BenQ Mobile, the company formed in October last year when BenQ Corporation bought Siemens Mobile Devices, got CeBIT 2006 under way with a football-themed launch of six mobile phones, including a Windows Mobile 5-based smartphone with Wi-Fi and a GPS receiver built in. BenQ Mobile has also announced that it is to offer Google search applications on some of its phones.
The flagship model is the tri-band GSM and GPRS/EDGE BenQ-Siemens EL71. This is an ultra-slim slider phone that's just 16.5mm thick; the slider mechanism is semi-automatic, needing only a slight push to separate the top and the underside. The screen is a 2in. QVGA (240 by 320 pixel) TFT with 18-bit colour depth (262,144 colours), making for excellent visibility both indoors and out. Also on-board is a 1.3 megapixel digital camera, an MP3/AAC+ music player that you can connect to a hi-fi using an optional cable, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and a microSD card slot to complement the on-board 16MB of RAM. The EL71 will be available in April 2006, initially with a 'Quartz-Anthracite' finish, and later in 'Opal Black' too. Pricing is not yet available for the UK.
For business users, the Windows Mobile 5-based P51 smartphone looks the most interesting of the new lineup. Not only does the P51 deliver all of the standard business features built into Windows Mobile 5, but it also includes Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) and a GPS receiver. The latter features allow the P51 to be used for free Voice over IP (VoIP) calls via Skype when at a Wi-Fi hotspot, and for navigation (when coupled with optional route-finding software) respectively. A large 2.83in. QVGA TFT touchscreen with 16-bit colour depth (65,536 colours) helps to make the most of this functionality, and there's a full QWERTY keypad below the screen for longer data entry tasks.
The BenQ-Siemens P51 is a quad-band GSM 'world' phone with GPRS, and includes Bluetooth and USB for local connectivity; it comes with 128MB of SDRAM and 128MB of flash memory, and has an SDIO-compliant SD card slot for further expansion; there's also an integrated 1.3 megapixel camera with an LED flashlight. The P51 weighs 170g and BenQ Mobile claims up to 4 hours' talk time and 150 hours on standby. The silver-liveried P51 will be available in July, at a price yet to be announced.
Four other phones complete the new BenQ Mobile lineup: the C81 majors on multimedia; the E61 is a music phone; the CF61 emphasises photography; and the CL71 is another stylish slider phone.