Orange rolls out its first wireless PDA

Following up its line of Windows-powered smartphones, Orange is aiming for business users with a new SPV

Mobile operator Orange this week began selling its first wireless handheld computer, the SPV M1000, complementing its line of Windows-powered SPV smartphones.

The M1000 is based on a reference design from Taiwan contract manufacturer High Tech Computer (HTC), and is similar to O2's HTC-manufactured Xda II -- both double a as tri-band (900/1800/1900 MHz) GSM / GPRS mobile phone and a Bluetooth-enabled PocketPC PDA. Unlike the Xda II, the M1000 does not offer Wi-Fi.

The M1000 includes standard PocketPC software, with handheld versions of Word, Excel, Outlook and Adobe Acrobat Reader, and is compatible with overhead projectors. It uses a QVGA (240 x 320) 16-bit transflective display, weighs 190g and measures 130 x 70 x 18 mm.

Powered by a 400MHz Intel Xscale processor with 128MB RAM, the device offers SMS, multimedia messaging, email, instant messaging, Web browsing and image capture via a built-in VGA camera.

The replaceable 1200 mAh battery provides 3.5 hours of talk time, 6.5 days of standby or 12 hours of PDA usage, Orange estimates.

Orange was first to launch a mobile phone based on Microsoft's Smartphone platform, in the shape of the original SPV (see review). That handset was followed with a revamp, and later with a third version that added a built-in camera and Bluetooth capabilities. Orange's SPV mobile phones compete with Symbian OS-powered devices from most major mobile phone manufacturers and with Palm OS-powered phones from PalmSource licensees.

Smartphones -- which offer some PDA features but are voice-centric -- have taken off in recent months, with shipments rising to nearly twice those of data-centric devices like the M1000, according to January figures from Canalys. However, wireless PDAs have found growing popularity in businesses, and Orange is marketing the M1000 to business users.