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PREVIEW: O2 Xda IIi Pocket PC Phone Edition 2003 Second Edition
Posted by Arne Hess - on Saturday, 20.11.04 - 15:25:58 CET under 08 - Reviews - Viewed 34575x
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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

The Device
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):

The Features
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.

Final Conclusion

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


 

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Comments
Posted by dan173 on 21.11.04 - 07:01:12

arne, how about the display? Is it VGA? still QVGA?

Posted by Ralph Hoogerhuis on 21.11.04 - 09:40:11

Can I also display the normal Windows Mobile strart page instead of the O2 Active User Interface?

Posted by John on 21.11.04 - 10:55:16

Does it have a QUAD band? if not what about the US customers?

Posted by thefa on 21.11.04 - 10:57:06

[2] Sounds good. I just a Qtek 9090 and I miss the Intellipas stuff! Anyone knows if this will be available as an add-on for PPC Phone edition 2003 SE without it so far?

Posted by felix on 21.11.04 - 21:29:09

@arne: do they lounch the O2 XDA IIi also as: i-mate?, Qtek? or SPV M1000? (Orange)? which is the HTC internal name for this device? cu felix

Posted by KMA on 22.11.04 - 20:19:44

Really it does not have much to offer specially in the design side. The new i-mate comes with four buttons which are designed to ease the hand search for function. It is not known also if the programs of the old i-mate really work with the new processor. I believe there is, no doubt, a positive development but I hope that this will not reflect negatively on the price, and what about the bundled software.

Posted by HDJ80 on 23.11.04 - 13:24:58

Work with XDAII backpack?

Posted by cliff on 23.11.04 - 16:32:09

Would you expect a cdma / tri-mode version.

Posted by Arne Hess on 23.11.04 - 16:33:40

[1] Yes, it's still QVGA.
[2] Yep - that's not a problem as with all previous O2 Active UIs for Xda, Xda II and Xda III/IIs.
[3] As far as I've heard it will come with tri-band only. Not to mention that O2 is a European/Asian carrier only where GSM 900/1800 MHz is used only.
[4] Depends on your OEM, in your case Qtek. They have to license it.
[5] I can not comment it yet; the internal name is - as mentioned in the article "Alpine".
[6] That's the beauty - for me - that it comes with the original Xda II design which is my prefered design anyway. As for the applications, the Xscale CPU is based on StrongARM and the Bulverde CPU is based on the XScale which allows compatibility! See other Pocket PCs with the same CPU like the new Dell's.
[7] At least it would fit but I wasn'tt able to test the compatibility. Anyway - o2 told me it should be compatible.

Posted by BRosenow on 23.11.04 - 18:10:06

Arne - in the photo of the IIi showing the new camera there is a rectangular window above and to the left of the camera.  This looks suspiciously like a flash unit.  Am I missing something?  Does this camera actually include a flash?  That would be an AMAZING addition to enhance the quality of the photos.

Posted by BRosenow on 23.11.04 - 18:14:29

[10] Nevermind . . . as I look at the photo on my large screen I can see it is your PPCW.NET logo.  Oh well . . . THAT would have been an incredible addition!

Thanks anyway

Posted by Jim on 23.11.04 - 21:00:10

[2]
The O2 Active UI could be uninstalled if needed, anyway u can always activate the today screen via the start menu if that is preferred. The advantage of the Active screen is that it makes setting up the device easy via the my XDA feature, and easy access to main program like messaging, the internet etc...

rgds

Jim

Posted by Evgeny on 24.11.04 - 06:53:40

Arne, thanks for review.

Does IntelliDialer search through contacts in languages other than English ?

Posted by Bowlch on 25.11.04 - 20:34:38

This phone looks amazing:D big_smile big_smile!!! Great for wardriving tongue
Camera looks gr8 2 :wink:

Posted by Nilesh on 25.11.04 - 20:49:15

Hope this great device is released soon!!If only it had a flash and does anyone know how many colours?Hope they have got more colours on screen!And,how about incorporating an FM radio also?Or is this wanting too much,too soon?!?

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