HP launches colour phone-PDA

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) launched a PDA (personal digital assistant) with integrated cell phone and color display for the European and Japanese markets at the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes Tuesday.

The HP Jornada 928 WDA is designed for GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) and GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) networks and is expected to be commercially available in May or June, said Jurgen Anthoni, HP’s Jornada wireless product manager for Europe. The device runs Microsoft Corp.’s Pocket PC Phone Edition software.

The device looks more like a PDA than a cell phone, similar to the Jornada 568 PDA but with a small monochrome screen in one corner that gives the cell phone information such as coverage, text messages received and phone numbers, Anthoni said.

The device can be used as a phone in three ways: by holding the device to one’s ear, via a headset or in speakerphone mode, Anthoni said.

The product is aimed at the business user, giving access to business applications and e-mail, Anthoni said. The “out of the box” product will support Microsoft e-mail applications but third party applications are available for access to other e-mail systems including Lotus Notes.

“After hours, the business user becomes a consumer, so it includes multiplayer games and MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) too,” Anthoni said.

The Jornada 928 has 32M bytes of Flash ROM and 64M bytes of RAM, and uses Texas Instruments Inc.’s OMAP710 integrated GSM/GPRS modem and application processor, according to an HP statement

HP is working with U.K. mobile phone operator Orange PLC on testing of the voice and data services.

A version of the Jornada 928 WDA will be developed later this year for the U.S. market, Anthoni said, but the European and Japanese markets are more mature and their wireless infrastructure more advanced, making these markets more attractive, Anthoni said.

The estimated retail price is US$873 including VAT (value added tax) but the final price will be determined by operators who will bundle it with air time contracts, Anthoni said.

HP, in Palo Alto, Calif., is at http://www.hp.com/. Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash., is at http://www.microsoft.com/. .