updated 02:35 pm EDT, Tue August 15, 2006
Smartphones have been taking on increasingly complex tasks; even so, they are ultimately compromises. Whether it be the Danger Sidekick or a Palm Treo, the keyboard is often very limited and the display rarely useful for real work. The German company ROAD, a recent startup, has aggressively claimed that its new handyPC s101 is not just a good smartphone, but better than any smartphone through its design and software. When closed, the handyPC has the controls of a candybar phone, complete with regular-size buttons. Open the phone, however, and there is a very different device underneath. The inside is effectively a small PC: a 640x240 screen and a 63-key keyboard let you use as a much more comfortable environment than usual for e-mail, web browsing, and viewing Microsoft Office files. It currently uses a Linux-based interface it plans to let other manufacturers use. The company is also set to ship in versions with Windows Mobile and Symbian operating systems as well. Few other details have been made public; the company is expected to reveal more in September at the IFA conference in Berlin. Photos of the inside and outside are available after the jump.