August 13, 2003, 10:57 AM — Efforts by Microsoft Corp. to penetrate the European mobile phone market could receive a boost in the third quarter when Taiwanese hardware maker Mitac International Corp. plans to launch the first mobile phone using a chipset from Intel Corp. and the U.S. software giant's Smartphone operating system.
Mitac, which uses the brand name Mio, published details about its new 8380 model on a group Web site (www.justmio.com) on Tuesday. The company said the product would be available at the end of the third quarter. It provided no pricing information.
Intel and Microsoft officials could not comment immediately.
The clamshell phone is based on a reference design provided by Intel and Microsoft. It will use Intel's 200MHz PXA255 processor and run Microsoft's Windows Powered Smartphone 2002 software.
In addition to making phone calls, customers can use the phone to send e-mail, take and send snapshots and listen to music. The triband phone operates on GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) and GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) networks in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
Last year, Microsoft made its debut in the European handset market. The U.K. subsidiary of France's Orange SA introduced the first mobile phone in the region using the U.S. company's Smartphone software. The triband phone, manufactured in Taiwan by High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC), uses a chipset from Texas Instruments Inc.
At the 3GSM World Congress event in Cannes, France, earlier this year, Microsoft announced Mitac and Winstron Corp., an Acer Inc. spin-off, as new Smartphone and Intel partners.
"The move by Mitac is good news for Microsoft, which needs to get more handsets from different vendors out there in the market," said Chris Jones, an analyst with Canalys.com Ltd. "This will create more competition, which will help drive the development of new products and could also lead to lower prices."
Jones expects the Mio 8380 model to sell before subsidies at between