Orange UK has added the eagerly anticipated Orange SPV M5000 3G smart phone to its website.
The M5000, better known as the HTC Universal, is listed simply as "coming soon" - no further pricing or availability details are given.
The carrier confirms the device will support Bluetooth and tri-band GSM/GPRS connectivity in addition to its 3G support. The Universal is also expected to support Wi-Fi, but there's no mention of it here - possibly Orange has asked HTC to disable the feature in the M5000.
The M5000 measures 12.8 x 8.1 x 2.5cm and weigh 285g. It looks like a typical tablet format handheld with a 480 x 640 display, but the display folds out and round into a clamshell form-factor, revealing a QWERTY keyboard in the process.
The unit will be based on Windows Mobile 5.0, the first version of the Microsoft OS to support 3G.
Orange claims the device offers five hours' talk time and ten days stand-by operation.
The Universal is expected to ship late Q3, HTC said in June. In the meantime, Orange is expected to launch the M3000, a more compact (10.8 x 5.8 x 2.3cm) version of the M5000, based on HTC's Wizard handset. Wizard does not support 3G, but it does provide quad-band GSM/GPRS connectivity. It also provides Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
It is also believed to be preparing to announce the SPV C600, based on HTC's Tornado, the follow-on to the recently launched Hurricane, which shipped as the SPV C550, among others.
Orange first revealed its intention to ship a Universal-based handset back in February. ®