Beauty is in the eye of the beholder of course, but I personally think they're gonna be pretty ugly in the flesh.
Straight off the bat, the 5150, 6150 and 8150 are ugly and look like 10 year old computers or something. Beige? Beige? WTF? The 7150 looks like it has more potential, but some of the design is still questionable, and i'm willing to bet that by the time it finally comes to market, HTC will have something that kills it dead. Finally the 9150, looks quite good, but it's gonna be damned huge. I hope the buttons are nicer to use in the flesh than the design would suggest too.
Spec wise, of course, they were looking pretty hot...
• Operating System: Windows Mobile® 6 Professional
• Processor: Intel Bulverde 520MHz
• Quad-Band GSM/EDGE
• Tri-Band UMTS/HSDPA 850/1900/2100 or 850/1700/2100
• Memory: 256MB ROM + 128 MB RAM
• Screen: VGA 262K Color LCD Touch Screen
• WiFi 802.11b/g/e/i
• Bluetooth® v2.0 + EDR - up t 1.3 Mbps
• Mini USB high speed - 480 Mbps
• Direct Video Out XGA
• Micro-SD card slot
• 2.0 mega pixel camera
• Battery: 1400mAh
• FM Stereo Radio
...but whoa, hang on a minute? Yes we get VGA and video out (pretty cool), but a 2MP camera and no GPS? 256MB ROM is gonna be the norm v soon (the Kaiser has it). There's not a whole lot to shout about, and it's diminishing as time goes on. Have i-mate missed the window of opportunity?
Finally, the software.
My impression of the WM market to date has been that pretty much nobody ships a software build as bug free (yes really!) as HTC, purely because of their available resources. The Vista Sideshow feature will be cool, but i'd be surprised to see much else that's real innovation. For sure there will be i-mate bundled stuff to encourage you to sign up to their service subscriptions.
Who knows, I could be wrong - i'd love to be
- but I can't see a bright future for i-mate until they really get their act together. IMHO they need to...
- get their devices to market faster
- be more selective about which devices they bring to market
- more clearly segment their products
- revamp their ridiculous naming scheme
- start supporting their customers properly
- stop charging second users of devices just to register for updates
...and that's just off the top of my head.
That turned in to a bit of a rant... but I'm dismayed at i-mate's fall from grace since the heady days of the SP5 etc. I really WANT them to do well, but I look at some of their products and general moves in the market and shake my head...
All IMHO, YMMV, AFAIK etc. etc.