HP pioneers the navigation-age

HP has launched the iPAQ hw6500 – a lightweight mobile messenger that the firm claims is the first-ever PDA with integrated GPS.

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By  Cleona Godinho Published  September 16, 2005

HP has launched the iPAQ hw6500 – a lightweight mobile messenger that the firm claims is the first-ever PDA with integrated GPS. The iPAQ hw6500 features a built-in GPS receiver and navigation system from TomTom, which gives users driving directions (including turn-by-turn navigation) to any map location. Although regional support for GPS is currently available, the PDA doesn’t come with maps pre-installed, thus customers have to buy them from a third party provider. HP is currently partnering up with navigation specialist, Navtech to offer customers maps of the Middle East. All maps will have a list of preset locations (including hotels, malls, hospital and major landmarks). Once the user picks a particular location on the list, the software will draw up a detailed route plan. However, users can also get directions to any other location on the map, even if a particular location isn’t already on the preset list. HP and Navtech will officially launch the maps during Gitex 2005 at the end of the month. The US $775 hw6500 – aimed at business professionals, media buffs and road warriors – integrates wireless networking, phone capabilities and high-speed data networking. It also supports Bluetooth technology. Wi-Fi is not offered as standard, though users can purchase and use an optional Wi-Fi SD card. A 1.3 megapixel HP Photosmart camera is also built-in. The 165-gram PDA boasts a 312MHz processor, 128MB of onboard memory and an integrated thumb keyboard, which lets users create e-mails, text and instant messages. The hw6500 runs Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 2003 operating system, which enables instant messaging, e-mail downloads and surfing online. On the phone front, the iPAQ features GSM, GPRS and EDGE technology, which HP claims will help users enjoy faster access to voice and data services, as well as online content. “These advanced technologies can help users perform at higher levels of productivity by providing real-time access to critical business systems and applications,” stated Anil Ghandi, general manager, personal systems group, HP Middle East. The hw6500 will officially be in stores by the end of this month and will compete with PalmOne’s $735 Treo 650 and Qtek’s $739 9090 PDA.

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