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The Ogo goes international

Even though Cingular stopped selling the BlackBerry-like device, the Ogo will roll out in countries outside the U.S., says its manufacturer.

While it became a no-go item for Cingular Wireless, the BlackBerry-like wireless messaging handheld known as the Ogo is getting ready for markets outside the United States, its manufacturer said during a recent interview.

As previously reported, No. 1 U.S. cell phone operator Cingular has stopped selling the Ogo, although it will continue to support the devices that have already been sold with Cingular service plans. Because it is a data-only device, the Ogo didn't fit into Cingular's product strategy, a company representative said.

The Ogo is a phone that doesn't make phone calls. Rather, it handles an array of data-only services, including text messaging, instant messaging and e-mailing. Almost all Ogo owners seemed happy with the handheld, using it at least once a day, according to Ogo manufacturer IXI Mobile, based in Redwood City, Calif.

The Ogo's problems finding traction in the United States underscore the dominance of the Treo, BlackBerry and Sidekick--similar kinds of higher-end wireless devices that also function as phones and cater to mobile professionals and the young and hip.

Tal Raeside, vice president of IXI Mobile, said not to count the Ogo out. It will be for sale in countries outside the United States in the next few months. In the meantime, the company is re-evaluating whether to take another stab at the United States, he added.

From IXI's perspective, the Ogo may be a victim of Cingular's $41 billion takeover of AT&T Wireless. AT&T Wireless' launch of the Ogo took place just weeks before the merger was announced. Takeover rules prevented IXI from ever "really getting Cingular's perspective on this" before it was too late to do any good, Raeside said.