updated 08:10 pm EST, Sat January 5, 2008
Vodafone 2008 Roadmap
(Updated with Palm Wanda) Both HP and Palm are set to launch new phones this year that will escalate the competition in the smartphone business, according a series of BGR leaks from European carrier Vodafone's 2008 roadmap for the UK. Codenamed the Silver, HP's device will be styled after Research in Motion's BlackBerry Pearl and even include the latter's SureType keyboard, suggesting support either for RIM's own "push" mail or a close emulation of it through Office Mobile. However, the Silver will allegedly outperform the Pearl with a far faster 7.2Mbps HSDPA connection and both GPS as well as Wi-Fi in a single device. It should sell for ₤250 ($368) and ship roughly in July, though whether it will support US cell frequencies is unknown.
HP will also release a related phone known as the Oak in September for ₤260 ($383) that switches to a slide-out keyboard format with a larger screen, according to the report.
Palm is also developing its anticipated sequel to the Treo 750. Nicknamed the Drucker, the smartphone is most notable for its use of the more advanced Windows Mobile 6.1 and will also upgrade the camera to 2 megapixels. It should explicitly support US 3G with tri-band HSDPA Internet access and will also sport GPS and Wi-Fi in a single device, the leak notes. It releases in the same July window as the Silver and will sell for ₤270 ($398).
A successor to the Europe-only Treo 500 will also appear in the form of a handset known as the Wanda, which adds a 2-megapixel camera and European HSDPA access. It arrives in September for ₤180 ($265).
RIM's recently leaked new BlackBerry has now been confirmed to be part of the BlackBerry 8-series and should bring crucial new features to the line, the leaked information shows: the sleeker phone will be RIM's first HSDPA phone and support up to 3.6Mbps, including US bands. It will also bring a much sharper 480x320 screen to replace the older 320x240 display, a faster processor, and merge both GPS and Wi-Fi into the same package. Vodafone hopes to release the phone in May but has not set a price.