Nuggets has managed to get a sneaky peek at the Sagem WA3050, that PDA/mobile phone combo gadget proudly announced by Microsoft and French manufacturer Sagem last Thursday.
The pair claim that the WA3050 is the world's first voice-enabled Pocket PC. Basically, they've added mobile phone capability (GSM and GPRS) to a Pocket PC running CE 3.0 to come up with a connect device that fits in your pocket. Could our old chum convergence really be on the cards?
Visually the Sagem is a sci-fi treat. The front, which is almost totally dedicated to the touch-screen display, is about the same size as an old-style Walkman but the whole thing is only 1cm thick. The case is metallic silver, and there are a few shiny buttons below the display to ease navigation.
To be honest, the WA3050 looks strikingly similar to Trium's Mondo, another PDA and phone combination gadget that also runs on Windows CE 3.0.
So, what do you actually get for your money (a not-inconsequential £600, alas)? Well, on the voice side, it's an end to laboriously typing numbers into your phone memory, as you'll be able to synch with the Outlook contacts on your PC. There's a decent-sounding speaker phone option, and while GPRS should give you faster access to data, the dual-band GSM will let you chat in those backwaters where GPRS hasn't yet appeared.
Unlike those pesky WAP phones, the Sagem's screen is easily big enough to cope with data display. Both HTML and WAP pages, cos it's got a WAP browser and the Pocket version of Internet Explorer. The text-wrapping seemed spot-on, and you should be able to view both corporate and personal email, and open attachments in Pocket Office.
Shame it's mono, mind you, but we guess a colour screen would bump the price even higher. We also got a look at a Stinger phone, which will be colour, but don't expect to see any of them until the middle of next year,
One funky function is the option to turn off the phone side of things, and just utilise the Sagem as a pocket PC -- which means it can be used on an aeroplane without landing you in the clink.
Microsoft raves about the potential applications for the Sagem. You could slip a GPS (global positioning service) card into the CompactFlash (CF) slot, or monitor the stock market in real-time by using the speed and always-on potential of GPRS.
So, it sounds pretty cool and should ship early in 2001 at around £600 (inc VAT). If you want to know more, you could take a peek at www.sagem.com/en/.
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