T-Mobile delays 3G Wi-Fi phone debut

MDA IV held back to await Windows Mobile 2005?

T-Mobile's German operation has put back the release of its clamshell 3G-enabled Windows Mobile smart phone to the Autumn, according to the company's web site.

The MDA IV, made by Taiwan's HTC and also known by its codename, 'Universal', was originally due to ship in the Summer, T-Mobile said when it announced the handset early in February this year.

Since then, Orange has indicated that it too will offer a network-branded version of a device that sounds uncannily like the Universal, and Vodafone has gone on record to say it will offer the machine as the VPA IV. Neither company has put a date to the release of their respective versions of the product beyond a broad "later this year". HTC hasn't given any availability guidance, either.

It's unclear at this stage why the delay has arisen. One possibility is a pause to allow the device to ship with Windows Mobile 2005, aka 'Magneto', the next major revision of Microsoft's smart phone operating system. Most networks have been vague about which version of Windows Mobile the device will support.

Last week, the CeBIT show in Hannover, Germany played host to a number of Magneto-based devices, such as Samsung's upcoming 3GB hard drive-based handset, the i300. So it may not be unreasonable to speculate that everyone's waiting for the new OS for their upcoming smart phones.

Meanwhile, HTC, which is fast gaining a reputation as a Windows Mobile device development powerhouse, posted February 2005 sales of TWD4.12bn ($133.65m), up 82.6 per cent on the same month in 2004. For the calendar year as a whole, HTC racked up sales of TWD8.32bn ($269.92m), up 86.4 per cent year on year.

Earlier this week, HTC inked a deal with Research in Motion (RIM) to bundle the Canadian company's Blackberry Connect software on future smart phone products. ®

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