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Startup Velocity Launches PDA Phones

Las Vegas — Startup Velocity Mobile, based in Seattle and London, is appearing at CTIA 2008 with its first products in a portfolio said to focus on simplifying the Windows Mobile OS experience.

The company, whose founders worked for Microsoft or Microsoft partners, plans to show two GSM/W-CDMA/HSPA touchscreen phones based on the Windows Mobile 6 Professional OS. The company plans in three months to offer them to U.S. distributors to market to carriers on an unlocked basis to retailers, and it anticipates by next March to expand its selection to five devices, possibly including combination HSPA/CDMA 1x worldphones.

The company’s first two devices, made for it by notebook-PC maker Inventec of Taiwan, are the 103 and 111, both with full-VGA displays and GPS navigation. The 103 features large touchscreen, a navigation button, and hard send and end buttons that double as soft keys. The 111 features smaller touchscreen and hard QWERTY keyboard. Both are quad-band GSM/EDGE phones operating worldwide in the 850, 900, 1800 and 1900MHz bands, but they also incorporate triband W-CDMA HSPA (high-speed packet access) in the U.S. 850/1900MHz bands and overseas 2.1GHz band. The phones are capable of theoretical download speeds up to 7.2Mbps and upload speeds up to 2.2Mbps, the company said. W-CDMA HSDPA (high-speed downlink packet access) phones currently available to U.S. consumers feature slower download (up to 3.6Mbps) and download speeds.

To simplify Windows Mobile devices to bring them to a wider audience beyond enterprise users and pro-sumers, Velocity is placing icons on the top screen to allow for one-click access to such key applications as Web browsing, Microsoft Live Search location searches, turn-by-turn navigation, and replying to SMS messages, said president David Hayes. In addition, Velocity is incorporating weather and geo-coding applications, Microsoft Live Mapping for turn-by-turn driving instructions and handset-to-laptop connectivity via Wi-Fi. The devices also simplifying the use of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and camera functions, he said, and they connect to TVs to display stored video.