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The xpPhone: It boots, but will it sell?

Some time back I first wrote of a smartphone from China called the xpPhone, since it would use an embedded AMD Geode processor and boot Windows XP. Up to now, all we've had are screen shots.

Well, the folks at the In Technology Group Ltd. in China have posted the first video of the phone powering up and booting into Windows XP. Ok, so the video isn't the slick professionalism we'd expect from Apple, but it does indeed show the phone starting up Windows XP.

It seems ITG has shuffled its positioning of the device. The name of the product is "xpPhone" and it was first positioned as a phone, even though it's slightly larger than your average phone - it has a 4.8-inch screen, 1.5 inches larger than the iPhone.

xpphone.jpg

But now they are referring to it in correspondence with reporters like me as "a notebook." Actually, they are calling it "The world first breakthrough 'Mobile Phone, GPS, Notebook, Three-in-one pocketable mobile terminal.'" That's a mouthful.

ITG claims that the xpPhone is the first notebook that can wake up from XP standby mode by incoming calls and SMS messages. The device uses XP's native standby mode to power down the phone and give it up to five days of standby battery life.

ITG claims it has received CE, 3C and CB approvals to deploy it in Asia and Europe. Now they are waiting on FCC approval and hope to launch the xpPhone at the end of January 2010.

But Avi Greengart, research director for consumer devices and mobile devices at Current Analysts, doesn't give it much of a chance. "Windows XP was not designed as a telephone OS. While [the xpPhone] can do cool stuff that other phones can't do and I can easily see IT managers wanting to run programs they can only run PCs, there have been super small PCs like the OQO and they went nowhere," he said.

Another problem Greengart sees is that the phone promises to do too much. ITG is claiming the phone will support GSM/GPRS/EDGE/WCDMA (HSDPA/HSUPA),
CDMA/CDMA2000, 1X/CDMA1X EVDO, TD-SCDMA, and TD-HSDPA. That's pretty much every wireless protocol on the planet.

"I can't imagine a single device that supports all those. I don't know whose networks it will run on. I've never seen a device that could run CDMA and GSM and TD-SCDMA," he said.

It will be interesting to see if they do indeed get FCC approval for the U.S.

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