Flashback: Did You Ever Own An i-Mate?
Here’s something for the nostalgic old folks around here, and a bit of mobile history class for the new breed. The i-mate brand was one that was well known for superb mobile hardware running Windows Mobile back in the early 2000s. i-mate devices cut across the whole range of form factors, including Pocket PCs, PPC phones, and smartphones. i-mate devices were manufactured by HTC. For those who did not know, HTC started out by producing devices for others. It wasn’t until around 2006 that HTC started selling devices under its own brand name.
In September 2006, HTC stopped producing devices for i-mate, which then had to find other manufacturers to produce for them. Of course, things never stayed the same.
One of the most beautiful and powerful i-mate devices was the Jasjar, a swivel-display, QWERTY-packing mobile pictured below:
Out in 2005, it had a 640 x 480 pixel, 3.6 inch display. It ran Windows Mobile 5.0 PocketPC and had a 512 MHz processor. In today’s world of boring slabs, imagine Android, MeeGo or even Nokia Belle on this beauty.
The most popular i-mate ever?
Without doubt the most iconic i-mate device ever was the i-mate Jam. This sleek beauty was a delight to look at and to touch. The i-mate Jam had a distinctive Apple-like look. I suspect that if Apple had been in mobile back then, they just might have sued the lights out of i-mate.
The i-mate Jam had a 240 x 320 pixels, 2.8 inch display – and we thought that was huge back then in 2004/2005. Its feature list included 64 MB RAM, a 1.3 megapixel camera (yes; you heard that right), and ran Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 SE PocketPC on a 416 MHz processor.
Sadly, I never reviewed or owned any i-mate device. They were not quite easy to find in these parts back then, and where available, they were always very expensive. Here is a snapshot of various I-mate mobiles from GSM Arena’s phone finder:
Were you around to see the days of i-mate’s flourishing? Did you get to use or own any of their devices? Do share your stories.