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PREVIEW: PPCW.Net i-Mate Smartphone 2002
Posted by Arne Hess - on Friday, 30.05.03 - 19:01:00 CET under 08 - Reviews - Viewed 12095x
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Today I received the sample i-Mate Smartphone. It's the same device, which is currently available from PPCW.Net except that this sample doesn't includes the manual and CD-ROM which will be delivered with the commercial version for sure.

Overall, the PPCW.Net i-Mate - which is based on the HTC Tanager - is identically with the Orange SPV - which is based on the HTC Canary, an earlier developed device. So the PPCW.Net i-Mate uses the same StrongARM CPU as well as it includes a 32 MB Flash ROM and 16 MB RAM. The minor differences are in the general device design as well as the used screen.

Package Content
The PPCW.Net i-Mate comes with everything you can expect, except the camera which have to be ordered separately. The box includes the Smartphone, a USB cradle, the 110/220 Volt power cord with UK and Euro adapter plus the device adapter, a pouch and a headset which can be used for voice calls and listening MP3s.
Also the commercial version will include the manual and a CD-ROM with the required software like ActiveSync.

The devices comes with Microsoft's Windows Powered Smartphone 2002 operating system, already used for the Orange SPV and Compal Smartphone (used for the Microsoft Developer Kit) but the software version is a pretty new one:

Compared to the Orange SPV, the PPCW.Net i-Mate is slightly longer but - as I said before - the overall design of the device is different from the SPV and personally I enjoy the design even more:

The most important for me is the different keyboard layout. While the SPV keys was pretty small and a pain if you are a SMS junkie (I'm), the PPCW.Net i-Mate keys are larger, plain and not copped. Also the navigation pad is different from the HTC Canary. While the Canary uses a kind of D-Pad with an action button in the middle (similar to Pocket PCs), the Tanager uses a kind of joystick instead - comparable to the Sony Ericsson T68.

However, like the Orange SPV, the PPCW.Net i-Mate is longer than a Sony Ericsson T68 but shorter than Nokia's best-selling 6210:

Beside the typical Microsoft Smartphone applications like Pocket Outlook, Pocket Internet Explorer, MSN Messenger, Inbox and Windows Media Player, the PPCW.Net i-Mate also includes an MMS client from EZOS, which is integrated into the Inbox (the same client as used with the Orange SPV) and a camera utility. So if you also get the camera (which isn't included by default but available as accessory only), you don't need any additinal software to snap pictures with your Smartphone and send it via MMS or E-Mail (please note, that currently Inbox doesn't handles attachments. To send a photo via E-Mail, you have to use 3rd party application like IA Styles IA File Manager).

However, another important fact is, that the PPCW.Net i-Mate doesn't requires any certificates to install software. This means, that you can install every available Smartphone 2002 software on your device, doesn't matter if it is certified or not.

The camera is available separately and has to be attached to the bottom of the phone. This makes the phone longer and it should be attached only if you want to make a picture.
However, picture quality isn't that bad, at least it's the typical cell phone quality we also get from other multimedia phones like the Sony Ericsson T68 or Siemens S55:

  • 640 x 480
  • 320 x 420
  • 160 x 128
  • 80 x 64

Honestly the picture quality is ordinary only and this combination can't replace a digital camera but it's good enough to share a moment by E-Mail or MMS as well as keeping the moment for yourself. I - for instance - snap two to three pictures per day, just as reminders or to keep the moment. Also a lot of these pictures I share with friends by MMS or E-Mail.

Final Conclusion

I'm already using the sister model of the HTC Tanager - the HTC Canary - for some months now and in general it's not that different. However, I enjoy the Tanager even more than the Canary because of several facts:

  • 1st the screen got a real enhancement. The Tanager uses a transflective screen now unlike the Canary which worked with a side (or better bottom) light. This makes the screen clearer and sharper and as Jason from Pocket PC Thoughts said: "it's a difference like the iPAQ H3600 and H3900 screen".

  • 2nd the keyboard works better for me. The keys are larger and easier to use, specially if you are a hardcore SMS junkie. Also I prefer the joystick over the navigation pad.

  • 3rd I enjoy the general design of the Tanager more than the Canary design. It looks nicer (but I also have heard observed opinions) compared to the Canary.

All the stuff I miss on the hardware-side is the missing Bluetooth support. So this is something you have to keep in mind, the PPCW.Net i-Mate Smartphone doesn't include Bluetooth and currently it's not possible to use a Bluetooth SD card with the Tanager!
On the Software-side I don't miss that much and that, what I miss, seems to become more and more released through 3rd party developers. Something we have already seen on the Pocket PC platform. Sure the Smartphone isn't complete but like the Pocket PC it offers a great framework for developers to add additional and cool stuff to the phone!

Cheers ~ Arne

Related Links : [More Information]


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Posted by Pablo Labarrere on 02.06.03 - 07:48:50

Hey Arne,

I am dumbfounded at this moment in reading your beautiful review. It makes me want one of these things so bad... anyway I have one question. I see an expansion on the side of the phone. Is this for both the SIM card and any SD card I may have? Do I have to have the SIM card in the phone at all times or can I just switch it for the SD?  I have never used a phone like this so any info would be greatly appreciated. I am switching carriers to one the supports GSM/GPRS in the USA and I want to make sure I can use the phone before I buy it... thanks !!

smile             Pablo

Posted by Arne Hess on 02.06.03 - 10:45:35

@Pablo: No, the slot on the side is for MMC/SD card only, the SIM card is hidden by the battery (see also the more pictures from the Smart Amazing Phone here, which is also based on the HTC Tanager http://.../).

SIM cards can't be removed during operation, it doesn't holds the PIN only but also your cell phone number (and a lot more information) so it interacts with the cell phone and the network the whole time!

As long as you switch to something like T-Mobile or other GSM 1900 MHz networks this phone also works in the US without problems.

Posted by M. Lynch on 09.06.03 - 08:45:38

Hey Arne,

I have preordered the device it looks beautiful, but i was wondering if you had any pics comparing the size of it to the Pocket PC Phone Edition (the device I currently use) so I can get an idea of how much less bulk I would be carrying around. I am very anxious to get my hands on the I-Mate. Also any ideas on where i could go to get the GPRS and MMS settings for my device for use on the T-Mobile network here in US?

Posted by James Hedrick on 09.06.03 - 13:02:48

M. Lynch,

I got the Microsoft Dev Kit device working on t-mobile in US. Works great!

Settings for GPRS:


User and Pass: Blank

I have the DNS servers on an outlook note at home, I will post that later today. I called t-mobile and the wireless group was very helpful when I was trying to get up and running.

Posted by M. Lawrence on 16.06.03 - 19:26:34


Any new developments in the availability of a keyboard/keyboard driver for the non-orange Tanagers?  Further, might I make a suggestion that you put a centralised link to smartphone software "must haves."  You can, as a surfer, spend some time reviewing archives, but that is time intensive.  For example, it seems a utility to organize tasks (power tasks), use notes (smartphone notes), a file utility, a viewere for excel, pdf and word files (repligo?), etc. could all go on such list.....

Posted by Chronos on 16.06.03 - 19:57:59

Here's a great link on connecting to T-Mobile US' network:


Posted by atul on 18.06.03 - 20:51:39

Hello Arne: Do you know what carrier is currently supporting this phone in the US?  I called AT&T Wireless but they said they don't - I assume because this is still not commercially available?


Posted by Cameron on 18.06.03 - 21:33:14


When I get it, I plan on using the i-mate on the AT&T network.  As I already have a GSM plan with AT&T, I'll just need to pop the SIM card out of my existing phone and in to the i-mate.

Posted by Arne Hess on 19.06.03 - 12:25:18

@atul: Cameron is right with what he said. Take the SIM, plug it into the phone and you are ready to go! Most carriers would tell you that the phone isn't supported in their network what is wrong but they have no clue what you are asking for (most of them)... ;-)

So make sure to check the GSM Association website for GSM networks in the US http://.../ to find a GSM network in your area. Every GSM network in the US which operates with the 1900 MHz will work with the PPCW.Net i-Mate!

Posted by jspare on 08.07.03 - 17:18:03

Does the i-Mate come with an ac adapter for the United States?

Posted by jspare on 08.07.03 - 17:41:59

Never mind.  Found the answer in the Forums.


Posted by Stian R on 12.07.03 - 10:05:12

Hei Arne.

Du har du peiling på om det finnes et telefon-svarer program for Pocket Pc?

(hvis noen ringer så vil eksempelvis telefonen svare med den beskjeden du har lagt inn etter så og så mange ring.

Hvis du hadde giddet å svare per email så hadde det vært meget bra.

(husk å fjerne -spam- fra email addressen)



Posted by Arne Hess on 12.07.03 - 17:32:50

Hei Stian!

I'm sorry but the only Scandinavian words I can speak and understand is my name ;-) and "hei" so please re-post in English.

Thanks ~ Arne

Posted by Ian on 18.07.03 - 17:06:17

Hi Arne,

Where can I buy this phone if I live in Canada and how much would it be?


Posted by Arne Hess on 18.07.03 - 17:36:35

@Ian: You can order it right here from PPCW.Net under: http://.../

There you get all the information you need including prices and yes, shipping to Canada is no problem. Just made a FedEx pack to Ontario ready for sending out. :-)

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