Hewlett-Packard (HP) has at last entered the race for market share in the burgeoning hand-held/mobile phone sector.
The vendor added four hand-held Pocket PC devices to its iPAQ family last week, including the h6340, HP's first converged hand-held device. It will face direct competition from models such as the BlackBerry and XDA.
The device offers GPRS, Bluetooth, infrared and GSM connectivity.
HP is currently working with the major mobile phone network carriers to certify the h6340 for sale as a branded Pocket PC in the same way O2 brands the XDA2.
Neil Dagger, HP UK's iPAQ wireless devices business manager, said the firm already has "thousands of resellers".
But he added: "We also want to sell through new or existing high-street partners. We've met with The Link already."
However, this may squeeze PDA resellers that have no capacity to sell mobile phone packages.
Keith Yaxley, sales and marketing director at HP mobile data reseller Data2Hand, agreed that selling the h6340 "may theoretically be an issue for those that can't sell mobile solutions".
But Dagger said: "We want to respect our existing reseller relationships. We believe the h6340 is still a data-centric device and our channel [has the best chance of] selling it to IT managers."
HP distributor Westcoast has set up a web site to bring resellers and ISVs together to develop targeted mobile packages.
Andy Dow, commercial director at Westcoast, said: "Traditionally, iPAQs needed a phone to talk to the world. Combining it in one device makes it easier. It's wrong to get hung up on the phone part. Think of it as providing mobile data connectivity."
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