AT&T announces first Windows Mobile 6.5 smartphones

Microsoft's new OS rolls out on HTC's Tilt 2 and Pure smartphones as well as on 'messaging devices' from Pantech and Samsung

AT&T Monday announced two smartphones based on Microsoft's new Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system, HTC's Tilt 2 and Pure. It also launched four new models it calls "quick messaging devices." They include Pantech's Reveal and Impact, as well as Samsung's Mythic and Flight.

AT&T didn't announce full details for all six new phones, but said the HTC Pure is now available at AT&T stores for $150 after rebates, and the HTC Tilt 2 will cost $300 after rebates. Both require a smartphone data plan commitment and a $40 or higher voice plan in order to receive the rebates.

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The HTC Pure is a touchscreen device, while the Tilt 2 combines a tilting touchscreen with a slide-out full QWERTY keyboard. Both offer a user interface that gives access to voice, text or e-mail by viewing a single contact.

AT&T said that with the launch it was one of the first carriers to offer Windows Mobile 6.5 devices. Microsoft's mobile OS has come under some criticism from some analysts and even Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who recently said he reorganized the entire Windows Mobile team.

However, analysis firm iSuppli recently issued a strong forecast for Windows Mobile, taking note of its use by HTC and projecting its use on smartphones will nearly triple by 2013.

AT&T's vice president of mobile phones, Michael Woodward, said in a statement that the Tilt 2 and Pure "will lead our Windows phone lineup into 2010," and noted that "AT&T has a long history of leadership in smartphones and Windows Mobile." He said AT&T is the largest distributor of Windows Mobile phones worldwide.

AT&T also said it will support the Windows Marketplace for Mobile for users to access applications from the Pure and Tilt 2, and users can even add their purchases from Windows Marketplace to their monthly AT&T billing statements.

The Windows Mobile 6.5 upgrade, announced on Feb. 16, is designed to enhance ease-of-use, with touch-friendly interfaces and a Internet Explorer Mobile browser that supports Adobe Inc.'s Flash multimedia technology.

AT&T said the Tilt 2 is targeted at business professionals with its high- resolution, 3.6-inch diagonal display and a larger QWERTY keyboard for heavy e-mail use. It also includes a 3.2-megapixel camera.

The Pure is designed for one-hand use, with a 3.2-inch diagonal touchscreen. It comes with a 5-megapixel autofocus camera with video capture. Details on exact size and weight of the devices were not available.

AT&T has enabled all four phones from Pantech and Samsung with a new HTML mobile browser and its service with data compression from Opera Software. Those improvements are designed to make the HTML experience similar to a desktop browser experience, said AT&T's Ted Woodbery, vice president of wireless data.

The Pantech Reveal will be available at AT&T stores on Oct. 18 in red and blue, but pricing was not announced. It is a slider phone, which allows user to slide up the cover to access a full alphabetic QWERTY keyboard underneath which will work at the same time as the numerical keyboard below.

The Pantech Impact comes with a touchscreen equipped with a haptic buzz that is emitted upon touch. The flip phone reveals a full physical keyboard and a second display screen inside for typing longer messages. It comes in pink and blue. Pricing and availability was not announced.

The Samsung Mythic, which is a touchscreen-only device, comes in black for $200 after rebates and will be available in November. It features a 3.3-inch touchscreen and supports AT&T Mobile TV.

The Samsung Flight is a vertical slider device with a touchscreen and a full keyboard inside. It is available in November in red or silver and sells for $100 after rebates and a two-year agreement. No other details were given.

This story, "AT&T announces first Windows Mobile 6.5 smartphones" was originally published by Computerworld.


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