On Wednesday's press conference, O2 showed their next Pocket PC Phone Edition device, the Xda IIi, first time publicly. Basically, as previously said, the Xda IIi comes in the same housing as the previous Xda II and the differences are in the details.
O2 confirmed, that the Xda IIi (also known as HTC Alpine):
- includes an Intel Bulverde CPU, running 520 MHz
- supports W-LAN
- supports Bluetooth using the Widcomm Bluetooth stack, already introduced with the Xda IIs/III
- includes a 1.3 Megapixel camera
- will be released with Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition for Pocket PC Phone Edition containing AKU2 which supports Windows Media 10 Mobile
As said before, the Xda IIi comes in the same housing as the previous Xda II. Therefore, the current samples O2 showed doesn't has Xda IIi printed but Xda II 'only'. Therefore you don't notice the difference on the front but on the back only. The Xda IIi camera whole (on the photo below right) looks different from the Xda II (on the photo below left):
As all previous Xda's the Xda IIi will also includes the O2 Active User Interface which replaces the standard Microsoft Home screen and allows the user to access the basic features and functionalities faster.
Also new is the way how the wireless functionalities are integrated. While previous Phone Edition devices had one antenna symbol only, the Xda IIi includes two antenna symbols. The left one called 'Connectivity' features the wireless data functionalities like Wi-Fi, GPRS and WAP while the right one called 'Phone' includes the GSM functionalities including the carrier name only.
While this is handy in terms of reducing the notification bubble size, it increases the amount of icons in the task bar.
The device is running an Intel Bulverde PXA272 CPU with a speed of 520 MHz and as before, it provides the user 128 MB RAM.
The most interesting part of the Xda IIi, compared with the Xda II, is it's wireless connectivity. While the Xda II includes GSM, GPRS and Bluetooth only, it's follower will also includes Wi-Fi 802.11b, like the previous announced Xda IIs/III:
Therefore it also includes the so called 'Wireless Manager' from where you can select which connectivity to want to use. Here, also Bluetooth is included because the Widcomm Bluetooth stack supports PAN (Personal Area Network) which allows you to use the Pocket PC, together with a Bluetooth Access Point, for W-LAN access - based on Bluetooth instead of Wi-Fi.
Wireless LAN supports IEEE 802.11b with up the 11 Mbit/s and works perfect with 802.11g Access Points also.
Since the Xda IIi is based on Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition and includes the AKU2 it also includes Windows Media Player 10 Mobile, Microsoft latest Windows Media Player technology.
Last but not least, the Xda IIi will features HTC's latest 'Intelli' technology which includes 'IntelliPad' and 'IntelliDialer'.
IntelliPad is a kind of T9 SIP which lets you enter text with one hand and without a stylus but unlike a full screen keyboard it simulates a phone keyboard:
As known from T9, IntelliPad offers you alternative words, based on the combination you've entered.
IntelliDialer emulates a kind of Smartdial we know from the Windows Mobile Smartphones. So far it was a little bit painful to search for a contact to call because you had to use the stylus to select the contact from the Contacts application.
With IntelliDialer just press the key combination for the contact name you are looking for and you will get all appropriate contacts:
On the example above you can either dial '22' if you just enter the number of - using the D-Pad - you navigate to the name you want to select and dial that contact. Pressing the action key opens the contact details from where you can also dial.
All together the Xda IIi is a worthy follower of the Xda II and it makes the best selling Pocket PC Phone Edition even better. Adding Wi-Fi support was a must because this was the most missing feature for most of today's Xda II users. The 1.3 Megapixel camera is state of the art for mobile phones and talking about the mobile phone features: the Intelli technology makes it a real mobile phone now - the first time I feel comfortable to use a Pocket PC Phone Edition as a mobile phone (just to make it complete: T-Mobiles MDA compact also includes HTC's Intelli technology already).
The used Intel Bulverde CPU makes the device faster while it saves battery power. So all in one an upgrade from the current Xda II is worth since the 'i' includes more features than expected on the first sight.
A price wasn't given yet and the release is expected for end of December/during January.
Cheers ~ Arne