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Mitac's Mio preps next-gen GPS PocketPC

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Mitac's PocketPC and smart phone subsidiary, Mio, is working on a second-generation GPS-enabled PDA, if picture posted on a GPS-oriented web site are accurate.

Mio's Mio 168, launched almost a year ago, become the first PocketPC device to feature a built-in GPS antenna, although Garmin holds the record on the first GPS-enabled PDA. The 168 is sold in the UK by local PC vendor Evesham, and forms the basis for navigation specialist Navman's PiN handheld worldwide.

While the 168 looked like a typical PocketPC, with the antenna flipping up from the back of the device, the new model, tentatively called the 188 in a GPSPassion report, looks more akin to a portable video player.

The unit appears designed to be used in portrait mode for PocketPC operation and in a landscape orientation for navigation. In this mode, the five-way navigation control is on the left-hand side. At the right are four buttons that appear to control the appearance of the map, turn points of interest markers on and off, and zoom in and out of the map. They sit above the speaker, undoubtedly used to read out directions. There's also a jog-wheel control on the left side panel, above the power key.

The unit sports a USB 2.0 port for synchronisation on what's base of the unit when it's in landscape orientation. On the top (in the same mode), there's an SD or MMC card slot and what's presumably the device's new, flat antenna. As it's mounted on the top, it doesn't need to be folded down for storage.

The pictures may be canny fakes, but some of the detail and imagination used in the device's design suggest not. So far, no other information on the Mio 188 has surfaced. ®

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