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T-Mobile MDA IV

 T-Mobile MDA IV Discontinued
2nd February 2005

From time-to-time, someone produces a handset that really makes us go "wow" - and this time it's the T-Mobile MDA IV, scheduled for release in mid 2005.

The MDA IV is a Windows-based device with a VGA resolution (640x480) pixel screen, the highest resolution of any such device to date (bigger than the Nokia 7710), a decent sized QWERTY keyboard, GPRS, UMTS (3G) support and Wireless Ethernet (WLAN). There are twin cameras, so the MDA IV is capable of video calling, plus the screen can be rotated around to create a more conventional touchscreen PDA. The MDA IV also comes with Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and presumably removable memory on an SD card. On top of this is a tri-band GSM phone (900/1800/1900).

Software includes a web browser (Internet Explorer) and email client (Pocket Outlook), "Pocket" versions of Word and Excel, plus a PowerPoint and PDF viewer. The MDA IV synchronises mail, contacts and schedules from a PC running Microsoft Outlook. The bundled version of Windows is not specified. The MDA IV has an "email push service", although we do not known if it is Blackberry compatible.

Details on size and weight are not available, but it seems to follow the standard form factor for a PDA. T-Mobile haven't specified the manufacturer either, but it's almost definitely HTC. The processor runs at 520MHz, but we are not sure of the type or the standard memory configuration.

This is a hugely impressive device (at this level of sophistication it's hard to call it a phone) which beats everything else on the market in terms of specification. The nearest non-HTC competition comes from the Symbian-based Nokia 9500 Communicator and Nokia 7710 Media Device. The 9500 comes with Wireless Ethernet, but lacks 3G and the keyboard is not quite as good as the model it replaced. The 7710 has a slightly smaller screen, no QWERTY keyboard and doesn't support 3G or WiFi. Along with the Nokia 9300, the MDA IV is only the fourth widescreen handset that will be in general circulation.

So, the MDA IV looks good for T-Mobile as for many it will be a "must have" device, but the question is: "is it exclusive?" Previous T-Mobile MDAs (made by HTC) have eventually turned up under different names on most major carriers, so it may be that T-Mobile will have exclusivity at launch of the handset only.

It will be interesting to see which way the competition jumps on this one. The 3GSM World Congress from 14th-17th February may see announcements from Nokia relating to 3G versions of the 9000 Communicator series (perhaps called the 9700), and maybe a 3G 7700 series media device. Alternatively, CeBIT in March might prove a launching ground for something similar to the MDA IV from Nokia. Sony Ericsson too are though to have a new Symbian device under wraps.

However, even if Nokia announce something to rival the MDA IV, experience with the 9500 Communicator shows that it may take up to a year to hit the streets. Sony Ericsson also have long lead times, and as for Motorola.. well 2004 was a disaster in terms of actually getting products to market.

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T-Mobile MDA IV at a glance

Available:

Q2 / Q3 2005

Network:

GSM 900/1800/900 / UMTS (3G) / WiFi

Data:

GPRS + UMTS (3G) + WiFi

Screen:

640 x 480 pixels / 65k colours

Camera:

1.3 megapixels (main)
0.3 megapixels (sub)

Size:

128 x 81 x 25mm

Bluetooth:

Yes

Infra-red:

Yes

Polyphonic:

Yes

Java:

Limited

Battery life:

Not specified (1620 mAh cell)

 

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