We got a little worried when ITG missed its January unveiling for the xpPhone 2, but yesterday, this Windows 7-powered smartphone finally made its debut public appearance in Guangzhou, and we happened to be there to scoop up a demo unit. Since we last came across the second-gen xpPhone, its ambitious Chinese manufacturer has dished out more detailed specs: the 17.5mm-thick device comes with a 4.3-inch 800 x 480 LCD made by Sharp, multitouch input, an Intel Atom Z5xx series processor up to 2GHz, up to 2GB of RAM, up to 112GB of SSD made by Silicon Storage Technology, microSD expansion and a multipurpose HDMI Micro socket (not HDMI Mini as we mistakenly said in our video after the break) that takes care of video, audio, data (USB 2.0) and power. Read on to find out what we think of this weird creature.
On the back there’s a loudspeaker along with a small monochrome LCD for showing the phone’s various statuses, caller number and eventually text messages (ITG’s still working on Chinese compatibility). The battery cover and most of the body is made out of a smooth, sturdy magnesium alloy — a huge improvement from the original xpPhone’s cheap plastic body — though we hope the final product will have finer seams. Inside it sits a huge 11.1Wh battery, which is almost twice as much juice as those on a regular smartphone these days. ITG has yet to confirm the phone’s final weight, but you can imagine it being the equivalent of a slightly larger smartphone with an extra standard battery.
The company’s chief engineer told us that the xpPhone 2 gets between three to four hours of battery life on Windows 7, which is much more than the one-hour usage we got out of the F-07C, but definitely not enough for an active user especially considering there’s no low-power OS as a backup. Either way, we shall see if the battery life is as good as promised when we get hold of a review unit. From a performance point of view, the desktop OS we saw felt almost as smooth as you’d get on a netbook thanks to its 1.2GHz Atom Z515 chip and 2GB RAM, and we had no complaints when playing a quick 720p clip of Girls’ Generation, despite the loading of it wasn’t as instantaneous as we had hoped.
It’s a real shame that Windows 8 is months away from launch (ITG originally thought the new OS would be out in January, hence the previous event date for the xpPhone 2), so early birds will have to live with Windows 7′s not-so-finger-friendly interface. On the bright side, the phone does come with a capacitive touchscreen (unlike its predecessor), which is one of the reasons for why ITG decided to ditch the physical keyboard; but if users need it, they can purchase a flip-cover style keyboard add-on that also packs a battery to double the device’s endurance. As for your USB peripherals, the xpPhone 2 will have an expansion dock to take care of those.
While he’s at it, Brad also gave us a little background on his company and himself — after all, we were curious as to what made this 40-year-old Hunan man so ballsy. Prior to ITG, Brad graduated in 1993 with an electrical engineering degree, before joining P&G to help market its shampoos and Pringles chips in China (no, really). The CEO recalled the days when laptops were still too bulky and when phones were not very powerful, but one day the UMPC form factor came along, he looked at the OQO (which is now owned by a Chinese company, funnily enough) and Sony VAIO UX, and thought to himself that the technology was ready to bring the PC and the mobile phone together as one, which then lead to the xpPhone as his first attempt.