Danger was demonstrating a prototype of a color version of the hiptop wireless handheld at last week's 3GSM World Congress, according to Cnet.
T-Mobile has been offering the Danger Hiptop since October 1, though it calls the device the sidekick. The hiptop uses a 240 by 160 pixel, backlit, monochrome screen which pivots aside to reveal a small keyboard. It is a smartphone that uses GSM/GPRS networks, allowing it to access the Internet at up to 144 kbps, under ideal conditions.
Though the monochrome screen keeps the price of the hiptop down, Danger believes it is limiting customer interest in the device, especially in Europe. "The market in Europe has gone from monochrome to color, which is one of the reasons we don't have a device in that market," said the company's CEO Hank Nothhaft told Cnet.
According to Mr. Nothhaft, the color version of the hiptop should be available in Europe before the end of the year. He didn't say when a U.S. version will be available.
Color, once a luxury only for high-end handhelds, is becoming the standard, no matter what the price. Rumors have been circulating for months that Research in Motion is developing a color version of the Blackberry wireless device. There are indications that Sony is soon going to replace one of its last monochromome models, the SJ20, with a color version for the same low price. Toshiba is expected to announce a $200 color Pocket PC next month and Dell has said it will release a color model running the same operating system later this year for just $150.
The Danger Hiptop offers Web surfing, email, instant messenging, and a mobile phone. In addition, it has a calendar, address book, and to do list. The entire device is 4.5 by 2.6 by 1.1 inches and weighs 6 ounces.
The Sidekick's Web browser depends on a proxy server which reformats pages to fit the small screen. The instant messenging client is America Online's AIM. The Sidekick's operating system is multi-tasking, allowing users to both surf the Web and do instant messenging at the same time.
The PIM applications can be synchronized with an online service but not with programs on a PC. Contact and scheduling info can be exported from the desktop apps and uploaded to the online service but this isn't automatic and the data only goes one way.
The Sidekick has a 12-voice MIDI synthesizer that can simulate drums, strings and other musical instruments. Users can download ringtones and even assign ringtones to specific people in their address books.
According to the company, it can be used as a mobile phone for 3 hours of continuous use and 60 hours of standby time.
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