Windows XP Smartphone? There's a Plan for That
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A Chinese firm is touting a smartphone based on Windows XP and running an AMD Geode processor at its core, but whether it can deliver on all of the promises remains to be seen.
In Technology Group Limited calls its creation the "xpPhone," and while the artistic rendering of the 4.8-inch screen shows the familiar Windows XP landscape, most of the UI is in fact quite custom and very different from a typical phone or any XP app you may have seen.
In Technology Group using what it calls an "AMD Super Mobile CPU" and what AMD (NYSE: AMD) calls a Geode XL, the same chip used in the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program. It will have up to 1GB of RAM, up to a 64GB SSD or a 120GB HDD for storage.
The TFT LCD screen is touch-capable, something XP doesn't do naturally. It will support the two most widely-used cellular networks in the world, GSM/GPRS/EDGE/WCDMA and CDMA/CDMA2000, plus it will have Wi-Fi 802.11b/g, WiMax optional, Bluetooth and stand-alone GPS. It has a 1.3 megapixel camera, one USB slot, one SIM slot for a memory card and a removable Lithium-ion battery that supports five hours of talk time or seven hours of stand-by time.
The company claims that the xpPhone can combine all the functions of a Laptop, GPS and a full featured mobile phone, plus it will have full VoIP functions on the xpPhone. If the images of the interface are correct, you will be able to make a VoIP call with an "IP Dial" function without needing to launch a separate application.
Can In Technology Group pull it off? ITG did not respond to an e-mail inquiry at press time and a spokesperson for Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) declined to comment. It's not clear from the company's Web site whether the devices is actually finished or still a prototype. Regardless, analysts aren't sold on its prospects.
Netbook or mobile phone?
"So far it doesn't make sense to me. How does it run XP," asked Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies. "It's a reference design? Basically it looks like a netbook kind of thing with a five-inch screen."
Kay noted it looks bigger than an iPhone, almost putting it in the mobile Internet device (MID) category. With trailing edge technology and maybe an attractive price point it might even sell well in China or India, which are more price sensitive. Outside of that, "It's not much a threat to anyone," he said.
Ken Dulaney, research vice president for mobile technology with Gartner, was even more blunt in his assessment. "My first reaction is that the firm is probably stretching the definition of a smartphone. The second is that this may be a smartbook and someone has modified the definition," he said in an e-mail to InternetNews.com.
Windows XP on a smartphone with a less than a five-inch screen on a phone that you can comfortably hold up to your ear to talk is just not going to work, said Dulaney. Either it will be too small to see Windows, or to make Windows visible, you need a large device.
"A five-inch screen is definitely not a smartphone. The OQO is similar and it's out today. It runs Windows but doesn't call itself a smartphone. Clearly this is a vendor who has no idea what the market definitions are," he wrote.
(Senior Editor David Needle contributed to this story.)