only official announcement at MWC
this year is the mega-rugged 810-F
that'll withstand 140 degrees of heat, 14 degrees of cold, water resistance, and shock resistance courtesy of a nasty rubber casing, but it's certainly not going to appeal to the average consumer -- especially consumers who aren't wearing clown pants with one-liter pockets. So to that end, the company is also showing off a Windows Mobile Standard device codenamed "Centurion" -- and we're pretty sure this is the most compelling device i-mate has ever made. The version we saw was literally the first working prototype they've assembled, which meant it was creaky, wobbly, and felt like it could break at a moment's notice, but we're not taking too much stock in that; the more important thing to note is that it's freakin' tiny. The keyboard was too mushy from its overwhelming prototype-ness to take stock of whether it'll actually be usable in production, but our quick impression gives us hope that it might
be wide enough to get the job done. The battery is absolutely tiny, so i-mate will be throwing in a battery wallet (remember the Upstage
?) to help mitigate the problem -- they didn't have a wallet ready to show, but even with such an accessory tacked on, you're still looking at a smartphone leaps and bounds smaller than pretty much anything else you've used. There's no date on the Centurion's launch, but they're targeting mid-year -- and yes, both the 810-F and Centurion will get free Windows Mobile 6.5 upgrades. Cheers to that.
i-mate's Centurion up close at MWC 2009
i-mate's 810F up close at MWC 2009