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AT&T Launches Split-Personality Duo

New York — Pantech teamed up with AT&T Wireless to launch the U.S. market’s first Windows Mobile dual-slider smartphone, which the companies contend is targeted equally at business users and the youth market.

The aptly named Duo, available at $199 with two-year contract, slides open vertically to reveal an alphanumeric keypad, but it also slides open horizontally to reveal a separate QWERTY keyboard. Because of included business- and consumer-oriented applications, the device is the “first true crossover device,” contended Pantech chief marketing officer S. Jay Yim.

Kent Mathy, president of AT&T’s business markets group, claimed the device doesn’t compromise on functionality for either the business or youthful user. For business users, he pointed to the device’s Windows Mobile 6 Standard OS applications; personal and enterprise push email capability; and support for Microsoft’s Mobile Device Manager, a mobile-dedicated server that companies can use to upload new applications over the air as well as connect employees via Mobile VPN (virtual private network) with security-enhanced access.

For the youth market, the device features push personal email service, instant messaging and access to all of AT&T’s audio and video services, including streaming music and video services and over-the-air downloads of songs via AT&T’s eMusic service and soon-to-be-launched Napster service.

The Duo is roughly similar in appearance to the consumer-oriented Ocean made by Pantech for Helio, the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that uses a CDMA 1x network, but that device is strictly consumer-oriented, said Pantech GSM sales VP Patrick Beattie.

The dual-slider configuration, Yim noted, makes it unnecessary for wireless users to carry two phones: a wide phone optimized for messaging with a QWERTY keyboard and a narrow phone optimized for voice calling with dialing keypad.

The Duo expands AT&T’s selection of phones equipped with W-CDMA high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA), which allows for simultaneous voice and data transmissions and operates at theoretical speeds of 3.6Mbps in more than 200 AT&T markets. It will deliver data at average real-world speeds of 600kbps to 1.4Mbps, AT&T said.

The duo operates in GSM/EDGE mode in the 850, 900, 1,800 and 1,900MHz bands for use in and outside the United States and in HSDPA mode in the U.S. 850 and 1,900MHz bands.

The Duo is Pantech’s sixth phone for AT&T, and for AT&T, it’s the fifth Windows Mobile phone with either W-CDMA or its HSDPA enhancement, said Mathy. “We have more Windows Mobile devices than anyone else,” he added.

The device is available in AT&T-branded stores, select national retailers, AT&T’s business-to-business channels and on AT&T’s online store.