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Home >> Computing >> Computing >> I Mate Targets Cellular Market Windows Mobile Focus >> i-mate Targets Cellular Market With Windows Mobile Focus
Newcomer i-mate is targeting online retailers, cellular distributors, second-tier and third-tier carriers, and retailers with an expanding selection of Windows Mobile-based cellular phones, said Jon Driscoll, president of i-mate USA.
The company, whose Dubai-based parent launched operations in 2001, already offers Windows Mobile-based smartphones and PDA phones in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, Driscoll said. The parent, Carrier Devices, designs the phones and contracts out their manufacturing.
In entering the North and South American markets earlier this year, i-mate believes it can succeed because of its focus on Windows Mobile devices. “We are the leading experts” in Windows Mobile-based converged devices, he claimed. The company has no plans to offer smartphones or PDA phones based on the Palm or Symbian operating systems. I-mate will also provide thousands of applications downloadable from its Web site, some for a one-time fee and others, such as security and virus-scanning applications, for a monthly fee. The company will not bill end users for airtime, leaving that up to the carriers themselves.
The company will also differentiate itself by offering free downloads of select games, ringtones and wallpaper to the phones via connected PC from its Club i-mate site, where users can also download ROM-code updates. Users will also get 24/7 support over the phone and via live online chats as well as a free unlimited hosted e-mail account.
The company's first two phones are the SP3i, based on the Windows Mobile Smartphone operating system, and the JAM, based on Windows Mobile PocketPC Phone Edition and said to be the slimmest PocketPC phone in the world at 4.25 inches by 2.28 inches by 0.71 inches. Both are triband 850/1,800/1,900MHz GSM models with GPRS Class 10 wireless data.
The phones are available through multiple online retailers, including www.expansys-usa.com. In many cases, the online retailers are selling the devices without SIM cards at prices unsubsidized by GSM carriers. They're targeted to consumers who want to stick with their existing GSM carrier and want to upgrade their phone with a model not available through their carrier, he said.
The JAM PocketPC phone retails for $649 unsubsidized and $100 to $200 less when sold with new activation, Driscoll said. The SP3i smartphone retails for $450 to $550 unsubsidized and $350 with subsidy.
In coming months, the company plans to expand its selection with three to five devices, including models built on the latest version of Windows Mobile, Driscoll said.
Both current models offer Bluetooth, voice recorder, integrated antenna and camera, with the SP3i offering VGA resolution, and the JAM offering 1.3-megapixel resolution. The smartphone features a miniSD slot, and the PocketPC model features an SD card slot that accepts memory cards or a Wi-Fi card.
Other SP3i smartphone features include a 2.2-inch color display, joystick-like control, Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, Pocket Outlook, Pocket Word, Pocket Excel and MMS. The JAM PocketPC phone features 2.8-inch color touch screen, virtual QWERTY keyboard and handwriting recognition.