The BPhone smart-net-tablet-phone

March 26, 2010 // 12:57 p.m.

Tags: #arm #bphone #handset #java #linux #marvell #netbook #phone #slate #slate-pc #smartbook #smartphone #tablet #tablet-pc #talbet

If you're still undecided about which smartphone to buy, a trip to China might benefit you as a manufacturer has combined the worlds of the netbook and the smartphone - with interesting results.

As revealed over on Technabob, the BPhone is an interesting gadget which is equal parts tablet-style netbook and smartphone - and runs a variant of the Linux operating system.

Featuring a 5" 800x480 touchscreen - a massive size for a smartphone handset - at first the device appears to be nothing more than another bulky 'phone. That all changes, however, when you flip the screen around and reveal a QWERTY keyboard - turning the BPhone into a miniaturised netbook-cum-tablet.

With an ARM architecture Marvell PXA310 processor clocked at 624MHz, the Java-based user interface should run pretty well - and with Bluetooth, WiFi, and FM radio, and an in-built GPS module the rest of the specs aren't too shabby either. The handset is quad-band (850MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, and 1900MHz) so in theory it's good to go on any GSM network world-wide - and is supplied unlocked and ready to accept the SIM card of your choosing.

The compact form factor - although not quite as miniaturised as the recently-released NanoNote - does come at a cost, of course: the keyboard appears cramped, and while it'll be fine for short e-mails or SMS use it could well be a pain for prolonged work.

The BPhone is thus far a China-exclusive, although is available for import at $569.99 (£383) plus delivery.

Do you think that this sort of hybrid device is the future of the smartphone, or are you struggling to see the point in a device which is too bulky to be a comfortable 'phone and too cramped to be a usable netbook? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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