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Cingular Launches W-CDMA Smartphone

Atlanta — Cingular Wireless said it became the first U.S. carrier to announce availability of a W-CDMA smartphone.

Called the Samsung BlackJack, retailing for $199 depending on service plan, it is available exclusively through Cingular. BlackJack will be available along with the market’s first W-CDMA Pocket PC phone, also from Cingular, on Nov. 16. The phones incorporate high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) technology that accelerates downlink speeds to between 400-700Kbps with bursts to more than a 1Mbps. Uplink speeds run to 384Kbps. W-CDMA also delivers simultaneous voice and data.

The phones are quadband models capable of operating in GSM/GPRS/EDGE markets overseas and in the United States. They operate in W-CDMA mode in Cingular’s 134 W-CDMA markets in the U.S.

Cingular’s BlackJack is a slim, bar phone 0.46 inches thick. It’s based on the Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 smartphone edition platform, so it lacks a touch screen, but incorporates a QWERTY keyboard like the Motorola Q, marketed at $99 by Verizon.

BlackJack is targeted to enterprises as well as to prosumers who would use its A/V entertainment features, including ability to play subscription-music downloads transferred from PCs in the protected WMA format. It also features 1.3-megapixel camera.

It and the HTC-made PDA phone, the 8525, also offer 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. Both phones can also be used as a broadband wireless modem when connected to a laptop.

The models will be available Nov. 16 through Cingular-branded stores, select national retailers, Cingular’s Web site and Cingular’s B to B direct-sales team.

The 8525 Pocket PC phone is priced as low as $399, depending on service plan. It incorporates Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 5.0 PocketPC phone edition operating system, data-only 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and touch screen. Unlike other PDA phones, it sports a hidden back-lit QWERTY keyboard that slides out from the side for creating messages. When the keyboard is visible, the touch screen reorients itself into landscape mode.

Advantages of the PocketPC platform over the smartphone platform include touch screen, more processing power and ability to edit as well as view documents.