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Mobile phone network Orange today launched in the UK, France and Switzerland its anticipated take on the HTC Universal clamshell form-factor smart phone, the SPV M5000.

As Orange's first 3G-enabled PDA, M5000 will become the flagship model of the company's business-oriented Signature device line-up, a range of corporate-oriented handsets from a range of manufacturers and aimed at volume buyers. According to Orange, the Signature phones provide a consistent user experience and ease of management, regardless of manufacturer, price or form factor. That, it said, results in reduced deployment costs.

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Tantalising images of what purports to be Acer's next, Windows Mobile 5.0-based PocketPC have been tacitly confirmed as genuine by the manufacturer

The snaps, posted on Chinese-language website Mobile1, show a stylish black and silver unit sporting a 3.7in, 65536-colour, 480 x 640 display which takes up most of the device's front panel but for a bezel and a compact navigator and application key cluster.

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With its 3G data network all dressed up and with nowhere to go, Verizon is courting PC notebook OEMs and cutting prices. Today it announced deals to embed CDMA EV-DO chips with the top three US PC manufacturers, Dell, Lenovo and HP, in their notebook PCs. Verizon's monthly tariff falls to $60 - half what European business users pay for their 3G data.

While Wi-Fi is becoming a standard feature on notebooks, network coverage is anything but ubiquitous. A succession of standards has emphasized speed over range and QoS, the bottom fell out of the hot spot market, and the remaining providers have been reluctant to sign roaming agreements. All of which means the road warrior must scramble to a hotspot, and subscribe to several hotspot providers.

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ICSTIS, the UK's premium rate phone watchdog, has given a cautious welcome to Jamster!'s decision to let parents prevent their kids from downloading content from its website.

The Jamster! Guardian service goes live in the UK this week and rolls out to other countries later this year. It enables parents enter a mobile phone number onto the Jamster! website to prevent content from being downloaded to that phone.

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Review In the early days of Windows Mobile smart phones Orange was the UK's leading light, launching the first UK device way back at the tail end of 2002. Since then Orange has been joined by other operators and by operator-agnostic vendors, but the company has kept its own line flowing with a steady range of new entrants. The latest of these is the SPV C550, a blatant attempt to jump on the music bandwagon, but with a few other nice plus points too, writes Sandra Vogel.

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There is now one mobile phone subscription for every three people on the planet, according to researchers at Wireless Intelligence.

The information service, a collaboration between analyst house Ovum and the GSM Association says that there are now more than two billion mobile subscriptions out there, including pre-paid accounts.

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T-Mobile UK has admitted that many of its customers cannot access external email even when they buy supposedly email-enabled phones from the service provider.

Unlike most other mobile operators in the UK, T-Mobile operates a "walled garden" that means customers cannot freely access external email accounts with its service. With the latest smartphones on the market, tens of thousands of UK citizens have been upgrading so they can access their normal email accounts while on the move.

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Review Just as the great unwashed now think that all MP3 players are called an iPod, so there was a time when all handheld devices were simply known as iPaqs. This must have annoyed most vendors, especially Palm, but HP was never heard to complain, writes Stephen Patrick.
Now, the company is attempting to do the same with the connected device. The HP iPaq hw6515 Mobile Messenger is only the second such handset the company has launched, and it's again opted to follow the Microsoft route, in this case Windows Mobile PocketPC Phone Edition 2003.

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Palm appears to be gearing up to launch the successor to its Tungsten T5 PDA next month, along with a new low-end colour handheld.

The new Tungsten is described as the Tungsten X, though we'd suggest that from the picture of the machine posted on PalmInfocenter, that's a placeholder name rather than a codename or the device's shipping moniker. The device looks like a standard T5, but with darker keys.

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Cellco Orange is driving up its French mobile TV services and has now reach 60 channels, according to supplier satellite services company Globecast.

David Justin, Senior VP Marketing and Product Development at Globecast told us at the IBC conference in Amsterdam this week: “We aggregate the content and provide our own 3GPP compatible encoder for Orange and now they have asked us to take this up to 50 TV channels and 11 radio channels.”

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