Witspad W8 debuts as Maemo-running MID phone hybrid
Joining an increasing number of MID devices that also incorporate phone functions, the Witspad W8 straddles the boundary between a dedicated MID and the smartphone space.
Featuring a compact rounded form similar to the Palm Pre with a thickness of only three-quarters of an inch, the device differentiates itself by running the Maemo OS rather than the more common options of Android and Windows CE/Mobile. With a 4.3-inch resistive touch screen, the W8 is powered by a Marvell PXA320 processor clocked at 806MHz and has 128MB RAM, 256MB flash storage, microSD support, GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, 3G, headphone out and mini USB connections, and a 3.2MP rear facing camera.
Impressions of the device by midbbs.cn are positive with the Chinese site complimenting the W8's handy, compact form factor, high build quality, ease of use, impressive media/video playback performance with H.264 video, and decent web browsing speed. It's important to note that although the unit includes the ability to make calls, it currently doesn't support the ability to send SMS messages and hence can't be considered a full-fledged phone.
The Witspad W8 is currently available in the Chinese market for 3200 yuan, working out to around US$470.
As a keen follower of Maemo, I am glad to see another new device supporting the open source Linux-based platform joining the Nokia N900 Jenn is currently playing with and the Optima OP5-E.
The design and specs of the W8 seem pretty good with the very pocketable size, decent screen size, and comfortable rounded shape being especially appealing. Web browsing using Maemo's Mozilla-based browser should also prove to be very positive. The only concerns for me are the future of Maemo devices with the impending launch of MeeGo and the uncertainty of whether existing Maemo devices will be upgraded (it is said that only a developer version of MeeGo could hit the N900). Nevertheless, I think the Witspad W8 is a welcome addition to the Maemo family