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Has i-mate dumped three Ultimate handsets?

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A cloud of confusion is surrounding i-mate today. One online source has claimed that the handset manufacturer has canned three of its forthcoming Ultimate Collection handsets, while another has reported that it has simply delayed manufacture until a later date.

The rumours began when online retailer and handhelds specialist Clove Technology issued a statement purportedly confirming that i-mate would now only release the 6150 and 8150 Ultimate handsets, and not the 5150, 7150 and 9150 models.

When contacted by Register Hardware, a Clove representative confirmed the news had come from i-mate, but said that it wasn't given a reason for the cull.

i-mate's Ultimate series
i-mate's Ultimate series: 5150, 6150, 7150, 8150 and 9150

However, a separate online source now claims to have spoken to the handset manufacturer and been told that i-mate does intend to develop all five handsets. Apparently, i-mate said that it now intends to release the handsets in a staggered fashion.

We contacted the Dubai-based company to clarify its plans, but our calls went unanswered.

The 5150 was due to be slider phone with a 2.8in touchscreen display and looks slightly akin with Nokia's N80 slider, only with a more tailored tail-end. The 7150 was to open like a book to reveal a compact keyboard and an inner portrait-layout screen, reminiscent of the Finnish manufacturer's Communicator handset. It was also due to have two display screens: a 3.8in touchscreen and a 2.2in OLED panel on the lid, with a full Qwerty keyboard beneath.

i-mate's 9150 handset was set to feature a 2.6in touchscreen for a primary display and a 1.2in OLED secondary display.

The 6150 is set to be a 2.8in touchscreen handset, while the 8150 will be a 2.6in touchscreen model with keys snugly tucked together at the bottom of its front fascia.

All these handsets will run Windows Mobile and are said to be 3G devices with HSDPA technology for faster downloads. Precise release dates - i-mate has only said "mid-2007" - or prices are still unconfirmed for all models.

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