While there was certainly celebrating to be done in Taipei, Redmond, and Melbourne, FL upon the Census Bureau's announcement that Harris Corp. had won a contract to supply its pollsters with half a million Windows Mobile-powered HTC smartphones, some regular taxpayers were likely left wondering why it was necessary to add $600 million to a 2010 census budget that already tops $11 billion. Luckily for the majority of us who were kept out of the loop during this decision-making process, Computerworld has an interview with the Bureau's field data collection project manager, Edwin B. Wagner Jr., who sheds a little bit of light (though not much) on the rationale behind equipping data collectors, who already sport Blackberries, with yet another device. Wagner claims that the smartphones will save the Bureau both time (keeping workers abreast of mailed-in returns so they don't go on unnecessary home visits) and money (due to the amount of paper saved, although last time we checked, you could get a whole ream of the white stuff for less than the lowest-end HTC product), along with providing more accurate census results by reducing the number of times data needs to be manually transferred. He also goes into a bit of detail (though again, not much) on why they went with WinMo over other OSes, and hints that the phones may be enabled for limited voice use after all, so hit the Read link for the full scoop.

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