With the building excitement around the ITG xpPhone and the very recent news regarding its prospective price range, ITG has now posted more information on the Chinese version of its website regarding the full model line-up and the price and specification of each variant. Currently this information is not available on the English version of the site and may only be applicable to the Chinese market.
The price list shows the company intends to release three versions of the xpPhone ranging in price from 2999 RMB (about US$439) for the 8GD base model to the 3500 RMB 8GDE (US$513) and 3999 RMB 8GXE (US$586) high-end models. The price of the base model matches the information released earlier, while the most expensive version is less than the previous figure of 4500 RMB (US$659), but I'm assuming that the higher price may also include additional options not included in the 3999 RMB version.
More interestingly, the price chart also includes detailed information about the differences between all three versions. Basically, all three are identical apart from two key areas: the choice of operating system and the inclusion of the 3G module.
In a surprise move, the base model of the xpPhone, the 8GD, will ship without the built-in 3G module, meaning it will not be capable of functioning as a phone or using 3G data! This effectively means the device is just a MID/UMPC rather than a phone/UMPC hybrid device. However, users will be able to purchase either the official 3G module allowing full 3G voice/data capabilities and restoring phone functionality, or a third-party 3G module that would only allow 3G data without the phone functions. The GPS module is also not included in the 8GD, being listed as an option instead.
The middle tier 8GDE is identical to the 8GD but will include the official built-in 3G module and GPS modules. In both these models, the OS is listed as DOS with an "attached XP drive" allowing users to install WinXP, but it is not clear whether XP is included or not.
Finally, the top end 8GXE will also include the 3G and GPS modules, but has Windows Embedded Standard (WES) 2009 pre-installed. WES 2009 is the updated successor to Windows XP Embedded (XPe) providing a compact, componentized version of WinXP Professional for mobile devices including updates such as Internet Explorer 7, Silverlight, Media Player 11, .NET Framework 3.5, and others. It is not exactly the same as WinXP for PCs, but effectively provides the full WinXP experience with the full Win32 API making it compatible with most WinXP compatible software. See Microsoft's WES website for a full list of features.
Needless to say, these are some interesting developments presenting a range of choices and decisions for prospective buyers to consider. There are also some questions regarding the availability of the customizable optional upgrades and operating systems that ITG detailed in November last year. Interestingly the customization form doesn't seem to be available on the Chinese version of the site, though it's still up on the English version.
Hopefully all these outstanding issues and questions will be answered in the near future. Let us know your thoughts on these latest xpPhone developments in the comments.[midbbs]