Windows Voyager smartphone ready for Xmas
T-Mobile climbs back on board
We're a day away from the launch of Orange's new updated "Tanager" version of the SPV - but right on cue to spoil the party, someone has leaked the news of the much nicer one that will be out in a few months - the Voyager. With Bluetooth.
The crucial feature of the new phone is bluetooth, meaning that you can connect it to a standard wireless headset, as well as use it as a wireless modem connected to your PC, for data over GPRS.
For "marketing" and "branding" reasons, apparently, Microsoft has decided that the new one will be called, not "Microsoft" but "Windows". In other words, market research has showed that people like the "Windows" brand, but that the name Microsoft has negative connotations in the public mind.
If you were to ask why this matters, then it would get confusing. There are more names and code-names than product names; and the product names aren't what is written on the box. None of the names that the general public see when purchasing, will say either Windows, or Microsoft.
So the "Canary" is the first smartphone made by HTC (High Tech Computer) in Taiwan; and is the Orange SPV (exclusive to Orange). SPV stands for Sound, Pictures, Video.
That is now obsolete.
This week, the "Tanager" - the updated design with (basically) the same spec - will be launched by Orange as the SPV E100 - featuring a nicer display, easier "joystick" and slightly larger keypad making typing quicker.
Both these use the old version of Windows CE, which Microsoft has been selling to its customers as SmartPhone 2002, based on Pocket PC 2002. The first shoe has dropped now: Pocket PC 2002 has been replaced by Windows Mobile 2003 - for the PDA market, and for the "Phone Edition" of the PDA market.
And Modaco has now revealed the "Voyager" - which is still, officially, a dreadful secret. It will, presumably, run the phone version of Windows Mobile - based on Windows CE 4.2 - for SmartPhone - that is, without a touch screen.
Voyager, only seen in prototype form (says Modaco) is being demonstrated in a Tanager-style body; but there's no way to know for sure what the final product will look like, apart from having its camera permanently built in. The "Canary" and "Tanager" cameras are snap-on, drop-off "oops" devices.
At Microsoft's TechEd conference last week, staff did admit that the new phone would be based on the same generation software as the new Windows Mobile software. But no official word was forthcoming about when.
Unofficially, the target date is for November, in time to have the new product on the shelves in time for the year-end gift seasons.
What isn't clear, is who will be the first to announce it. It's taken for granted that Orange will have one; but in fact, the big, tub-thumping, trumpet-blowing raz-ma-taz launch is being planned by T-Mobile, which has the rights to sell the Tanager and the Voyager in Europe - and in the USA.
And another possibility which has to be considered, is that T-Mobile may decide to skip the Tanager version, and go straight on to the Voyager.
Microsoft is simply bursting to be able to announce the T-Mobile deal, after rumours earlier this year that the carrier had cancelled its SPV launch.
Almost certainly, it was simply postponed, while T-Mobile launched another smartphone. But Microsoft, still smarting from all that publicity, is under non-disclosure agreements with T-Mobile, which cover a lot more than just the single phone.
Sources say that when the deal is rolled out, it will include quite a lot of "back office" type applications supporting T-Mobile central IT, and providing value-add services to T-Mobile's mobile customers.
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