3GSM - HTC unveils 'laptop' 3G handset

Smorgasbord of mobile handsets introduced at 3GSM World Congress

HTC has launched a trio of smartphones at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona, including a device resembling a tiny laptop and a Window Mobile 6-based handset with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard.

Separately, BT announced a range of HTC handsets would be added to its converged Fusion offering. HP is also joining Fusion with a dual-mode Windows Mobile 6 device.

The devices are among the dozens of handsets introduced at the trade show, with some manufacturers focusing on the convergence of fixed and mobile telephony, and others, like Research In Motion, on the convergence of business and consumer features.

Still other handsets, such as Samsung's Ultra Smart F700 or the earlier Apple iPhone, are oriented around new interface technologies such as touchscreens.

The HTC Advantage, aka the X7500, to be launched by T-Mobile across Europe in March under the Ameo brand, is a 3G handset built to resemble a tiny laptop. It has a 5-inch VGA screen, magnetic QWERTY keyboard, eight-hour battery life and a sensor technology that allows users to navigate the screen by tilting the device.

Other features include 8GB hard drive, miniSD slot, video output for making presentations, GPS and 3-megapixel camera, as well as standard office software and other features. It handles tri-band UMTS.

The HTC S710, to be launched across Europe by Orange under the SPV E650 brand, is destined to be one of the first Windows Mobile 6 devices on the market. Its principal attraction is a QWERTY keypad that slides out from behind a standard-looking "brick" form-factor; it also sports push email, GPRS/EDGE, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

The HTC P3350 is a media-oriented handset resembling a PDA, and, like the Advantage, runs on Windows Mobile 5.

FusionBT said it would add an unspecified range of HTC handsets to Fusion, which combines mobile and home wireless telephony using GSM and voice-over-IP.

Fusion will also see the addition of HP's iPaq 514 Voice Messenger, a Windows Mobile 6-based candybar handset with quad-band GSM and 802.11b/g, using UMA to roam between the two.

The device is HP's first candybar-style iPaq and is HP's first Wi-Fi device allowing power management, HP said. Users can turn the Wi-Fi radio off if desired, or it can be left in sleep mode, waking up when it detects Wi-Fi infrastructure.

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Matthew Broersma

Techworld.com

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