Chi Mei's Microsoft smart phone confirmed

Rumors regarding the development of a smart phone based on software from Microsoft Corp. by Taiwan's Chi Mei Communication Systems Inc. have been confirmed with the device's regulatory approval by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The FCC published details of the telephone on its Web site Wednesday after the handset received clearance from the FCC to be used in the U.S. Regulatory approval from the FCC is required for all cellular telephones before they can be used in the U.S. and this is usually one of the final stages a product goes through before commercial launch.

The Chi Mei smart phone approved, which has the development code name "Beethoven," uses a clamshell design and runs the Windows Powered Smartphone operating system, according to the documents. The same operating system is used in Mitac International Corp.'s Mio 8380 and High Tech Computer Corp.'s Qtek 7070. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. has also shown a prototype handset running the software.

Images included with the documents show that the design of the Chi Mei handset is similar to the majority of clamshell phones, with a large color LCD (liquid crystal display) on the top half of the device and a keypad with navigation buttons on the bottom half. The outside features a sub-display which can tell the time or identify incoming calls.

The phone has a USB (Universal Serial Bus) connector for linking to a computer, and infrared port and an MMC (MultiMedia Card) memory card slot, the documents show. One increasingly common function not included with the phone is a digital camera.

The phone is a tri-band GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) model compatible with GSM 900, 1800 and 1900 networks and GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) packet data transmission, according to the documents.

Chi Mei is one of Taiwan's largest electronics companies. It designs and manufactures components and complete products for other companies.

The identity of Chi Mei's client for the smart phone was not disclosed in any of the documents published by the FCC, although images of the device are similar to those published on several tech enthusiast Web sites a week ago, which speculated that the phone will be sold by Motorola. The appearance of the images coincided with a report in the online edition of the Wall Street Journal that said Motorola was developing a handset based on Microsoft software.

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