COMPUTEX: Windows CE and Linux Wi-Fi Mobile Phones (pics)

by Reads (8,248)

While at Computex I came across a couple of interesting phones, one of which is Windows CE based and the other uses an embedded Linux OS.  WiGo will be making the Windows based Wi-Fi phone and Wistron Communications (a division of Wistron computers) will be releasing the other.  These phones will not be GSM, or CDMA initially; just pure wi-fi using voice over WLAN technology.  Not very useful for the car, but they could work well in an office or home as a cheap way to communicate.

First let’s look at the Wistron device dubbed the SRP-81, this is slated for a Q3 release as a pure wi-fi solution phone and later on they’re looking at releasing a GSM/Wi-Fi phone in the same form factor and similar specs:

Wistron SRP-81 Wi-Fi Phone (view larger image)

Wistron Wi-Fi Phone Specs

  • 1.8″ TFT 256 color LCD with 160 x 128 resolution
  • 802.11 b/g WLAN
  • SIP v2 signalling protocol, RFC-3261
  • WEP/WPA/WPA2 security built in
  • WMM QoS mechanism
  • USB charging interface
  • Voice over LAN @ 2.4GHz ISM band (aka VoIP)
  • 5-way navigation pad
  • Changeable wallpaer and greeting message
  • Local phone book
  • Call log / Speed dial / Alarm
  • Call Transfer / Wait / Hold / Forward
  • Internet clock synch (SNTP)
  • Multilanguage
  • Wireless LAN Site Survey
  • PING utility for network probing
  • Software upgrade over wireless
  • EMail via POP/SMTP

The Wistron representative I spoke to said this phone was just about completed and they are testing it now.  They had a version 1.0 wi-fi phone product last year that never got released, but he said this device will definitely become available.  A U.S. release or availability is unknown, but the gentleman did say if it were to be sold in the U.S. it would be branded and sold through U.S. carriers (Sprint, T-Mobile, Cingular etc.).  I’m guessing the chances of us seeing this stateside is slim, Europe and Asia might have a chance of seeing this though.

Two Wi-Fi phones with specs above them (view larger image)

Now here’s a look at the Windows CE based Wi-Fi phone to be released in Q3 by WiGo. 

WiGO 800 Windows CE Wi-Fi Phone (view larger image)

WiGO 800 Specs

  • Windows CE OS
  • Intel PXA 27X
  • 64MB RAM
  • Built-in 64MB flash memory
  • 2.3″ QVGA color screen
  • 802.11 b/g/e Wi-Fi (yes, e)
  • Support WPA & 802.11i for WLAN
  • Support 802.11e for QoS
  • Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery, 1500 mAh 3.6v
  • Wi-Fi Only Phone Release Date: Q3 2005
  • GSM/Wi-FI Phone Release Date: Q4 2005

Although the specs are fairly detailed, this product was on display within the Microsoft Windows Mobile floor show space area of Computex and there was no “WiGO” representative to be seen or anyway of asking to get this product out of the case it was displayed in.  Using Google I found this company website: http://www.wigobyte.com, that would appear to be the company responsible for this phone.  But according to their site they’re all about MP3 player products, none of which I’ve heard of.  So this all seems a little odd, and potential vaporware, we’ll see if that’s the case pretty soon as Q3 is just 3 months away.

My biggest question on both of these devices is, who out there can justify purchasing a pure wi-fi only mobile phone device and how good will the voice-quality be on these things?  You couldn’t use it outside of a wi-fi covered area (aka, inside or close to a building with wireless).  Furthermore, I’m not clear on how the business model works, what the reseller model is or what the target market is for these phones.  So on the whole, I guess I’m just confused by what these manufacturers are trying to sell us…other than something that sounds kind of cool in words and maybe theory.

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