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LAUNCH: T-Mobile to roll-out the MDA Vario II aka HTC Hermes across Europe
Posted by Arne Hess - on Tuesday, 15.08.06 - 15:52:43 CET under 02 - Windows Mobile News - Viewed 23656x
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Following the earlier announcement to launch the T-Mobile Vario II in Germany, T-Mobile today also announced to roll-out its HTC Hermes version in other European countries as well.
The MDA Vario II, which is already available in Germany and the UK since yesterday; followed by Austria, the Netherlands, Hungary and Slovakia soon, is the first device to support HSPDA alongside W-LAN, GPRS, EDGE and UMTS mobile broadband technologies. The compact high-performance device is already in the shops in Germany and the United Kingdom and will be available in Austria and the Netherlands in a few days time. In the next few weeks, T-Mobile will also introduce the Vario II in Hungary and Slovakia. Vario II is available in a smart exclusive design colored in anthracite, black and bordeaux. This design is exclusively available to T-Mobile.

"With the MDA Vario II we are offering our customers an all-rounder device for voice and data communication in combination with our mobile broadband network simultaneously in several important European markets. Whether you are on holiday or a business trip, the compact Vario II makes communication on the go a real pleasure in every situation. In doing so, the exclusive design with red accents clearly displays to the eye the availability of HSPDA," says Michael Hagspihl, Head of Terminal Management at T-Mobile International.

As a matter of course the T-Mobile exclusive web'n'walk service is also available via the Internet browser, showing the user relevant information only in a few seconds.
Besides the current standard E-Mail clients available to business and private customers, Vario II also supports the BlackBerry E-Mail Push client which can be easily installed with the additional software provided. Alternatively electronic mail can also be sent by E-Mail Push via the Microsoft Exchange Server 2003. The MDA Vario II continues to set trends in usability: it has a track wheel for easy navigation and scrolling.

Beneath the nice casing hides a high performance core in the form of a 400 MHz Samsung processor with 128 MB memory capacity. For those of you needing more memory capacity, an external micro SD card can be fitted to extend the memory. The MDA Vario II is compatible with the Windows mobile 5.0 operating system. Pocket Outlook, Word Mobile, Excel Mobile and Power Point Mobile are all supplied with the software package. Data can be exchanged via W-LAN, Bluetooth, infrared or USB interface.

The high performance Lithium ion battery makes a talk time of up to 300 minutes possible and a standby time of up to 200 hours. The integrated 2 megapixel camera allows photos to be taken and videos to be recorded and sent. A second integrated camera makes video telephony possible.

However, please note that T-Mobile is selling the device Netlocked which means you can use it with a T-Mobile (U)SIM card only. To unlock the device, T-Mobile charges 99,95 Euro.

Broadband networks have now been implemented in almost all national companies meaning that T-Mobile has paved the way for super fast, mobile broadband surfing. UMTS/HSDPA network technology is already available in Germany, the United Kingdom, Austria, Hungary and the Netherlands - with speeds of between 1.8 and 3.6 megabits per second (Mbit/s). In the USA and the Czech Republic fast surfing is made possible by EDGE and Slovakia saw the first commercial Flash/OFDM network worldwide entered into operation in October 2005.

The seamlessly integrated mobile broadband network is topped off with high performance W-LAN provision. With approximately 17,000 W-LAN locations, T-Mobile and T-Com are now jointly the largest provider of HotSpots in the world. In Europe alone the Deutsche Telekom subsidiaries now operate more than 10,000 HotSpots in Germany, Austria, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia.

Cheers ~ Arne

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Posted by Tom McLaughlin on 17.08.06 - 02:41:07

I am living in the US. I want to buy this Vario II in Europe since it isn't available in the US yet. Will it be compatible when HSPDA becomes avialble in the states? Or should I wait and wait how long?

Posted by Arne Hess on 17.08.06 - 10:17:17

Tom, "theoretically" the Vario II should also work in the US with T-Mobile US as soon as they have opened their UMTS networks there; however - since T-Mobile haven't launched their UMTS networks over there yet, it's not clear which frequencies they will definitely use.
I've heard rumors, that T-Mobile is trialling UMTS over it's current GSM frequencies at the moment and there fore the Vario II should support it.
But as I said, all this is speculation at the moment since T-Mobile isn't operational yet.

Last but not least, if you plan to buy a T-Mobile Vario II from the UK, please keep in mind that the device is Net-locked and you have to pay some extra $ to get the unlock key.

Posted by Paquette on 23.08.06 - 13:36:15

Vario II is "HERM 300"

Today I had the chance to take a closer look at the new T-Mobile vario II.

These are my impressions:

- The back lid which holds the battery is somewhat rubberized and has lines engraved to prevent slipping. Nevertheless, the lid does not shut tigthly and you can feel it move when using the keyboard.

- The d-pad, too, is rubberized. The outer circle can be moved in any direction - so it may be suitable for gaming (not one of my key features but I felt this may be of interest for others). More important, of the 8 distinct "clicking" postions, the lower three did not always respond. Maybe this was a flaw of this single unit only but the d-pad sure does feel fragile.

- The burgundy color does not look as bad as expected. Still I am not too fond of it because together with the ruggedized d-pad it rather looks like a toy than a business machine. Keeping the price tag in mind (EUR 700 w/o contract) this could scare off business users like me.

- The former video-conferencing activation button that was integrated in the screen frame at the lower left has been removed (unlike with the TyTN / VPA III where there even is a distinct button). Video-conferencing can only be activated through the "Call" menu.

- The keyboard worked o.k.. Because it is more cramped in the middle, every key could be reached without problems. Some keys did respond better than others but, again, that could have been a problem of this specific unit.

- The type sign inside the battery case says "HERM 300" so this is indeed a different version than the O2 trion etc.

Bottom line: some manufacturing quality issues, high price/cheap looks.



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