XPhone phone home

As PDAs and mobile phones merge functions, different users approach the market with different perspectives. Veteran PDA users, for example, take quickly to using PDA/phones such as the XDA and Handspring (now Palm) Treo. Never used a PDA? These devices may feel a little clunky for some to use after a streamlined phone.

This is where smart phones come in. The new $799 O2 Xphone, for example, uses Microsoft’s Windows Smartphone 2003, which features Pocket versions of Outlook and Explorer in a GSM/GPRS phone.

Like all mobile phones vying for your buying attention these days, the Xphone also incorporates a digital camera. This one can capture still (640x480 pixels) or video with audio (15fps), and takes a nice photo. The 43x35mm transreflective 65,000 colour screen is bright, and the unit is fairly light at 130g.

One quibble we had with our pre-production model was the time it took to start up as it loads applications. If you’re used to the near-instant response of a mobile phone or Palm unit, you may find this frustrating. The menu systems could also be more intuitive.

O2 has also revamped its XDA product, launching the XDA II. The XDA II runs the same operating system and has the same camera functionality as the Xphone, but comes with more memory (twice as much as the earlier XDA) and updates the processor from the first-generation device.

02 XPhone and XDA II
Price: Xphone - $799; Xda II - $1599
Vendor: O2
Phone: 1300 733 011
URL: www.myxda.com