O2's new xda IIs will be available in the UK and Ireland on 1 November at a cost of around £449 (inc. VAT). Its standout feature is a slide-out 39-key QWERTY keyboard, which is designed to make it easier to use the on-board email, contact management, calendar and text messaging software.
The new device retains many of the core features of the popular xda II, a Pocket PC with a built-in mobile phone. But O2 claims that the upgraded product will deliver 25 per cent longer battery life, offering four hours' talk time and 168 hours on standby.
The xda IIs will run the Second Edition of Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Phone Edition operating system. The new model adds Wi-Fi (802.11b) to its predecessor's Bluetooth and infrared, bringing it right up to date as far as wireless connectivity is concerned. However, the built-in digital camera remains a 0.3-megapixel, VGA-resolution unit.
The integrated GSM/GPRS mobile phone gets an upgrade to quad-band (850/900/1800/1900MHz) status, making the xda IIs a true 'world phone'. The device's ROM is increased from 64MB to 96MB, but the processor and memory remain the same as before -- Intel's 400MHz XScale PXA263 and 128MB of SDRAM respectively.
Early in 2005, the xda IIs will support Research In Motion’s BlackBerry Connect, allowing email to be pushed to the device from corporate servers or via Web-based services.
Coming soon…xda IIi
O2 has also announced an even more powerful device -- xda IIi, which is due to ship early in 2005. The xda IIi will be based on a 520MHz Intel PXA270 processor, and will feature a 1.3 megapixel camera. No further details are available at this time.