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HTC unveils 3G PocketPC phone

Windows Mobile 5.0 on board

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HTC today formally introduced 'Universal', the palmtop-like PocketPC phone a number of European network operators have already announced, but on which the handset's vendor has kept quiet.

HTC Universal - aka MDA IV, VPA IVMicrosoft's announcement yesterday of Windows Mobile 5.0 - aka 'Magneto' - provided the motivation for HTC, which claimed Universal is the "world's first" WM5 handset.

Universal first appeared in February, when T-Mobile announced the MDA IV in Germany. Soon after, it emerged Orange was planning to rebadge the same device. Since then, Vodafone has joined the others. It will offer Universal as the VPA IV.

All three branded Universals are expected to ship this later this year, though T-Mobile revised its original summer release to an autumn debut. HTC provided no better guidance beyond saying Universal will ship in the second-half of the year.

Universal builds on HTC's previous PocketPC phones by adding 3G support, along with a clamshell casing that reveales the device's QWERTY keyboard. Universal's screen can rotate and fold back to present the user with the more traditional tablet PDA form-factor. To support 3G video calls, there are twin cameras on board, and twin stereo speakers. There's quad-band GSM/GPRS in there too, along with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Windows Mobile 5.0 provides software support for 3G communications. It also integrates 'push-to-talk' functionality. ®

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