AT&T Wireless ships mobile IM gadget
Email, SMS, IM - no voice
US mobile network operator AT&T Wireless today launched Ogo, its first non-voice messaging device, pitched at the 'yoof' market - in particular those who only like to communicate by text.
The $129 clamshell unit provides a QWERTY keypad ready for instant messaging using AOL, MSN or Yahoo! protocols and email from those three providers and any other POP 3 account. The device also supports SMS messaging.
Above the keypad and eight-way navigation control is a 4000-colour display. It also contains a dual-band 850/1900MHz GSM/GPRS radio.
Ogo measures 11.5 x 7.5 x 2.5cm when closed and weighs 136g. That includes the 850mAh battery, which provides up to 2.5 hours of usage time and up to 120 hours' stand-by time.
The handset is based on IXI Mobile's IXI-Connect phone-oriented OS, which incorporates its own Personal Mobile Gateway (PMG) system. IXI Mobile's PMG technology is founded on provides highly compact router and server code, and is geared to allow devices to connect to the PMG and gain internet access.
PMG implies the provision of local wireless networking services, primarily Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, but if Ogo offers Bluetooth support, AT&T Wireless isn't mentioning the fact - though it did confirm the inclusion of PMG technology.
IXI-Mobile's pitch is that PMG will allow a wide range of devices to gain wireless Net access. Alas, few manufacturers appear to have yet offered PMG-compatible products. Samsung is one, launching a PMG phone last year, but others appear thin on the ground - to the extent that IXI-Mobile was forced this year to launch a subsidiary, neo, to develop and market reference designs.
Indeed, its neoChat NC-10 clamshell IM/email/SMS device looks remarkably similar to AT&T Wireless' Ogo clamshell IM/email/SMS device, updated with a colour display and redesigned keyboard.
Ogo goes on sale in the US today. While the price is $129, AT&T Wireless is providing $30 back if you mail in a voucher. The basic monthly plan, which provides unlimited instant messaging, email and SMS, costs $17.99. That supports a single IM account - others costs a further $3 a month each. ®