The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has given Dell permission to release in the U.S. a version of the Axim X3i with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. A version of this model with just Wi-Fi was launched in October.
Aside from the addition of Bluetooth wireless networking, this model will be essentially identical to the current X3i. It will run Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC on a 400 MHz processor and have 64 MB of RAM and 64M bytes of ROM.
On Again, Off Again
The original design of the X3i sported Bluetooth as well as Wi-Fi. When Dell submitted the Axim X3i to the FCC for approval the first time, the device had Bluetooth. In fact, the units that are in consumers’ hands now have a Bluetooth logo on their antenna, despite the fact that this short-range wireless networking standard isn’t part of the current model.
In October, a Dell spokesperson said her company decided to cut Bluetooth out of the original design during user testing, as people felt the integrated Wi-Fi was good enough. The cost of adding both wireless networking standards was also a factor. Therefore, at that time, Dell asked the FCC to only approve a Wi-Fi version, though a version with both had been submitted.
However, the Dell spokesperson also said in October that her company intends to release a model with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth by the middle of this year. Getting FCC permission is an important part of doing this so Dell resubmitted its request to this government agency that must approve all wireless devices.
It is not known at this time when this new version will be released or at what cost. The current Axim X3i model sells for $379.