A couple of weeks ago, rumors surfaced of a HP smartphone. Reports citing “people briefed on the plan,” said the company would soon be launching a smartphone that was supposed to hit European markets in the next two months and be targeted at your everyday consumer as opposed to HP’s usual corporate market.
Aside from that tidbit of information, there wasn’t much else to go on other than the phone would be the next in HP’s iPaq line of handsets. We were skeptical as to whether or not HP’s device would make any impact on the smartphone market, but now the devices are here for early analysis.
Not the only company to do an about face and target another market completely (for example, iPhone goes after business users, BlackBerry goes after social users), we figured HP’s only way to garner some attention was to come up with something very innovative on the design front.
One of the huge factors with smartphones is whether or not they have a touch screen or a physical keypad. HP has solved this problem by releasing one of each. Both phones are attractive and both look like a cross between the HTC Touch and a navy blue BlackBerry.
The Data Manager comes with both a touch screen and a slide out QWERTY keyboard. It features an 2.8 inch QVGA screen, HSDPA mobile broadband, built-in GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a 3.1 Megapixel camera with LED flash. It also comes with 128 MB RAM, 256 ROM and the option for microSD expansion. Specs for the Voice Messenger are similar (with the same Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS functionality) however the Voice Messenger ditches the touch screen and slide out keypad in favour of a 20 key layout similar to the suretype keypad on the BlackBerry Pearl. Both will run on Windows Mobile 6.1.
The iPaq Voice Messenger costs £333 (SIM-free) and is due to ship to Europe in mid-November, while the iPaq Data Messenger costs £399 (SIM-free) and will be available from the end of November.