Is this the smartphone you have all been waiting for? HTC’s Universal finally arrives in the UK this month in at least two different guises. T-Mobile claims to have got the device first offering it as the MDA Pro. Not to be outdone O2 is also offering the phone this time calling it the XDA Exec. Vodafone and Orange will have their own version shsortly.
So why all the excitement? Well the Universal is certainly a special phone and it likely to be a huge hit with both corporates and high-end prosumers. Its big story is that it is the first top-end Windows Mobile powered handset to offer 3G connection, so users can download large files to it or surf the web at broadband-like (or maybe that’s broadband-lite) speeds. It also has Wi-Fi for when a person is in range of a hot spot and GPRS as a fall back.
The device is also the first to offer the latest version of the Microsoft operating system for mobiles – Windows Mobile 5.0. The big news here is that it now features persistent memory, so when the phone battery dies you don’t lose all the data you had on it – a major weakness of previous MS phones. There’s also enhanced push email facilities and a few other minor tweaks. And of course the cut down version of Excel, Word, etc are sure to be a hit with IT departments who want to play safe and keep all their PCs and devices on the same platform.
The clamshell type device – it has a touch of the Psion Series 5 about it or even a Nokia Communicator, also features a large and very usable keyboard which is light years away for the thumbapad offered by its rivals.
I had a reasonably long play with the MDA pro and to be honest I can’t see why any mobile worker wouldn’t want one. Its only real weakness is its bulky size, but hey it is still much smaller and more pocketable than a laptop.