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Motorola Innovates with Wi-Fi-Enabled Phone

Motorola on Monday announced the MPx, a smartphone that offers a unique take on the Pocket PC phone platform.

Unlike most Pocket PC phones, the MPx is a dual-hinge device that opens both lengthways as a clamshell phone and in landscape mode with a wide screen and full QWERTY keyboard. By opening the device in landscape mode, Internet browsing, streaming video and access to corporate applications are possible.

The tri-band GSM/GRPS smartphone features both built-in 802.11b and Bluetooth, and is similar in basic design to the Symbian-based Nokia 9500 Communicator, which was announced earlier today. Like that device, users can use Wi-Fi to access the Internet, a corporate intranet, or e-mail. While you can perform similar functions using the GPRS cellular network, 802.11b is much faster and it won't eat into your cellular data plan (carriers often charge by the megabyte).

There is also the possibily that users will be able to make voice over IP (VoIP) phone calls via the MPx when connected to a Wi-Fi network. VoIP allows users to make phone calls via the Internet, potentially saving money. Users can take advantage of the integrated Bluetooth to use wireless headsets or to connect to Bluetooth-enabled peripherals such as a printer.

The MPx has a 2.8-inch, 16-bit (64,536) color and 320x240 display, which is the standard resoluton for a Pocket PC screen. The outside of the top half of the clamshell phone features a second, smaller display for time, date, phone information and audio control. With it, you can use existing and upcoming Pocket PC and Java applications. Windows Mobile for Smartphone devices, for example, such as the Motorola MPx200, are far more limited in the applications they can run.

The device also includes a Secure Digital slot for memory expansion and a 1.3 megapixel digital camera with a flash. As a Windows Mobile device, the MPx will include mini versions of Word, Excel and Outlook, as well as Windows Media Player. The MPx supports a variety of input methods, including a numeric keyboard, a thumb QWERTY board, and touch-sensitive screen (a stylus is included). The Nokia 9500 doesn't have pen input.

The Motorola MPx is expected to be available in the second half of this year. Since it will be released later this year, it should include the latest version of the Windows Mobile operating system, which will offer, among other things, the ability to switch between potrait and landscape modes on the fly.

Reprinted from SmartPhoneToday.