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O2 Xda Mini Pro

O2's Mini Pro takes everything that we liked about the Xda II Mini PDA-phone and adds Wi-Fi, a side-sliding QWERTY keyboard and Windows Mobile 5.0.

Upside:
Initial details of the O2 Xda Mini Pro have arrived and its long list of features certainly raises the bar for converged PDA/phone manufacturers. Unlike the pen-only interface of the O2 Xda II Mini, the Pro ups the ante with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard on its left side, which puts the screen into landscape mode for typing. Weighing 150 grams and measuring approximately 108 x 58 x 23.7mm, the inclusion of the keyboard adds only about 6mm to the overall thickness of the device.

The Mini Pro runs Microsoft's Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system, has a Texas Instruments OMAP 850 processor at is core, and 128MB of ROM providing system memory. For additional storage, the Xda Mini Pro has 64MB of user accessible RAM and also sports a mini-SD card slot at the top of its 2.8-inch touch-sensitive TFT screen (240 x 320 pixels).

Connectivity options are aplenty, with O2 including 802.11g Wi-Fi, USB, Bluetooth, infrared and a quad-band antenna, making the Xda Mini Pro an excellent choice for frequent travellers looking for a "world phone".

Although we are still awaiting the final software list, O2 has stated that the Xda Mini Pro will include Microsoft Pocket Outlook, Windows Media Player, MSN Messenger, Pocket Internet Explorer, ActiveSync, Voice Notes and Photo Caller ID. For music fans, the Xda Mini Pro supports AMR, AAC, WAV, WMA and MP3 files.

Downside:
Some digging around on TI's Web site reveals that the OMAP 850 has a maximum clock speed of 200MHz. At face value, this may seem less than the Xda II Mini's 416MHz Intel chip, but the Mini Pro has double the system memory, which can affect performance greatly.

We doubt WLAN use has been included in O2's rated battery life, which states the Xda Mini Pro is good for 10 hours of multimedia/PDA use, 4-5 hours of talk, or 200 hours of standby. Of course, we'll have to wait for a review unit to fully test this theory.

The only other area where we can see an improvement could be made is with the built-in camera. Although the Xda Mini Pro's 1.3-megapixel camera is decent in terms of resolution, 2-megapixel cameras have surfaced this year on Sony Ericsson's K750i and W800i Walkman phones.

Outlook:
O2 expects the Xda Mini Pro to launch in Australia in November for AU$1,199 with the O2 Xda Atom soon after.

According to research company IDC, O2 stepped up to take the number two spot in the combined PDA and data-centric device market in Australia this month, with 16.1 per cent of the overall market. Research In Motion (makers of BlackBerry devices) came it at number one with a 17.9 per cent, while HP and Palm took third and fourth position, respectively.

Editor's Note: O2 provided CNET.com.au with a preliminary specifications list that is subject to change when the actual product released around November 21, 2005. We'll post any updates we recieve on the site. The device is also available in Germany, where it is known as the O2 Xda Mini S.

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