Former Windows Mobile maker i-mate has apparently sparked back into life after looking as though it was all over
just a few years ago. The troubled company is planning on returning to the market with a new 4.7-inch smartphone running the full Windows 8 desktop and tablet operating system - not to be confused with Windows Phone 8, which runs on Nokia, HTC and Samsung handsets. The company, now based in Redmond Washington, is developing the Intelegent smartphone to work in combination with a dock and a wireless tablet display to create comprehensive workstation with full mobile capabilities.
Although the device is still vaporware, the company is now comprised of 25 employees and is working towards a summer launch for the Intelegent handset in both CDMA and GSM versions which it plans to retail for $750 off-contract. Making it possible to run the full Windows 8 operating system on a smartphone is Intel's Clovertrail+ platform. The Intelegent will be powered by a dual-core Intel Atom Z2760 clocked at 1.8GHz paired with 2GB of RAM. It is the same chip that powers Windows 8 tablet devices like the Asus VivoTab Smart
The i-mate Intelegent will be able to run Windows 8 as its 4.7-inch display sports a 1280x768 resolution. Following Microsoft's recent variation
to the specifications for Windows 8, the OS will work on devices sporting smaller displays. However, despite the fact that Microsoft says Windows 8 is not designed to scale to the to the 4.7-inch size, i-mate CEO Jim Morrison says that this will change when Windows Blue
is released later this year.
The Intelegent is also designed to combine with a dock and work as a full desktop when combined with a desktop monitor. However, its storage will be limited 64GB - still useable, but somewhat limited in the desktop context unless supplemented by external storage or the cloud. Also part of the i-mate equation is the inclusion of a tablet display that will not have its own processor, but is planned to work over a wireless connection with the smartphone. The total package including smartphone, dock and tablet display is expected to run to $1600.
One hurdle that i-mate has had to overcome is the lack of a smartphone module in Windows 8 by building its cellular support. It has created its own dialer interface that routes calls through Microsoft's Lync. It can work without needing Windows 8 to fully boot and can wake from sleep in just 45 miliseconds to allow the user to take incoming calls. However, the system is said to still require additional engineering before it reaches market.
Although i-mate claims it has had some help from Microsoft in developing the Intelegence handset, the Redmond software giant has not confirmed that this is the case. Intel, however, has confirmed its involvement with PC World saying that i-mate's chequered past was not an issue as it believes in the concept. Vapourware it may be, but if i-mate manages to get the device to market, it is likely to generate considerable interest as a highly mobile Windows 8 PC masquerading as a smartphone. [via PC World