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Cingular Bows First W-CDMA PDA Phone

Atlanta — Cingular Wireless will become the first U.S. cellular carrier to offer a W-CDMA PDA phone, which incorporates high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) technology.

W-CDMA delivers simultaneous voice and data, and the HSDPA upgrade accelerates downlink speeds to 400-700Kbps with bursts to more than a 1Mbps. Uplink speeds run to 384Kbps.

The PDA phone is the HTC-made 8525, which uses Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 5.0 PocketPC phone edition operating system, data-only 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and a touch screen. Unlike other PDA phones, it also sports a hidden back-lit QWERTY keyboard that slides out from the side. When the keyboard is visible, the touch screen reorients itself into landscape mode.

The 8525 is also Cingular’s first widely available phone to offer GPS-based turn-by-turn driving and walking
instructions, available through a TeleNav application and separate Bluetooth-equipped GPS receiver available from Cingular at $99.

Advantages of the Windows Mobile PocketPC platform over Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 5.0 smartphone edition platform includes the touchscreen, more processing power and ability to edit as well as view documents. The PDA phone can also be used as a broadband wireless modem when connected to a laptop.

The phone is a quad-band model capable of operating in GSM/GPRS/EDGE markets overseas and in the United States. It operates in W-CDMA/HSDPA mode in Cingular’s 134 W-CDMA markets in the U.S.

It’s priced as low as $399, depending on service plan, beginning Nov. 16 in Cingular-branded stores, select national retailers, Cingular’s Web site and Cingular’s B2B direct sales team.

Other key features of the 8525 PDA phone include Microsoft’s Direct Push Technology, Good Mobile Messaging, and Cingular’s Xpress Mail, which push new e-mail and updates of calendar, tasks and contacts from a user’s enterprise desktop. The device also features a 2-megapixel digital camera and MicroSD card slot.