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Nokia to unwrap new Communicator

Keyboards R'Us

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Nokia is expected to take the wraps off its new Communicator at two 'Mobility' events next month. The new device will be the first 'instantiation' of the Hildon project and a showcase for its new Series 90 PDA platform.

Hildon has morphed much since it began life at Psion as a user interface project. Like the defunct Series 5 and Revo PDAs, the new Communicator will feature pen and keyboard input for the first time in the series, which Nokia launched with the 9000 back in 1996.

The most recent generation of Communicators, which abandoned the Geoworks OS and an x86 processor for Symbian and ARM, was unveiled exactly three years ago. But by the time the 9200 shipped in late Spring 2001 it was already looking dated. It launched just as GPRS networks were being introduced, but couldn't take advantage of the packet data, and lacked Bluetooth (which is much of an omission now that it was then).

But then you probably read all this a year ago.

Nokia has eschewed pen-based phones, believing that without a keyboard, phones should be operated with one hand. (It's conceded the principle only in Asia, where writing characters is faster than typing them). No doubt Nokia hopes that the Series 90 will be licensed more widely than the 9200 Series 80, which didn't get any takers. Keyboards were a standard feature on PDAs from HP, Casio and Psion for several years before the introduction of the Palm. ®

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