i-mate flips out over new ‘smart’ phone

i-mate has unveiled the newest addition to its smarpthone line in the form of the quad-band ‘i-mate Smartflip’, which the firm claims is a marvel of mobile engineering.

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By  Matthew Wade Published  June 14, 2006

i-mate has unveiled the newest addition to its smarpthone line in the form of the quad-band ‘i-mate Smartflip’, which the firm claims is a marvel of mobile engineering. Aimed at users looking for a useable, handheld device for both work and play, the Smartflip is GPRS and EDGE ready and features a slim clamshell design, a full-colour display, an etched, metallic, flat keypad (similar in style to that of Motorola’s RAZR phone) and a luminescent backlight. Like all of i-mate’s handhelds, the 99-gram Smartflip runs Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system (OS) - in this case the version 5 ‘for Smartphone’ flavour. This newest version of Microsoft's handheld platform includes ‘Direct Push’ technology which, providing a user’s company is running Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 with Service Pack 2 installed, can enable push e-mail. This technology allows users to get up-to-the-minute, BlackBerry-style access to their Outlook e-mail, calendar, contacts, and tasks, whenever and wherever they may be. Although this ‘Smartphone’ edition of the Windows Mobile OS doesn’t offer Microsoft Office document viewing functions (these are instead included with the ‘Pocket PC version of Microsoft's Windows Mobile OS for PDAs), Smartflip comes supplied with third-party ‘ClearVue’ viewer software with which users can read Word, Excel, PDF and PowerPoint documents on the fly. The Smartflip also includes Bluetooth for transferring files from other nearby Bluetooth devices and its on-board storage capacity can be increased by slotting a microSD card into the supplied card slot. (MicroSD cards are currently available on the market in capacities of up to 512Mbytes.) “The i-mate Smartflip combines elegant good looks, with great style and unmatched functionality – making it perfect for the urban professional on the go,” said i-mate’s new global director of sales, Jack Craine. The Smartflip is available immediately across the region priced $517 (look out for a full review soon in Windows Middle East magazine). In addition to hardware, i-mate is also increasingly flexing its muscles as an in-house developer of software solutions for Microsoft Windows Mobile platforms. Its programs include interactive games and are available from www.clubimate.com, as is technical support and a popular user forum. Meanwhile i-mate’s corporate-aimed device management pack, ‘i-mate suite’ is found at www.imatesuite.com. This allows firms to take command and control of their data and Windows Mobile devices anytime, anywhere.

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