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HTC Athena the realm of UMPC

The model knows as HTC Athena, according to the companys plans, is arriving in the market in the 1Q of the upcoming 2007. In fact, this communicator sports a world of difference from other offerings available on the market to date. From this model onwards HTC starts utilizing a new indexing system, which will make the Athena appear on the shelves of retail stores as HTC X7500. Our colleagues working for pdaclub.pl published a few live photos of HTC Athena a couple of days ago, in its turn, Mobile-review.com presents you with a comprehensive close-up of this hot proposal and its full specifications.

It would be a mistake to think of HTC Athena as a successor to a tablet communicator HTC Universal, which will be inherited by another device in future. As for the Athena, as a matter of fact, it comes from a totally different type.

In terms of the form-factor, HTC X7500 is already not a communicator that can be seamlessly taken to your ear, yet it is still not a table computer or even a UMPC/Origami. So, what is it then? Let us take a close look at its size and weight. Measuring 133.1x97x20 mm and weighting about 350 g, the X7500 is somewhat more cumbersome compared to HTC Universals numbers, which are 127.7x81x25 mm and 285 g respectively. In spite of the company considering this device still pocketable, you wont have a good time dragging it along dimensions-wise the X7500 goes almost hand in hand with UMPC computers of 2- and 3-G, while its functionality, as of today, is somewhere between PocketPC and UMPC. And one question springs up instantly do consumers really need such solution and what its field of application is?

The device sports landscape orientation of controls and candy-bar shaped casing, as well as detachable QWERTY-keyboard (coming in at 4 mm) such form-factor can be occasionally seen on tablet computers.

The display is one of the X7500s highlights, as it utilizes 5 Samsungs matrix boasting VGA resolution and touch input. Undoubtedly, for a notebook or a tablet PC its almost nothing, but still, it is the biggest matrix ever used in communicators.

The very unique feature of this communicator is availability of a built-in VGA/TV out (connecter ether via adapter or docking station). The companys special HTC Ext USB can be linked up with a VGA adapter, while for TV out here is Composite/S-Video adapter. By the way, HTC Ext USB socket supports not only USB client, but host as well, in other words you can make use of various peripherals (for example mouse, keyboard or an external storage). And for the very first time the company provides a wired remote control for music playback management, which can be connected to any headphones compatible with 3.5 mm audio jack.

The communicator shows off totally new filling, as in course of its development they almost didnt turn to the prior solutions. But even though its hardware is of some interest, it brings nothing new to the table. The CPU found on the X7500 is the old XScale PXA270 624 Mhz, while its phone part is handled by Qualcomm MSM6275 (quad-band GSM, UMTS 850/1900/2100 Mhz, GPRS, EDGE, HSDPA). A built-in graphics accelerator, ATI Imageon 2282, is onboard. However the most fundamental leap up is a bundled 10 Gb hard drive with G sensor, allowing the drive to fall into sleep mode if the device starts falling down. At that users will be free to expand this storage space with miniSD memory cards. And such features as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth dont deserve a special note anymore due to being embedded in nearly each and every communicator by default.

Similarly to most other HTC-branded solutions, the Athena incorporates a GPS module allowing for satellite navigation generally speaking, the market supposes that car owner will make the best use of HTC Athena.

In addition to everything I said above, I would like to put the following aspects into the limelight presence of stereo-speakers (3D sound), a 2 Mpix camera module, typical for HTC, and a 2100 mAh battery. The model runs off Windows Mobile 5.0 for Pocket PC, however there is a really good chance that an update to Windows Mobile 6.0 for Pocket PC is coming up.

Time to sum everything up. Frankly, this is the most feature-packed communicator to date and it will not let this title slip away for the entire year of 2007. The major novelties, that we are about to see in the upcoming HTCs models, are built-in hard drive and VGA/TV out. Keeping in mind standard pricing policy applied by HTC, high prime cost and development costs, the price for HTC X7500 is likely to revolve around the level of 1500-2000 USD on release. Apparently, this device wont be widely popular, even if its price is twice as low. In fact this solution aims at a very narrow target audience, which is even smaller that that of HTC Universal, since a typical business-user has a very portable notebook and, if required, a communicator at his disposal, so that he could use the latter device in cases when a laptop is somewhat out of place.

The only flicker of hope for HTC X7500 is automobilists and business-users spending much time within their cars. But it is not for sure that they will go for the Athena on the contrary, they might pick a less expensive UMPC for these purposes. Nevertheless, dont think that over at HTC they dont realize the fact that the X7500 has no future on the market. As a matter of fact, this product - that has been in development since the early days of 2005 - is an opportunity to make the solutions, they are planning to use in the future offerings, kick in the market. And a chance to claim the crown of the worlds best Windows Mobile-based manufacturer, among all other things. So, maybe HTC will present us with the next X-labeled communicator sporting Windows Vista OS?

Preliminary specifications:

  • Platform
    • Mobile Power Pad with detachable & thin QWERTY keyboard
    • Microsoft Windows Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition
  • Dimension
    • 133.1x97x20 mm (4mm for KB)
    • Less than 350g with battery
  • Processor/Chipset
    • Qualcomm MSM 6275
    • Intel Bulverde 520 / 624 MHz
    • ATi Graphic Chip 2282
  • Memory
    • ROM: 128 / 256 MB
    • RAM: 64 /128 MB SDRAM
    • HDD: 8~10 GB with G sensor
  • LCD Module
    • 5 480x640 VGA resolution
    • 262K-color TFT LCD with LED backlight
    • Sensitive Touch Screen
  • UMTS/HSDPA/GSM/EDGE Function
    • Internal antenna
    • HSDPA/UMTS Tri-mode (2100MHz for Europe and 850/1900MHz for USA) and GSM/GPRS/EDGE quad band (850/900/1800/1900)
    • HSDPA/UMTS
      • 850: 824-849, 869-894MHz
      • 1900: 1850-1910MHz, 1930-1990MHz
      • 2100: 1920-1980MHz, 2110-2170MHz
    • GSM / GPRS/EDGE
      • 850: 824-849, 869-894MHz
      • 900: 880-915, 925-960MHz
      • 1800: 1710-1785, 1805-1880MHz
      • 1900: 1850-1910, 1930-1990MHz
    • HSDPA / UMTS
    • UMTS: 3GPP Release 99 compliant
    • HSDPA: 3GPP Release 5 compliant UE category 12, QPSK, 1.8Mbps peak rate  DL up to 1.8Mbps and UL up to 384Kbps 
  • PS RAB on HSDPA channel and CS data call (VT call) simultaneously will be supported
  • Global roaming
  • Auto band switching
  • Handover and cell selection between GSM/EDGE and UMTS
  • Generic Services
    • Call Holding, Waiting, Forwarding
    • Call Barring
    • CLI (Calling Line Identity)
    • SMS (Short Message Service)
      • SMSMT, SMSMO, SM Reply, SM Replace, SM Acknowledgement, 8 Bits SMS Data
      • Concatenated messages, up to 640 characters
    • Display own number, telephone number storage capability in terminal and SIM card
    • Network selection
    • Cell broadcast
    • Multi-party conference capability
    • Phase 2 Unstructured Supplementary Service Data
    • Audio Codec: AMR/EFR/FR/HR
    • Network Lock
    • CPHS
  • E-GPRS Function
    • EGPRS class B
    • Multi-slot standard class 10
    • MO/MT SMS over GPRS
    • PBCCH
  • USIM/SIM
  • 1.8 / 3V of UICC
    • MegaSIM
    • USIM Application at least according to 3GPP TS 31.102
    • SIM Application Tool Kit release 96, 98 class 3 and 99
    • Over the Air (OTA) programming
    • Fixed Dialing Number (FDN)
    • Abbreviation Dial Number (ADN)
    • Security Pin 1 & 2 control
  • Standalone GPS [MFG. Option]
    • Internal GPS antenna for UMTS & EDGE
    • Support NMEA 0183 version 3.0 or above
    • 12 parallel channel GPS receiver
    • Acquisition time
      • Hot start: 8 seconds, typical TTFF
      • Warm start: 35 seconds, typical TTFF
      • Cold start: 45 seconds, typical TTFF
    • Update rate: user configurable once/1sec, once/10sec and once/30sec continuous
    • GPS Accuracy
      • Position: < 15 meters, 95% typical
      • Velocity: 0.05 meter/sec steady state
  • Digital Camera (Manufacture Option)
    • Main Camera
      • Color CMOS 2 Mega pixel with fixed lenses
    • 2nd camera
      • Color CMOS VGA camera
    • High Power LED for camera flash
  • Keyboard/Button/Switch
    • POWER button (Side)
    • Short Press: Power On/Off
    • Long Press: Turn off system power totally
    • Comm. Manager / Voice Recorder
    • Camera capture button (Side)
    • Volume Up / Down control (Side)
    • 5-way Navigation button (Left front in landscape) key orientation shall be adjusted after view changed
    • Send & Hands-free button
    • End Key
    • Video Telephony Key
    • Portal Key / G control Key
    • Short Press: Launch IE control keys)
    • RESET switch (Back)
  • Notification
    • 1st lens - one-color (amber) LED for new message and notification
    • 2nd lens - bi-color (green and blue) LED for WiFi and bluetooth notification
    • 3rd lens bi-color (green and red) LED for 3G & 2G network status
    • 4th lens bi-color (green and red) LED for charging status & low power indicator
    • Notification by Sound, and Message on the display
  • Audio
    • Built-in Microphone
    • Dual speakers with 3D surround sound
    • Loud speaker for Hands-Free supported
    • Audio sampling rate
      • 16-bits with 8KHz, 11KHz, 22KHz, 44.1KHz AMR/AAC/WAV/WMA/MP3 codec
  • Connectivity & Interface
    • Bluetooth
      • Compliant with v2.0 without EDR
      • Class 2 transmit power
      • Supported profiles:
        • GAP (generic access profile)
        • SPP (serial port profile)
        • OPP (object push profile)
        • DUN (dial-up networking profile)
        • GOEP (generic object exchange profile)
        • ActiveSync (legacy application via SPP)
        • HSP (headset profile)
        • HFP (handsfree profile)
        • A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution profile)
        • AVRCP (Audio/Video Remote control Profile)
        • Service Discovery Application Profile
        • SIM Access Profile
        • HID (Human interface device profile)
      • Co-exist with WiFi
    • WiFi (manufacture option)
      • IEEE 802.11b/g compliant
      • Internal WLAN antenna
      • 11, 5.5, 2, and 1 Mbps per channel, auto fallback for extended range ELP mode
      • Security 802.11i and AES (OS not supported yet)
        • WPA authentication WEP, WPA, PSK, EAPTLS, PEAP, LEAP,
        • Signaling interfaces between the terminal device and the servers: mutually authenticated and encrypted utilizing TLS (RFC 2246) with RC4 encryption with SGA1 used as the message integrity check
      • QoS
        • 802.11 WME QoS
        • 802.11e
        • Fast AP to AP handover
    • 11-pin mini-USB / audio jack in one
      • USB 2.0 client
      • USB charging
    • mini SD card slot with hotswap feature
    • External Antenna (UMTS/GSM/CDMA) Connector
    • 1.8 / 3 V USIM/SIM card slot
    • HTC Proprietary 16 Pin Port
      • USB 1.1 host (Support USB low power)
        • Thumb Memory
        • Card Reader
        • Keyboard
        • Mouse
      • VGA Out VGA
      • TV Out Composite & S-Video (4 pin)
    • 3.5 mm stereo audio jack with mic
  • Power
    • Battery
      • Removable and chargeable Lithium ion polymer battery, 2100mAh
      • Charging time: less than 4 hours
    • Battery life
      • Playing WMV: 8 hours
      • Playing WMA: 12 hours
      • Talk time: > 360 minutes for GSM
      • Talk time: > 180 minutes for UMTS
      • Video Talk time: >120 min
      • Standby time: 300+ hours for GSM
      • Standby time: 300 hours for UMTS
  • Stylus
    • Lock Type in the main unit
  • Accessories
    • AC adapter w/ mini-USB power plug
    • Carrying Case
    • Sync. Cable (mini-USB/USB)
    • Battery (rechargeable and replaceable)
    • Stereo wired headset with microphone (button for voice command) for 3.5 mm
    • HTC Proprietary 16 pin cable (one to many ports)
      • USB Standard A female port
      • VGA (15pin) port
      • Composite Video Out
      • S-Video (4 pin) Out
    • User manual, Quick start guide, & Sync. software CD
    • Cradle
      • VGA (15pin) port
      • Video Out port
      • S-Video (4 pin) port
      • 3.5 mm Audio jack (for External Speakers & Headset)
      • One miniUSB port for power charging
      • One miniUSB port for synchronization
      • 2 x USB Standard A female port (USB Host)
      • 2nd Battery charging slot
      • 3 LEDs Indicators 2nd Battery, Power & Sync
    • Mono Bluetooth headset with microphone [optional]
    • Stereo bluetooth headset with microphone [optional]
    • Car Adapter [optional]
    • Car Holder [optional]
    • Car Kit with car stereo mute function [optional]
    • TTY adaptor for USA market [optional]
  • Value Added Applications
    • Ringtone
    • MIDI
    • 40 polyphonic & Standard MIDI format 0 and 1
    • (SMF) / SP MIDI
    • MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+ WMA, WAV and AMRNB/
    • WB
    • DirectShow Filters for WMP - Audio
    • Audio Playback format: AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, MP3,
    • WMA, WAV, AMR-NB/WB
    • DirectShow Filters for WMP - Video
    • Video Playback format: H.263, MPEG4, WMV&Motion JPEG (AVI)
    • Min. 30 fps @ VGA decoding for H.263 & MPEG4
    • Combined Bit Rate: 64Kbps (playback)
    • Video scaling up to full VGA display
    • Picture Enhancement for Pictures & Videos
    • Graphics: JPEG, GIF87a, GIF89a, PNG, WBMP
    • Video Thumbnail Preview: H.263, MPEG4, Motion
    • JPEG (AVI), WMV
    • 3G-324M Video Telephony
    • ZIP
    • Smart Dialing
    • Support of QWERTY Keyboard Input
    • Sub-display UI when keyboard is attached to LCD
    • VGA / TV Out Setting
    • MMS Client
    • Compliant to MMS 1.2
    • Java virtual machine
    • Voice Dial & Command
    • Speaker Dependent or Independent
    • Support on both wired and bluetooth headset
    • Document Viewer - PDF
    • DRM Engine: For all types of files (Pictures, audio, application etc.), and also all types of delivery method (MMS, email etc.)
    • OMA 1.0 / 2.0 when available
    • Multi-DRM support : Microsoft DRM & OMA DRM
    • 3D Sound Effect - SRS
    • WorldMate
    • World Clock
    • Weather Forecast
    • Currency Converter
    • Unit Conversion
    • SIM Manager
    • Comm. Manager
    • STK
    • Photo / Document Printing via BT
    • PictBridge
    • TTY for US Market
    • FOTA (Firmware OTA)
    • GPS Navigation SW
    • Backup Tool
    • Motion control of G-Sensor
    • Symbol Table
    • VoIP on WLAN (with echo cancellation)
    • Wireless Modem

Anton Kotov (anton.kotov@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Oleg Kononosov (oleg.kononosov@mobile-review.com)


Published - 22 December 2006

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