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HP unveils iPAQ 600, 900 smart phones

HP unleashed five new mobile devices on us last week, considerably beefing up its iPAQ range. They include two 3G phones, a personal sat-nav and a couple of PDAs

HP launched five new mobile devices when we were in Noo Yoik last week, extending its long-running iPAQ range. They included two 3G phones, a personal sat-nav and (for all you warehouse workers out there) a couple of PDAs.

The most impressive of these was the iPAQ 900 Series Business Messenger -- a 3G smartphone with a Qwerty keyboard, 3-megapixel camera and Wi-Fi. It felt good in the hand, allowed quick data entry and looked the part.

The iPAQ 600 looks more basic, but appearances can be deceptive. Its 12-button keypad has a sensor that works just like an iPod's Click Wheel. You simply circle your thumb clockwise or anti-clockwise around the buttons to navigate through menus, and zoom in and out of maps and whatnot. Both phones run Windows Mobile 6.

The iPAQ 300 Series Travel Companion is a handheld GPS device you can use in your car, or while on foot patrol. It'll let you plan your trip on a PC before you set off, then transfer your route to the device via USB. Unlike most sat-navs, it features 3D mapping software, which looks pretty frickin' cool if you ask us. A 600MHz processor helps ensure the demanding graphical effects stay stutter-free, but whether it'll prove any more useful than a birds-eye view remains to be seen.

The last two products, the iPAQ 200 Series Enterprise Handheld, and the iPAQ 100 Series Classic Handheld are straight out of Dullsville, Tennessee (twinned with Durham). The former is a 13mm thin PDA with 89mm (3.5-inch) touchscreen. Apparently it's the first of its kind to run Windows Mobile 6. The latter sports a 101mm (4-inch) touchscreen and is more powerful so you can run enterprise-class applications such as Orac.... zzz. Sorry. Both have 802.11b/g Wi-Fi.

All are available now for your consideration. -Rory Reid