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Windows Mobile backer plans BlackBerry rival

Taiwanese mobile giant targets RIM

Taiwan's HTC (High Tech Computer), the largest maker of mobile handsets that run the Windows Mobile OS (operating system), plans to launch a smartphone that looks like a BlackBerry, complete with a qwerty keypad, by the end of the year.

The handset, code-named Excalibur, is designed to promote the push email function of Microsoft's Windows Mobile, and compete with the popular BlackBerry service offered by RIM (Research In Motion). BlackBerry-like offerings entering the market raise the stakes for RIM as it faces increased competition.

HTC's new handset will support a host of wireless functions, including GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication), Edge (Enhanced Data GSM Environment), WLAN (wireless LAN) and Bluetooth, according to a source close to the matter.

HTC declined to officially comment on the device.

The device is likely to be launched first by mobile phone service provider O2 in Germany, with a qwertz keypad for the local market instead of qwerty.

Excalibur will then be offered in other areas of Europe. Pricing information was not available.


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