Redmond firm developing Windows 8 Pro smartphone

Likely thanks to Intel's new Clover Trail+ Atom processor, you may soon be able to buy a smartphone running the full-fat version of Windows 8 Pro. So says the Seattle Times' Brier Dudley, who has the scoop on an interesting device from a little-known company called i-mate Development. The Redmond-based firm is working on the Intelegent, a handset that combines a Clover-based Atom SoC with a 4.7" touchscreen, 2GB of RAM, 64GB of solid-state storage, and both HSPA+ and LTE 4G connectivity. There's no word on the resolution of the display, but the handset will reportedly cost $750 when it's released this summer. That's the price of an unsubsidized unit, by the way, and it's $100 less than you'll pay for a comparable iPhone 5.

The Intelegent isn't just a standalone smartphone. This mini PC will also be sold as part of a "desktop hardware suite" complete with a docking station. The dock will connect to a 23" touchscreen plus keyboard and mouse to form a pseudo desktop. It'll also power a 10.1" 1080p tablet over a wireless connection. There's even an old-school phone receiver if you want something to pinch between your ear and shoulder. Love me four times, baby.

Sorry, I couldn't resist. I-mate is, after all, headed by a guy named Jim Morrison. This British Telecom alum sees the Intelegent as a competitor for BlackBerry in the corporate market. He thinks businesses will buy into the idea of a suite of desktop and portable systems powered by a single device that can be managed like a PC. He might have a point, too, but there are pitfalls to this approach.

At best, a Clover-based Atom will deliver netbook-class performance, which is a tad sluggish for serious productivity. The Intelegent's battery life is likely to be relatively short, as well. The Seattle Times article quotes 10 hours of talk time for the handset but makes no mention of how long it'll last when being used as a Windows PC. Good thing there's a dock.

While the Intelegent will invariably involve compromises, it still sounds like an incredibly cool device. If this thing materializes, we'll have come an awfully long way from the early mini PCs offered by the likes of OQO. Pocket PC just took on a whole new meaning.

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