Rumors of MDA 4
Before the MDA 3 has even made it to release, there’s already a rumor circulating about a fourth iteration of the T-Mobile MDA series. The new rumor, originating with MSMobiles.com, states that the MDA 4 will add a 624 MHz processor, a VGA screen, and support for the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System, or UMTS, standard. UMTS is the next generation equivalent of GSM/GPRS, offering voice calls as well as data service at higher speeds–theoretically up to 2 Mbits per second, but in practice more like 384 Kbits/second. The rumor also lists a release date of the first half of 2005.
There’s a couple problems with this. One, the MDA 3 hasn’t even been released yet, so it’s a little early to have even so much as planning specs on the MDA 4. Two, UMTS is a rather sketchy proposition. It needs a lot of battery juice, a lot of circuit space, and UMTS networks are still small and relatively scattered. Not to mention the fact that UMTS is also ludicrously expensive, into the hundreds of dollars per month. The net point of this is that UMTS isn’t a truly practical proposition, at least not yet, and I can’t see T-Mobile going to all the time and effort to produce a UMTS-equipped PPC Phone.
Verizon officially launches Treo 600
After a long time coming, the Treo 600 has finally cleared Verizon’s labyrinthian certification process, and is now becoming available through Verizon outlets. Expected consumer pricing is $499 with a one year contract, $449 with a two year contract–quite steep for a nearly year-old device. Verizon is also expected to later offer the camera-less Treo 600B variant.
Compal to sell own brand PocketPCs; Toshiba out?
Taiwan-based manufacturer Compal is branching out into the retail market with a new PocketPC design. The device, called the Palmax z720, features integrated GPS, 128 MB RAM, and Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition. Since there’s no solid information when or if the unit will be available outside Asia, the hardware itself isn’t that compelling. The more interesting side-effect of their new-found independance is the substantial boost it has given to rumors that Toshiba is withdrawing from the handheld computer market. Previously, Compal manufactured PocketPCs for resale under the Toshiba brand. Though these rumors have yet to be confirmed, the fact that Compal is going independant may signal an end to that arrangement.