i-mate, once the almighty HTC distributor, finally have realized that
making one very marginal device in four different form factors (like
their 2008 line) will not bring any sales. This year, they announced
one new unique product and showcased two other ones.
The new i-mate 810-F is the only device that we know of which will be offered with life-time warranty. Of course there is a slight catch here (or let’s say their terms are): you have to send your 810-F in to i-mate EVERY year for a check-up. If you have not temped with the screws, or left evidence for intentional attempts to break the device, you will get your warranty extended for another year. This of course needs to be done every year. Of course, the cost for sending the device in will be out of the consumer’s pocket. The price tag seems very hefty – about 700 to 800 Euros (880 to 1,000 USD). For that you get a phone which can withstand against extreme temperatures (ranging between -10 and +60 degrees centigrade), hard hitting and steeping into water. For this purpose, its body is covered by waterproof rubber coating, attached with overt screws. As you may see from the picture, the device is anything but beautiful. However, this is completely understandable, having in mind that endurance is what’s important here.
The device will come with 2 GB of internal memory, which cannot be expanded, as i-mate wanted to have the least possible number of openings to ensure the phone is really water-proof.
The Centurion is another unique product, which i-mate is hoping to boost their sales. The device is really tiny Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard (no touch-screen) phone with full QWERTY keyboard. The prototype we tried out was so early, that it kept falling apart. The main issue will of course be the size of the keyboard, which seemed usable, but the keys were very hard to press. i-mate did not reveal the price or when it will hit the market. The device will not probably have GPS, as there will be no space inside for the antenna.
Another new unannounced product we spotted at their booth is something called the legionnaire. i-mate did not want to reveal a lot of info about it. Pretty much all we know is it will be Windows Mobile 6.1-6.5 with touch support and expect to be something similar in specs to the Centurion.
The home screen looks like windows mobile took some key components from the HTC TouchFLO 2D/3D concept expanded on it in a very intuitive way. I am excited that Windows 7 and WM6.5 look like they will be successful. THANK YOU MICROSOFT FOR GETTING OFF YOUR A** AND DOING SOMETHING FOR A CHANGE!