May from T-Mobile in the United States for $600, followed by AT&T in August. It should ship in Europe at that time too. In addition to Wi-Fi, the Quad-Band (850/900/1800/1900) GSM/GPRS h6300 series should also include Bluetooth.

The smartphone is slated to measure 4.5 x 2.9 x 0.7 inches and weigh 6.5 ounces. It'll have an antenna. According to information that has leaked out of over the few months, the h6300 should run on the Phone Edition of Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC, which leans more towards the PDA side of the PDA/phone equation, while Windows Mobile 2003 for Smartphone is for devices that are to be used more heavily as phones than PDAs.

In addition a 200MHz processor, the smartphone will include 64MB of RAM, 64MB of ROM memory, and a 3.5-inch display that supports 16-bit or 65,536 colors. Additional rumors place a Secure Digital slot that is SDIO enabled for memory and peripheral expansion as well as a VGA (640x480 pixel) integrated digital camera on the device. It looks like a consumer version of the h6300 will have the camera, while a business orientated model won't.

Not included with the h6300, but still useful, is an optional keyboard that attaches at the bottom of the unit. The device may also have an email client for BlackBerry Enterprise Server, which would allow businesses to roll it out along with RIM BlackBerry devices and still enable users to get the same push email solution that they get with BlackBerry handhelds. There should also be a flip cover and a removable 1800mAh lithium ion battery

T-Mobile

Speaking of T-Mobile, the carrier announced in February that it will integrate Wi-Fi and 3G (GSM/GPRS, EDGE & WCDMA) mobile services this spring with the goal of creating a multi-speed network to carry data traffic.

Speaking in a press conference at the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes, France, T-Mobile Chief Executive Rene Obermann said, "we are creating one multi-speed, multimedia network; integrating 2G, 3G and Wi-Fi." He added that the goal is "total seamlessness" between the technologies.

This would allow users to have one service plan for using the fastest network technology available to them. The potential of a plan like this would work well for the next generation of smartphones, like Motorola's MPx and Nokia's 9500 Communicator, which will integrate Wi-Fi and cellular communications.

T-Mobile is in a good position integrate data service plans, as it is not only a major mobile operator, but has also been one of the leaders in making Wi-Fi access available outside the office or home. It has around 700 Wi-Fi hot-spots in Europe and 4,000 in the U.S, where they are primarily situated in airports and cafes.

And according to the company, data services accounted for 16% of average revenue per user in Europe in 2003, up from 14% in 2002, while in Germany the figure rose to 17% from 15% a year earlier. These numbers are expected to continue to grow throughout the wireless industry as handsets become more data-capable.

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