Microsoft Smartphone 2003 debuts in Taiwan

A Taiwanese manufacturer has unveiled the first clamshell smartphone based on Microsoft's latest mobile operating system

Taiwanese manufacturer Mitac on Monday unveiled its first handset based on Microsoft Smartphone 2003 at the Computex trade show in Taiwan.

The Mio 8390 is Mitac's second Windows CE-based smartphone, a follow-up to the Mio 8380 unveiled in June. Both devices are colour-screen clamshell handsets with built-in cameras, similar to Motorola's planned Microsoft-based smartphones.

Microsoft has positioned itself to begin to make a dent in the smartphone market, largely through allying itself with contract manufacturers such as Mitac and High Tech Computer (HTC), which manufactures a Microsoft device sold by Orange. The most serious competition so far is the Symbian OS, which is used in smartphones from most of the major mobile phone manufacturers.

Mitac claims that the 8390 will be the first Smartphone 2003 handset available, but rival HTC made a similar claim of its Dopod 515, unveiled last month and destined for the Chinese market. The Dopod 515 is based on the same reference design as Orange's HTC-manufactured SPV.

Availability details of the Mitac device were not announced.

The Mio 8390 features a 200MHz Intel "Dalhart" processor, a 65,000-colour TFT LCD display, MMS support, Java MIDP 2.0 support, a VGA digital camera and a Secure Digital/Multi-Media Card reader for expansion.

Aside from standard phone functions, it includes the PDA-like features that are the hallmark of Microsoft's smartphone platform, including mobile versions of Internet Explorer and Outlook. Smartphone 2003, like the latest update of Pocket PC for handheld computers, is based on Windows CE .Net 4.2.

The 8380 has been shipping mainly to Asian markets so far, having shipped about 80,000 units so far, and is set for a European launch this autumn. It is unlikely the handset will be sold in the US. Mitac said the Netherlands, Belgium and France would be the first European markets for the 8380.

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