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Velocity 103 and Velocity 111

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Velocity 103Don't worry if you have never heard of Velocity Mobile, because this UK based company is very new and hasn't actually brought anything to market just yet. But hopefully over the next few months we should see the launch of the Velocity 103 and Velocity 111 smartphones.
Before we dive into the technical details of these two devices, it's worth having a closer look at the company itself. The key players in Velocity Mobile mostly come from a company called A Living Picture who designed the i-mate Momento range of WiFi enabled digital picture frames. So, the founders have a pretty solid background in cool gadgetry - but rather sensibly they have partnered with Inventec of Taiwan who are contract equipment manufacturers for big names such as HP, Toshiba and many others.

The mobile phone market is a very tough place to compete in, so any new company hoping to carve a niche for itself really needs to offer something that is different from the competition. Velocity Mobile's approach seems to be this: put as many features into the phones as possible and try to appeal to people who want a no-compromise device.

Velocity 103

Slated to be available during Q2 2008, the Velocity 103 is a Windows smartphone with a large 2.8" touchscreen display, 3.5G data, WiFi and GPS support.

Although pretty much all devices of this type get compared to the Apple iPhone, the Velocity 103 competes directly against the upcoming HTC Touch Diamond. Both handsets have large VGA resolution (480 x 640 pixel) touchscreens, both support HSDPA and HSUPA high speed data, both have A-GPS and support WiFi.
In fact, the differences between the Touch Diamond and Velocity 103 are really quite minimal. The 103 weighs more, but has a bigger battery and more talktime. The camera on the Touch Diamond is better, and the HTC device has an FM radio. On the other hand, the Velocity has expandable memory, something that we think is a serious omission in the HTC.

Both the Velocity 103 and the HTC Touch Diamond have tweaked the interface on top of the vanilla Windows Mobile 6.1 installation. We suspect that HTC's snazzy TouchFLO interface is hard to beat, but in any case the newest version of Windows Mobile is certainly an improvement. Of course, Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional comes with all the usual features such as a pocket version of Microsoft Office and push email support.

Maximum download speed on HSDPA is 7.2 Mbps, with a maximum upload speed of 2.2 Mbps using HSUPA, it supports tri-band UMTS and quad-band GSM. 802.11 b and g WiFi is supported, and the Velocity 103 also supports Bluetooth 2.1 and USB 2.0. The processor is a Qualcomm 7201 with 128MB RAM. There's also a TV out port and 2.5mm audio jack. On the back is a fairly basic 2 megapixel camera, with an additional 0.3 megapixel unit for video calling.

At 130 grams in weight and 113 x 58 x 15mm in size, the Velocity 103 is slightly smaller than the iPhone and a fair bit bigger than the HTC. The minimalist design is perhaps not as sleek as the Apple, but rather more conventional than the Touch Diamond.

It's certainly a desirable bit of kit, but it may find it tough going against the capable HTC Touch Diamond. The Velocity 103 is currently available to pre-order at around £400 to £500 (or €500 to €650) before tax.

Velocity 111
Velocity 111
The Velocity 111 is closely related to the 103 in terms of specification, but the QWERTY keyboard and smaller display pitches it directly against handsets such as the upcoming BlackBerry Bold 9000.

Featuring the same 3.5G and WiFi connectivity as the 103, the Velocity 111 matches the BlackBerry Bold quite closely. One significant difference is the screen - the BlackBerry has a higher resolution display than the Velocity 111, but then the 111 is a touchscreen panel where the BlackBerry is not.
Another important difference is the operating system, and for most people this will be the key decider. If you're looking for a high spec BlackBerryesque smartphone but you want to run Windows (in this case, Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional), then there aren't many handsets we can think of that look more promising than the Velocity 111.

The 2.46" 320 x 240 pixel display certainly isn't has impressive as the screen on the 103, but it will be good enough for most people and it is certainly competitive with everything else in this market segment.

As with the 103, the Velocity 111 supports 3.5G HSDPA downloads and HSUPA uploads, has quad-band GSM and tri-band UMTS and WiFi. Advanced GPS (A-GPS) is built in, so you can add your favourite satellite navigation software. The 111 supports Bluetooth 2.1, USB 2.0 and it comes with a 2.5mm audio socket. There is also a 2 megapixel fixed focus camera plus a secondary video calling camera.

It's quite a large device at 116 x 62 x 15mm and 140 grams in weight. The large 1450 mAh battery can power the 111 for up to 4 hours of talktime and 8 days standby time, which is a little less than the BlackBerry 9000.

The Velocity 111 is slated for release sometime during Q3 2008, although no pricing information is available at present.

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