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HP iPaq 900 business smartphone

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HP iPaq 900 business smartphoneWe take a look at HP's new iPaq 900, a full QWERTY messaging phone loaded with features. Will it take the iPaq to the head of the class?

HP has finally updated their aging iPaq line, starting at the high-end with the new iPaq 900. The iPaq 900 will look familiar to pretty much anyone who has used a QWERTY smartphone in the last couple of years, as it seems to borrow styling elements from most of the major players, like RIM, Samsung, Motorola and even Palm, and really lacks any specific styling cues to distinguish itself from the pack. However, HP has never been known for style, and has always been a popular brand for serious business users. For these customers, the iPaq 900 won't disappoint.

We had a chance to get our hands on the device, and we were impressed by the hardware specs. The phone packs tri-band UMTS and HSDPA, so it will surf the world's fastest networks. The phone also uses quad-band GSM for worldwide telephony, so HP clearly isn't resigned to being walled into a single U.S. carrier's garden. The device will feature WiFi, with which HP is specifically targeting business VoIP users. It acquires some Voice Commander capabilities from the short-lived HP Voice Messenger, in addition to a full QWERTY keypad.

The phone will feature Windows Mobile 6, and will use Google maps for navigation. Though A-GPS hardware should come standard, HP isn't bundling its newest navigation tools with the device, though company reps told us that if demand is high, this situation could change. Around back, a 3-megapixel camera will allow users to snap photos, and then upload them to the HP-owned Snapfish service.

It is hard to be impressed by the iPaq 900 in the short time we spent with the device, as the improvements are much deeper than skin level. Though the device isn't very attractive, HP has clearly taken strides to bring the hardware feature set into the next generation. The phone will be released before the end of 2007, and pricing has yet to be determined, so whether the next generation has passed them by when the phone hits the market remains to be seen. Still, as a competitor in the Windows Mobile market, HP may not have the design edge over more innovative companies like HTC, but we think business users might be impressed by the fast networking, Wi-Fi connectivity and navigation options. We hope to spend more time with the device in the near future to see if it lives up to its predecessors.

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