The Trium Mondo, which hit the shops this week, will give consumers some much-needed choice in the smartphone market.
The Mondo, which runs Microsoft's Pocket PC software, is a handheld computer with build-in GPRS mobile phone functionality. It has a large monochrome touchscreen and contains 16MB of Ram. It will link to BT's GPRS network at speeds of up to 40kbit/s, giving users an "always-on" connection that is faster than a GSM link.
Users will be able to run pocket versions of Microsoft software such as Outlook, Word and Windows Media player -- allowing them to listen to digital music files. The Mondo also ships with a hands-free headset, and will cost between £400 to £500 with a contract.
A recent ZDNet review found that the Mondo, which weighs 200g, was well-featured and particularly suitable for professionals who regularly work away from the office. However, with a maximum talk time of three hours, or 100 hours on standby, the battery life was disappointing.
Currently, users who are looking for a device that combines PDA and mobile phone functionality have very few choices. One is the Nokia 9210 Communicator, which shipped back in June and boasts a colour screen. Siemens should ship its SX45 PDA soon -- although according to reports it won't have GPRS until this autumn.
Trium, which is a division of Mitsubishi Electric, has attracted much attention since it began showing off models of the Mondo last year, as enthusiasts look forward to the convergence of mobile phones and PDAs. Take-up of GPRS has suffered from the late launch of consumer networks, and a lack of handsets. The arrival of the Mondo should go some way to encouraging interest in GPRS.
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