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O2 prefers the Pocket PC variant of Windows Mobile but there has been a single Smartphone in the Xda range previously – the Xda SP. With its second outing into Windows Mobile Smartphone territory O2 does something no other operator has done in the UK – bring Wi-Fi into the mix.
The danger for an operator of offering Wi-Fi on a handset is that we’ll all run off and get Voice Over IP clients and make our calls for free over the Internet rather than use the operator’s network.
O2 is unconcerned enough about this to have taken the plunge and I’d guess that revenue is not in too much immediate danger. The world’s best known VoIP provider, Skype has a beta of a client for Windows Smartphone, but as yet it is text only (i.e. only suitable for IM). A VoIP solution that I know does work on Windows Mobile Smartphones, CiceroPhone is designed for corporate networks and delivered as part of a big rollout to companies rather than individuals.
Furthermore, Wi-Fi is starting to be seen as something higher end handsets can legitimately incorporate for all kinds of purposes. Nokia is starting to introduce it into handsets in its range, for example the recently reviewed N91, connected Pocket PCs sport it as a matter of course, and it is possible to get a couple of other Windows Mobile Smartphones with Wi-Fi if you can live without an operator contract. Indeed the very handset that is the Xda IQ is available as the Qtek 8310 and i-mate SP5.
So if you can’t make voice calls with Wi-Fi what can you do? Well you can’t synchronise using ActiveSync either. Windows Mobile 5.0 requires the latest version of ActiveSync, version 4.0 or higher, and Microsoft has disabled Wi-Fi synchronising in this version. I found the key use I made of Wi-Fi during testing was Web browsing.
But enough about Wi-Fi, what about the rest of what the Xda IQ has to offer?