HP Prepping iPAQ with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Mobile Phone

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Until recently, it was thought Hewlett Packard had dropped its plans for a Pocket PC with an integrated mobile phone. Now it looks like the company has changed its mind again.

According to Mobile Commerce World, Raymond Wah, vice-president of HP’s mobile business unit for the Asia-Pacific, said his company will be releasing a new iPAQ model with include not only mobile phone functionality but also Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Though Mr. Wah didn’t say whether the handheld he was referring to would be GSM/GPRS or CDMA, the most widely used wireless standard in the Asia-Pacific region is GSM/GPRS.

This is expected to be available some time in 2004. No other details about this device are available at this time.

At last month’s 2003 Sprint Users Forum, HP representatives were saying that their company and Sprint are working together to create an an iPAQ that will be able to connect with Sprint’s networks. It is not known if this device will be a CDMA version of the one Mr. Wah is referring to.

Is WANDA Involved?

It’s possible this device will be based on a design by Texas Instruments. Earlier this year, TI announced it had created a reference design for a handheld that included Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GSM/GPRS in a single device. Code named WANDA for Wireless Any Network Digital Assistant, handhelds based on this design would be powered by TI’s OMAP processors.

This wouldn’t be the first time HP based a handheld on a TI processor. The Jornada 928 WDA also uses an OMAP chip.

Whether it is based on WANDA or not, this wireless device is going to face some competition from Dell. Late last month, a Dell executive said his company was working with Good Technologies to create a handheld offers both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and can also connect to 2.5G wireless networks. This model also isn’t expected to be released until 2004.

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