HP to deploy smart phones next month

4 Apr 2005

Hewlett-Packard (HP) is to introduce the first of its 2.5G/3G smart phones aimed at competing with the BlackBerry device to the Irish market later next month, siliconrepublic.com can reveal.

Designated the HP iPaq hw6500 series, the GSM/GPRS/EDGE devices are aimed at exploiting opportunity represented by the remaining sentiment towards pocket PC/exchange devices as well as the desire amongst corporate and SME users to have instant, always-on email in the same fashion as the popular BlackBerry from Research in Motion.

In February, siliconrepublic.com reported on HP’s plans to introduce its own range of smart phones.

It is understood that the new hw6500 series will come in two versions — with or without a 1.3 megapixel digital camera. The device will also make use of a new global positioning position (GPS) technology called AGPS that works twice as fast as existing GPS systems.

HP is currently trialing the new device with a number of local and European mobile operators, including O2, but it is understood that the product will also be sold SIM-free directly from HP. The product will come with a removable wireless local area network SD card and will work with most standard Bluetooth headsets. The product can be configured to actively synch with most POP3 and Exchange 2003 email, calendar and contacts databases on an always-on basis and can download full email and attachments.

HP product marketing executive Graham Reid at a briefing in Dublin this afternoon explained: “It is clear in the US that while BlackBerry is popular, most enterprise customers using Microsoft Exchange 2003 and Pocket PCs would prefer to use a device that fits this profile and is always on.” Reid conceded that enterprises using Novell Netware and other networking products could configure the device to work with the network.

In February, a technology alliance was formed with mobile messaging software vendor Good Technology to bolt-on BlackBerry-oriented services in existing iPaq devices and future smart phone products.

Citing the increasing mobility of businesses Reid said: “This is the mindset of enterprises going forward.”

His colleague marketing manager Brian Fenix added: “Firms that fail to take advantage of mobile in their business are going to find the going very tough unless they grasp the opportunities now.”

Fenix quoted figures from Canalysis that predicted the mobile device sector will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 60pc by 2007.

By John Kennedy