There can be little doubt that at one point HP definitely intended to make a line of data-centric wireless handhelds. Cindy Box, a marketing director for handhelds at HP, mentioned it to Cnet in October of last year.
This was to be called the h5600 Series. According to information Brighthand was able to gather, there would have been two handhelds in this series: the h5650/h5655 and the h5610/h5615. One of these would have used GSM/GPRS and the other CDMA. All of them would have built-in Bluetooth. Brighthand was even able to come up with a photo of all the h5000 series that included these models.
Rumors of when these would be available ranged widely but the most authoritative came from DigiTimes, which said that High Tech Computer (HTC), a Taiwanese ODM, would be producing a wireless iPAQ in the second half of this year.
Then came word from HP that the project had been scraped. “We’ve done extensive market research and come to the conclusion that consumers prefer a two-piece solution of mobile phone and PDA communicating via Bluetooth,” said Antoine Barre, HP European vice president told PC Advisor. “The market isn’t ready for sophisticated devices, although businesses are crying out for them in terms of manageability.”
This quote is buried in an article about a new device from Research in Motion and got very little attention at the time. Since HP had never formally announced these models it apparently felt no need to formally announce it wouldn’t be making them.
The company appears to be looking into other options for wireless devices. The company has asked several Taiwanese ODMs for price quotes to design and build for it a smartphone. This would likely be based on Microsoft’s Smartphone 2002 operating system, not Pocket PC.
The analysts at the European analyst firm Canalys would agree with HP’s decision. It released a study last month which recommends that companies not make data-centric handhelds because these haven’t sold well and don’t have much chance of improving. Instead, Canalys suggests that they should embrace Bluetooth and its ability to connect a handheld with a mobile phone.
No GPRS in h5400 Series
Occasionally a rumor surfaces that the iPAQ h5400 series will be able to connect to GPRS networks once a software patch is released by HP. This is based on the fact that under the battery on these models is a slot for a SIM card, used by GSM/GPRS phones. Sadly, this is just wishful thinking.
To save money, all of the members of the h5000 series were going to use many of the same internal components. The SIM slot is in the h5400 series because it would have been used by the h5600 series.The 802.11 radio in the h5400 series can not be used for connecting to a CDMA or GSM/GPRS wireless network.