MWC 2009: Various brands overview
i-mate introduced only one new device at this year's WMC. However, it's pretty unusual handset by many standards - even military ones, we should add. Known as i-mate 810-F, this Windows Mobile tough phone is strictly up to the rigorous requirements of the American military specs MIL-STD-810 revision F.
A ruggedized WinMo PocketPC with full QWERTY keyboard and a built-in GPS receiver. the i-mate 810-F is well versed in connectivity with quad-band GSM, tri-band 7.2Mbps HSDPA with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0 for local data transfers (A2DP profile supported) .
The i-mate 810-F sports a 2.46 inch QVGA touchscreen and is powered by a 624MHz CPU and 128 MB of RAM. There is no card slot so you'll have to make do with the built-in 2 GB memory. The camera is a no-thrills 2 megapixel fixed-focus camera.
The OS is Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional but it's upgradable to 6.5 (when it eventually comes out).
Strangely i-mate left the Windows Mobile user interface quite bare, even though they released their touch-friendly i-mate Go UI a couple of months ago. i-mate have at least provided the device with their proprietary security system Secure i-Q that allows for remote lockdown and remote wipe should the device be stolen.
Now here's the bit that may be of interest to cave divers in the Arctic region that feel the need to bring their PowerPoint presentations with them. The i-mate 810-F was designed around its namesake military standard, which means that the phone will operate in the temperature range of -10 to +60C, can be fully submerged under water, and it's shock resistant as well.
Okay, those of you who were thinking of Rambo-level toughness are probably a bit disappointed but keep in mind that this is a capable PocketPC, and rugged PocketPCs usually are the size of an average family car. Many phones claim compliance with the 810 standard (Sonim's XP phones and Verizon's G'zOne Type-V to name a few) but they are usually feature phones.
i-mate are so sure of the toughness of the 810-F that they even offer a conditional lifetime warranty - if it breaks, they'll replace it. Here's a short torture test we took at the i-mate stand.
Still, despite all the toughness you get, the i-mate 810-F is among the ugliest devices presented at the MWC 2009.
i-Mate also presented a dummy version of the i-mate Centurion - a QWERTY-enabled WinMo smartphone, which however is no bigger than a credt card. The Centurion is still just a codename, and as it seems i-mate are only teasing the public with its appearance at the MWC 2009. An actual working device will be presented this summer.
The Centurion has a full QWERTY keyboard and packs 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity.