The San Francisco Chronicle's Ryan Kim reports that HP unveiled its new iPAQ 500 Series Voice Messenger this week at 3GSM in Barcelona. The phone, which runs on Windows Mobile 6.0 and connects via GSM/GPRS/EDGE and Wi-Fi, represents HP's transition from the wireless device market to the consumer smartphone market.
Most distinctively, it replaces the iPAQ's usual QWERTY keypad with a simple phone keypad.
"The move follows in the footsteps of Research In Motion and Palm, which have released more consumer-oriented models of their popular BlackBerry and Treo devices," Kim writes. "Pricing and availability of HP's new smartphone haven't been announced."
"Mobile e-mail is coming to the masses," says Niraj Gandhi, product marketing manager for HP's handheld unit. "It's no longer an executive tool."
Gizmodo's Brian Lam is not impressed. While he appreciates the fact that the "slim phone" "looks nothing like the whale-ish iPAQ PDAs of yesteryear," he notes that LAPTOP Magazine's Sarah Anderson complains that the phone is unusually heavy and has a low-res screen. "Sarah ended up giving it 3/5 stars," Lam writes. "A disappointing return for the iPAQ , which should have been left to die (with Compaq) anyhow."