HTC Universal is out, much earlier than expected!

The first Windows Mobile 5 based phone is out. And what a phone it is! It is almost like a mini laptop. You can also use it like a tablet PC because of its swivelling screen. Important things to note about this phone are the QWERTY keyboard, VGA Screen, Dual camera and above all, 3G/UMTS!! Because of 3G support, your phone will have a guaranteed life of atleast 3 years, since it will take that much time for 3G to be rolled out in India.

There are so many more interesting features in this phone that, you need atleast two web pages to list all. From the messaging point of view, you get push email similar to blackberry almost at no extra cost. You only need to patch your organizations’ exchange server. Microsoft has released the beta version of this patch, final being expected next month. Another noteworthy thing is video call (so far seen only in sci-fi movies) – you can see the other person while talking on the phone. With 3G, you can still be downloading data while a voice call is in progress (GPRS/EDGE need dedicated channels, so voice call is not possible while you are browsing/downloading or while you are using skype). The phone also supports Wi-Fi and bluetooth. WM 5 also has lot of cool features including improved office applications. Office documents can now be opened in native form – no conversion required! Ironically, Palm OS is supporting native documents for a long time now.

Slated to be released sometime in mid of October in 2005, the phone is already available at many online retailers in UK. I expect this to be in India sometime in January next year. It may be branded as KROME and O2.

Here is a review from an MS employee:

PS: There is a danger of this phone becoming useless in India, since the spectrum issue between CDMA and GSM Operators (Reliance/Tata vs. Rest of the Operators) is still not sorted out by TRAI. The current minister of IT, Dayanidhi Maran is said to be in the pro-GSM lobby, so there is a glimmer of hope here.


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