Release Date Slips for HTC Universal Clamshell Pocket PC Phone

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When T-Mobile Germany first took the wraps off the MDA IV in February, it instantly became an object of desire for a great many people.

This isn’t all that surprising, as it will be the first cellular-wireless Pocket PC with a 640-by-480-pixel (VGA) screen. It is also loaded with other cutting-edge features, like support for one of the types of 3G networks.

However, when T-Mobile Germany initially made this announcement, the MDA IV was expected to be available this Summer. Now, however, the company has quietly changed the estimated release time to Fall.

There was a working model of the MDA IV at the CeBIT tradeshow, even though it was behind glass. This shows that this handheld is fairly well along in development. Exactly why T-Mobile Germany decided to move the release back is unknown.

What About Other Carriers?

Vodafone VPA IV The MDA IV is being developed by High Tech Computer (HTC) of Taiwan. Both Vodafone and Orange are going to offer versions of this handheld, although each of them will call this device by a different name. To Vodafone it will be the VPA IV, while Orange will call it the SPV 3G. To prevent confusion, Brighthand will generally refer to it by the code-name its developer gave it: HTC Universal.

Neither Vodafone nor Orange have said when they expect their versions of this device to be available, but it’s not likely they will have it any earlier than T-Mobile Germany will.

An Overview of the HTC Universal

It has been known since T-Mobile Germany first announced the Universal that it will use a clamshell design with a screen on one side and a QWERTY keyboard on the other. In addition, its “twist and flip” screen will be able to rotate and then be closed down over the keyboard, allowing the device to be used in a tablet configuration.

The Universal will have 128 MB of RAM and a 520 MHz Intel XScale processor.

At this point, no carrier has said which version of Windows Mobile for Pocket PC the HTC Universal will run. This is a strong indication that it will be the new version of this operating system, code-named Magneto, which Microsoft is expected to released later this year.

Vodafone VPA IV As previously mentioned, it will support UMTS, so it will have typical data transfer speeds between 400 Kb/s and 700 Kb/s. This is significantly slower than Wi-Fi, but much better than the fastest speeds offered by GPRS or even EDGE.

This device, in addition to its GSM/GPRS/UMTS capabilities, will have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Supposedly, it will automatically switch between whichever Wireless Network is best at any given moment.

When closed, it will be 5.2 inches wide, 3.2 inches tall, and .85 inches thick (131.6 by 79 mm by 21.6 mm).

The HTC Universal will have two cameras, one next to the screen for video conferencing, and one on the other side for images and video. Reportedly, the internal camera will be VGA, while the external one will be 1.3 megapixel.

Coming to the U.S.?

As HTC is offering this device to multiple carriers, it’s possible the Universal may be released in the United States.

As one of its most significant features is support for UMTS high-speed wireless networking, and the only U.S. carrier that has committed to UMTS in the near future is Cingular, then there is really only one U.S. carrier likely to offer this handheld.

Thanks to Ipaq HQ for the tip.

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