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T-Mobile phone trumps iPhone with Wi-Fi offering

Posted: 24 May 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Wi-Fi technology? Bluetooth? T-mobile phone?

Apple's iPhone is facing another challenger.

T-Mobile unveiled May 22 a Wi-Fi-equipped mobile phone developed by Taiwan's High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC), and the first U.S. phone to run Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6 OS.

Like the iPhone, which is scheduled to ship next month, the Wing operates on relatively slow GSM-based wireless infrastructures. Wi-Fi technology gives the phones access to high-speed data networks. It also has a 2.8-inch diagonal color display made up of 240 x 320 pixels and features music and video playback capabilities.

The Wing, which features a full slide-out qwerty keyboard, was developed exclusively for T-Mobile and is available for $299 with a two-year contract. T-Mobile said the new phone also offers extended battery life, a 2Mpixel camera and Bluetooth connectivity.

MS Office support
Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6 connects easily with Microsoft Office documents and HTML e-mail, enabling users to use e-mail in original HTML format with live links to Internet sites. A Microsoft Live Search function can be used for online searches.

In addition, the Wi-Fi capability will let users connect to the Internet for high-speed access. While there are a handful of Wi-Fi-enabled mobile phones on the market, mobile phone service providers have been reluctant to market them because they can support free or inexpensive VoIP phone calls.

As the mobile phone market becomes even more competitive, T-Mobile and AT&T are striving to break out from their slower GSM-based infrastructure. They have faster network architectures under development, but Wi-Fi capability gives them a quick fix. Verizon Wireless, Alltel and Sprint already offer high-speed data access through their advanced CDMA2000 EV-DO service, which is still an expensive option for users.

Also in Europe
While T-Mobile's Wing is the first phone built by HTC that's equipped with Microsoft Windows Mobile 6 to go on sale in the United States, HTC notes that it has been selling similarly-equipped phones in Europe for months. Earlier, HTC had developed the MDA phone for T-Mobile.

"The T-Mobile Wing is 30 percent smaller than its predecessor, the T-Mobile MDA, and is packed with broad functionality that enables users to experience the best in connectivity, productivity and mobility," said Todd Achilles, VP of HTC America, in a statement.

- W. David Gardner

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