BenQ debut smartie finally hits UK

It’s the one year anniversary of BenQ’s announcement of its smartphone at CES 2005. Only now, though, have the UK’s covetous glances been rewarded wit

It’s the one year anniversary of BenQ’s announcement of its smartphone at CES 2005. Only now, though, have the UK’s covetous glances been rewarded with its official launch.

So, why has the wait been so tortuous for Windows Mobilists? Well, the P50 is one impressive hybrid of a PDA and phone. For a start, it’s got built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 802.11b, so you can e-mail, web surf, go MSN Instant Messenging and, thanks to bundled Skype software, make a reckless number of VoIP calls.

It has a strong desire to please the business-suited among us too. Windows Mobile’s ActiveSync will take care of keeping your contacts and calendar up-to-date, and there’s all the usual viewing and editing of Word, Excel and Powerpoint docs via the trusty QWERTY keyboard.

What’s really impressive is that it combines all this with a more interesting multimedia side– there’s a 1.3MP camera that can shoot video clips, a photo album and support for WMV and MP4 video playback. With most music formats catered for (including MP3 and WMA) and the option of making the handset double as a universal remote, you better save up for some decent sized SD cards to feed it.

You can grab a P50 now for a not inconsiderable £365 (handset only) or for free with some hefty Vodafone contracts from Expansys.