Preview – Hitachi Multimedia Communicator Pocket PC

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We’ve got a pretty good idea now what the new Hitachi PDA will look like and what’s under the hood. The new Pocket PC Phone Edition is also due out before July on the Sprint network.

Hitachi Multimedia Communicator Pocket PC

Further, early indications are that this unit may be a Sprint exclusive. If that’s the case, I think we may rule out the new Samsung on the Sprint network. I doubt Microsoft wants to get in bed with a single provider with their new CDMA PDA phones. That’s simply too many, in this case two, eggs in one basket.

So the good news for Sprint PCS users is that the Hitachi is stacked. The QWERTY keypad looks a lot like Rim’s keypad. I’m wondering if they licensed it or if there’s another lawsuit on the way. There’s also an integrated camera, which should meet or beat the quality of the Clie NX70V. Those two features are pretty key as they are supposed to be tightly integrated with the email program (Outlook) and Sprint’s PCS Vision service to offer the ultimate on-the-go multimedia package.

“The new Hitachi Pocket PC device is planned to not only deliver Sprint customers high-speed, wireless access to corporate data and the Internet, but provide the necessary built-in tools and device features — such as a keyboard and camera — to quickly and easily take action. A smart device, such as the Hitachi Pocket PC device, is just one tool in the suite of solutions offered through the PCS Clear Wireless Workplace that helps ensure that mobile professionals who use Sprint service are more productive and given an advantage in the ever-increasingly competitive world of business,” said John Garcia, senior vice president of sales and distribution for the PCS division of Sprint.

Here’s a quick rundown of what we know about the insides of the Hitachi. Keep in mind these details are always subject to change, but this list looks pretty solid.

Manufacturer: Hitachi
Model: Multimedia Communicator Pocket PC
Description: Hitachi’s first Windows(R) Powered device and the first Pocket PC to feature an integrated camera, keyboard and phone feature all in one mobile device. The Multimedia Communicator combines the comprehensive functionalities of a Pocket PC, with the high-speed enhanced Sprint Nationwide PCS Network to deliver the ability to take pictures, provide comfortable text input for e-mails with a built-in keyboard, place and receive phone calls, and browse the Web. Based on the new Microsoft(R) Windows Powered Pocket PC Phone Edition software for CDMA networks, the Multimedia Communicator is expected to be available in the first half of 2003 only from Sprint.
Released: 5/1/2003
Operating System: Microsoft Windows for Pocket PC Phone Edition
Processor: XScale 400MHz
Telecom: Integrated – CDMA network
RAM: 64MB RAM
Expansion Slot: One SDIO slot
Battery Type: Replacable Lithium Ion
Audio Out: Speaker, stereo jack
Audio In: Microphone
Display: full-color TFT screen
Keyboard: Integrated QWERTY thumbpad
Handwriting Recognition: Yes
Digital Camera: Yes
Software Included: Pocket Outlook(R) (contacts, calendar, inbox), pocket versions of Microsoft Word and Excel, Pocket Internet Explorer browser software, Windows Media(TM) Player, phone dialer and more

So the last big question is how much? We don’t know yet, but there’s no reason to think this one comes in at less than $700. If you don’t have a Sprint plan, you might be able to get some cash back after it’s been out for a bit, but everyone else, get ready to pay full price. No competing vendors means a pretty static price…oh well, wonder if it will be worth it?

Brian

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