Toshiba introduces Windows Mobile handsets for the U.K.

Laptop manufacturer crashes the smart-phone party with two devices that support fingerprint scanning.

BARCELONA, Spain--Toshiba is entering the U.K.'s market for smart phones and PDAs with two Windows Mobile devices promising close integration with the company's laptops, the manufacturer revealed at the 3GSM World Congress on Monday.

The G500 slider smart phone and G900 Pocket PC, which will be marketed under Toshiba's Portege brand, will incorporate fingerprint scanners for added security. The scanners can also be used to navigate menus.

One integration feature is that users will be able to unlock their Toshiba laptops via their Toshiba handsets with the fingerprint scanner. If the user moves a certain distance away from the PC, its Bluetooth connection to the mobile device will break and the notebook system will lock down. The handsets can also be used as controllers for PowerPoint presentations.

The handsets have several other features. Both devices can handle Wi-Fi and HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access), the faster version of 3G. They are also enabled with SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) for Net telephony. Toshiba plans to ship a voice over Internet Protocol client with the phone.

While the G500 is based on Windows Mobile 5.0, the G900 will be one of the first devices to sport the new Windows Mobile 6 for Pocket PC Phone Edition. It will take mini-USB sticks as well as mini-SD cards.

The G500 will hit the stores sometime this spring, followed by the G900 a month later. No operator partnerships have yet been revealed, though Toshiba intends to market the handsets through its traditional IT hardware resellers as well as direct corporate channels.

Toshiba is not a well-known name in the U.K. handset business, though its fashion phones are popular in Europe.

David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from Barcelona, Spain.

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