Pharos, Inventec Unveil New Line of GPS Smartphones

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Pharos and Taiwanese hardware maker Inventec on Saturday announced three new smartphones armed with Pharos GPS navigation software and travel information running on Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6.1 OS.

The Pharos, Inventec tie-up is similar to a deal recently announced by Garmin and Asustek to develop smartphones that emphasize GPS navigation technology under the Garmin-Asus name.

The three Pharos, Inventec GPS smartphones also make use of Microsoft Live Search, which provides information such as traffic conditions, gas prices, movie times and weather. They all use Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6.1, giving users access to Outlook e-mail, and the ability to use other mobile versions of Microsoft Office, including Excel Mobile, PowerPoint Mobile and Word Mobile.

The most advanced of the three new handsets, the Pharos Traveler 137, boasts a 3.5-inch screen and will be available globally in the first half of this year for US$599.95, the companies said in a news release.

The screen on the device provides high quality 480 x 800 resolution.

Other features include an on-board 3.0-megapixel camera that can also take video, and a second 0.3-megapixel camera for video calls. The handset can work with a variety of wireless technologies, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, in addition to cellular technologies such as quad-band GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) 850/900/1800/1900, EDGE (Enhanced Data Rate for GSM Evolution), GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) and WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access), as well as UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) at 384-kilobits per second or HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) at 7.2-megabits per second and HSUPA (High Speed Uplink Packet Access) at 2-megabits per second.

Talk time on the device is up to 4 hours, with 200 hours of standby. The handset also includes a USB 2.0 slot and a Micro SD card slot. It weighs 4.9 ounces.

The other two handsets, the Pharos Traveler 117 and Traveler 127, have slightly lower-end components than the 137 and cost less, at US$529.95 each. The handsets share mostly the same wireless technologies for talk and data.

The 117 sports a 2.8-inch screen that covers its entire face, but with lower resolution than the 137 at 480 x 640. The handset weighs 4.8 ounces and has talk time of 7.5 hours on GSM, 5 hours on WCDMA and 200 hours of standby. The handset also carries two cameras, a 2.0-megapixel camera with video function as well as a secondary 0.3-megapixel camera for video calls.

The 127 carries a smaller screen at 2.5-inches but adds a QWERTY keypad for easy data use. The screen resolution is 320 x 240. The smartphone shares mostly the same specifications as the 117, but weighs a tad more at 5.11 ounces.

More information on the devices can be found on Pharos' Web site.

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