updated 10:25 am EST, Fri February 27, 2009
ASUS on Friday launched the P835 as its new, range-topping touchscreen smartphone and one of its first more conspicuous challengers to the iPhone. The phone depends on a 3.5-inch, 800x480 touchscreen but also adds a BlackBerry-like trackball for one-handed navigation and quicker scrolling. ASUS bases the phone on Windows Mobile 6.1 but tries to get around interface limitations by implementing a new version of its in-house Glide interface which is believed easier to use and also more visually appealing. Opera Mobile also gives the P835 fuller HTML support than Microsoft's default Internet Explorer browser.
The bar-shaped handset comes with 3G networking over 7.2Mbps HSPA and also supports GPS navigation as well as Wi-Fi. In a unique twist, the phone's Wi-Fi can be turned into an access point that shares the 3G connection without having to use Bluetooth or other tethering. Media capture and playback is also given special treatment with a 5-megapixel camera, 4GB of internal memory and a microSDHC slot.
ASUS in its typical launch fashion doesn't mention prices or release dates. The phone supports North American frequencies for GSM calls and EDGE data but lacks the necessary 850MHz band for 3G on AT&T or Rogers; the absent support points to ASUS' traditional approach of offering its smartphones in the US only as unlocked devices through certain retailers. [image via Mobile-Review]