By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
The latest PDA phone unveiled by Hewlett-Packard is the industry's first to combine cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS technology in one device, the company said.
The iPAQ hw6900 is also the company's first PDA phone to use the latest PocketPC OS, called Windows Mobile 5.0, and the company's first to ship with Wi-Fi VoIP capability, thanks to included Skype Mobile software.
The quadband GSM/GPRS/EDGE device, due to U.S. carriers in the summer, is equipped with touch screen, QWERTY keyboard, Windows Media Player 10 A/V player for compatibility with subscription download services and 1.3-megapixel camera. With included Microsoft Pocket Streets 2006 mapping software and GPS receiver, users can find their location on a map in real time. Consumers who purchase HP iPAQ Navigation software and maps, included on a CD with 60-day free trial, also get voice-guided, turn-by-turn driving instructions. Consumers could also use other navigation software applications to get driving instructions, however.
Distribution plans weren't revealed, but in the past, HP has made previous PDA phones available on its Web site and through carriers.
With Windows Mobile 5.0, the iPAQ's data is retained even of the battery is drained or removed. Windows Mobile 5.0 also makes it unnecessary for enterprises to install middleware servers and software in their Microsoft e-mail networks, and it gives IT departments the ability to enforce IT policies over the air and to delete data from the device if it's lost or stolen.
The phone delivers up to four hours of cellular talktime or up to seven days of cellular standby.
In August 2004, Hewlett-Packard launched the industry's first PDA phones with embedded 802.11b Wi-Fi, but the Wi-Fi was limited to data delivery. The phones were the iPAQ h6315 with built-in VGA camera and the camera-less h6310. They ran on Microsoft's Windows Mobile 2003 Phone Edition OS.
They were available to consumers and to enterprise customers through all T-Mobile direct and indirect channels, and through HP's online store, at an initial everyday price of $499 with activation.
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