Orange Unveils Windows Handhelds

Smartphone and PDA target business users, offer built-in Wi-Fi and cameras.

Orange has added two new Windows Mobile 5.0 products to its line of devices geared toward business users, the company said Thursday. The SPV C600 smartphone and the SPV M3000 personal digital assistant both operate on Orange’s Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution (EDGE) networks, which deliver up to 247 kilobits per second of throughput. The Windows Mobile 5.0 software on both devices allows users to synch e-mail with Microsoft Outlook. The SPV M3000 also includes Wi-Fi, a camera, and a camcorder.

Smartphone Specs
In September, Orange launched the SPV M5000, its first Windows Mobile 5.0 device and the first in its Signature line of devices aimed at business users. Orange said the SPV M5000 could be used by some customers as a laptop replacement. The devices launched today are supposed to fit the needs of smartphone and PDA users.

Unlike the SPV M5000, the devices announced this week don’t operate on Orange’s 3G network but instead use EDGE, a slower data network technology. In the short term, that may allow Orange to sell the devices to a wider audience. “EDGE tends to be deployed in areas where 3G is not deployed,” said Rachel Lashford, an analyst with research company Canalys. The SPV C600, which will sell for around $300, is designed and priced for a business to deploy it across an entire workforce, according to Orange. While operators have increasingly been designing programs to support IT departments that want to distribute wireless devices to mobile workers, most devices used by business people are still purchased individually.

“It’s something we’ve seen for a long time with handhelds and it’s the same with smartphones,” said Lashford. “They’re still predominantly bought by individuals.” Network Challenges
That enterprise use can cause headaches for IT managers because the devices can create security risks when connected to corporate networks.

“There are a number of issues that companies themselves need to address about how these devices are purchased,” Lashford said. Many companies need to implement policies about who has the authority to buy devices as well as policies around security and integration with back-end corporate servers, she said.

The SPV M3000 will sell for about $350 and be available from the first week of November in France, Poland, the Netherlands, Slovakia, and Romania, Orange representatives said. Also due the first week in November, the SPV C600 will be available in France, the U.K., the Netherlands, Switzerland, Romania, Belgium, Slovakia, and Poland.

Sales of full-featured wireless devices continue to increase. Worldwide, shipments of smart mobile devices, which includes smartphones and wireless-enabled PDAs, were up 75 percent in the third quarter compared to the previous year, according to research from Canalys.


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