HP Brings IPaq Phones to U.S.

Cingular will market IPaq hw6500 devices, which use high-speed

Tom Krazit, IDG News Service
Tuesday, October 18, 2005

ORLANDO -- Cingular Wireless will be the first U.S. carrier to sell
Hewlett-Packard's new IPaq hw6500 series phones, the companies are
expected to announce Tuesday at Gartner's Symposium/ITXpo 2005 here.

The hw6500 IPaqs have been on sale in Europe for several months, but
they will now make an appearance in the U.S. using Cingular's Enhanced
Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE), a faster version of the widely
used Global System for Mobile Communications/General Packet Radio
Service (GSM/GPRS) networks.

Cingular has EDGE networks in 13,000 U.S. cities, said Jeff Bradley,
vice president of business data services for Cingular. EDGE networks,
which deliver download speeds of up to 384 kilobits per second, are
viewed as a stepping stone to higher-speed Universal Mobile
Telecommunications System (UMTS) and High Speed Downlink Packet Access
(HSDPA) networks that are still a few years away from becoming
widespread in the U.S.

Smarter Phones

Now that most analysts, and buyers, have signaled the end of the
traditional personal digital assistant, PDA companies such as HP,
Palm, and others have dialed into the phone market. A new class of
devices called either smart phones or wireless PDAs is becoming more
prevalent. These devices blend the ability to run sophisticated
applications over wireless networks with voice capabilities. The
hw6500 series IPaqs represent the second generation of HP's efforts in
this market.

The hw6515 comes with a 1.3-megapixel digital camera and an integrated
global positioning system (GPS) device for navigation, while the
hw6510 lacks those features. This will be the first time that Cingular
has released a phone with GPS capabilities, a feature that is very
popular in Europe.

It's also the first time that HP has integrated GPS technology into
one of its IPaqs, said Ted Clark, senior vice president and general
manager of HP's mobile computing global business unit. Certain mobile
users, such as insurance claim inspectors and business travelers, are
drawn to GPS technology, he said, but it will also appeal to consumers
who get lost on the way to the grocery store.

Customers can choose between push e-mail software from Good Technology
and Cingular's Xpress Mail. Push e-mail software allows users to have
their e-mail "pushed" to their mobile devices from behind firewalls.
Research in Motion's BlackBerry software is a leader in this market.

Cingular's Xpress Mail is more limited in scope than Good Technology's
software, Bradley said. Xpress Mail is essentially a mail forwarding
system and is designed more for individual users than for IT
departments, he said.

Device Specs, Prices

Both hw6500 devices will cost $449 with a two-year contract, a
Cingular spokesperson said.

The devices come with integrated Bluetooth chips and Intel's 312MHz
PXA272 processor. Each IPaq also features 128MB of memory, 64MB of ROM
and 64MB of RAM. Users can access 55MB of the 64MB of ROM, a number
which includes 12MB dedicated to the IPaq File Store program.

Neither device features Wi-Fi connectivity, which could be found in
the h6300 series of IPaqs. Palm has also chosen to leave Wi-Fi
connections out of its Treo smart phones.

Wi-Fi is a nice thing to have, but HP wanted to get this product to
market very quickly and decided to forgo the technology, Clark said.
The IPaqs do come with an SDIO (secure digital I/O) slot that could be
filled with a Wi-Fi expansion card.

HP plans to release another set of IPaq PDA/phone devices in January,
according to sources familiar with the company's plans. The hw6700
IPaqs will come with an integrated Wi-Fi chip as well as a new version
of the Windows Mobile operating system.


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