If you're not familiar with I-Mate, you're forgiven and absolved. They're the little Windows Mobile Smartphone Company That Could - releasing devices with tiny but passionate followings but somehow always managing to get completely snubbed for the big dance. As in: they don't have any carrier support in the US and they're perennially "working on it."

All of which is a real pity, because they were showing off some fancy gizmos yesterday. My favorite: The 8502. If they ever release this thing for real (it's slated for Decemberish) and if they ever bring the price down (retail for around $6-800!), it will be killer.

  • Full QWERTY keyboard, one-handable
  • 240x320 Screen
  • WiFi, GPS, Quadband HSDPA/GSM radio
  • a claimed 4 hours of battery life (put on your skeptic face)
  • Thinner than a Treo 750

I mention that last because, believe it or not, the Treo 750 is the thinnest smartphone with a font-faced full QWERTY and a touchscreen widely available in the US. Anyhow - the keyboard on the 8502 felt a little "clacky" to us but was usable. I still am not a fan of I-Mate's tiny 5-way joysticks, but if it gives me a bigger screen I won't complain.

Bottom line, though, is the 8502 basically offers all the benefits of the AT&T Tilt in a candybar form factor.

Photos after the break.

Compared to the AT&T Tilt and the iPhone