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CeBit: O2 PDA phone launch date set

Xda to hit UK stores in May says mobile firm

BT mobile spinoff O2 will put its Xda combo PDA/mobile phone on sale in May, it announced yesterday.

The personal digital assistant-cum-phone will be the first product using Microsoft's Pocket PC 2002 Phone Edition platform to hit the European market, said Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer at the CeBit show in Hanover.

The UK version of the Xda will be priced between £400 and £500 when purchased with a service contract, O2 said.

The mobile operator has yet to fix pricing for those buying the Xda without wishing to sign up for its service. O2 expects to makes this, as well as prices that take into account local market conditions, public "soon", it said.

"O2 could have released this device a half year ago, but they were determined that it have full GPRS (general packet radio service) functionality and, much to my amazement, it does," said Robbie Wright, director of Microsoft's mobile devices group.

Microsoft and O2 agreed the device would have to be competitively priced so as to give it a chance to succeed in a crowded mobile PDA market. This probably means some heavy subsidising.

Microsoft is in discussions with O2 to market a version of the new Smartphone (once codenamed Stinger) in the future, Wright said.


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