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Mio launches MS smartphone in UK

On paper - no hardware for '3-4' weeks...

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Newly formed Mitac subsidiary Mio Technologies launched its first smart phone in the UK last night, but its not yet clear when or how buyers will be able to get their hands on the handset.

Mio DigiWalker 8390 Smart PhoneThe Mio 8390 is based on Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 for Smartphones, running on a 200MHz Intel XScale PXA255 processor backed by 32MB of RAM and 48MB of Flash. The clamshell design contains a 2.2in, 176 x 220 65,000-colour LCD, along with a secondary blue LCM display.

The handset features an integrated VGA digicam and supports MMS over its tri-band GSM/GPRS radio. The camera can grab video as well as still shots, encoding footage in MPEG 4 format at 10fps. There's an 8x digital zoom facility.

MP3 playback is provided, and there's an SD/MMC slot to boost the internal memory. The 8390 supports MP3 ringtones as well as polyphonics. There's no Bluetooth support, but the handset does feature infrared and USB connectivity.

The unit measures 9.9 x 5.1 x 2.4cm and weighs 125g. It ships with a 750mAh battery - enough, says Mio, to provide three hours' talk time or 70-100 hours' stand-by time.

UK availability

Despite yesterday's formal UK launch, Mio Technologies is not bringing the 8390 into the country itself. Its UK distribution partner is AGB Global, which is currently seeking retailers to take on the £380 handset. AGB describes itself as Mio's "preferred" partner, but the deal is not an exclusive one, Technical Sales Director Stewart True admitted yesterday.

According to True, AGB is talking to retailers, and he dropped the names of both Phones4U and CarphoneWarehouse. However, with handsets "three to four weeks" away from arriving in the UK, there's little the company can do to promote the handset until then, an AGB staffer told The Register.

However, the company expressed its confidence that it can build up a network of independent phone retailers to not only stock the product but by bundling airtime packages subsidise the handset sufficiently to bring down the price closer to those of network-subsidised phones, such as Orange's SPV. ®

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