Back in the days before it acquired Compaq, HP made the Jornada line of Pocket PCs. To many, one of the best features of these models was their flipcovers.
Unfortunately, when HP and Compaq merged the Jornada line was discontinued... and so was the use of flipcovers on HP handhelds.
Since then, one of the most requested features for HP's iPAQ line has been the return of flipcovers.
Of course, the hx4700 is one of these. Its flipcover attaches to the left side and can be flipped around to the back.
This model will soon be joined by the iPAQ hx2000 series. According to photos that were leaked to Brighthand, the handhelds in this series will also include flipcovers.
These will be translucent plastic and connect near the top of the Pocket PCs, allowing them to be flipped up and out of the way (see picture at right).
Flipcovers are popular because they are a compromise between a full case and carrying one's handheld "naked."
A flipcover adds less bulk than a full case does. This is important, considering most handheld users carry their device with them almost everywhere.
While a flipcover doesn't provide as much protection as a case, it does protect the handheld's most delicate part, the screen. Carrying a handheld around without any kind of screen protection leaves open the possibility of the screen getting scratched up by other items being carried in the same pocket. There's also the possibility of the display being broken from pressure being placed on it.
In addition, when a flipcover is transparent or translucent, it's possible to look at one's handheld and, for example, check to see what alarm has just gone off without even opening the flipcover. This isn't possible with leather or aluminum case.
According to previous rumors, the flagship of the series is going to be the hx2700 (see picture at right). This model will include biometric security in the form of a fingerprint scanner like the one that is on the iPAQ h5550. The h5000 series is being phased out, so the hx2700 will take its place.
Supposedly, the hx2700 will include Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition, 128 MB of RAM, and 128 MB of ROM. Half of this ROM space will go towards a 64 MB file store. It will use an XScale processor running at 624 MHz.
It will reportedly offer both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, as well as a CompactFlash slot and an SD/MMC slot that supports SDIO. It will be bundled with a cradle.
One of the primary things separating this model from the hx4700 is that this one will include only a 3.5-inch QVGA screen.
The iPAQ hx2700 is expected to be released in November for $550.
There will also be one or two other models in this series, but details on these are sketchy. None of them is expected to have a fingerprint scanner, and they will also likely have slower processors and less memory.
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