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PocketPC Phone Gets Keyboard

Hauppauge, N.Y. — The U.S. market’s first PocketPC-based PDA phone with slide-out QWERTY keyboard will be available Oct. 1 from Sprint PCS.

The phone is marketed by UTStarcom’s personal communications division, formerly Audiovox Communications, and it’s the U.S. market’s first PDA phone based on the latest Microsoft OS, called Windows Mobile 5.0 for PocketPC, said marketing VP Katie Wasserman.

The 6700, made by Taiwan’s HTC, will carry only the Sprint name and will be available through direct and indirect channels at a suggested $629, but Sprint is offering $150 in instant savings on its Web site to bring the price down to $479.99.

The PPC-6700 will be UTStarcom’s second PocketPC phone available in the United States with high-speed CDMA 1x EV-DO data technology. The company’s first, the PPC-5050, became available through Verizon and Sprint earlier this year with touch screen but no hardware-based keyboard.

In the 6700, the keyboard slides out of the side, automatically reorienting the color display to landscape mode. It also features built-in Wi-Fi for data communications and Bluetooth for use with Bluetooth headsets and car kits. Bluetooth for data transfers to Bluetooth-enabled laptops and desktop computers will be enabled with a future software release.

The handset operates in EV-DO mode and supports broadband-like speeds where Sprint’s wireless high-speed data (EV-DO) is available, currently in more than 75 markets in limited footprints. It provides 1XRTT throughput speeds in areas where EV-DO service is not yet available.

Embedded Wi-Fi lets users connect in thousands of domestic and international Sprint-service Wi-Fi hot spots operated by Sprint or having roaming agreements with Sprint.

Other features include Bluetooth, stereo headset output, 1.3-megapixel camera/MPEG-4 camcorder, built-in flash, MiniSD slot, mini USB port, 2.8-inch 65K-color 240 by 320 TFT-LCD screen, hard button to launch the Web browser, dedicated camera button, voice recorder and lithium ion battery delivering up to 4.7 hours of continuous talk time or more than 200 hours of standby time.

The 6700 also features Windows Media 10 to play PC-downloaded protected music, including subscription downloads, in WMA format. Another UTStarcom phone, the SMT5600 GSM smartphone, also plays protected WMA downloads, but neither phone downloads music over the air.

The PPC-6700 weighs 6.1 ounces and is 4.25 inches by 2.32 inches by 0.93 inches. It operates digitally in the 800/1900MHz bands and lacks 800MHz analog radio.

Separately, UTStarcom launched the Snapper, which it makes for mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Virgin Mobile. The MVNO was expected in September to begin selling the CDMA 1x clamshell phone, which will carry only the Virgin name at a suggested $149.

The Snapper is Virgin’s first phone to support AOL instant messaging and its second with a built-in camera, UTStarcom said.