A quick post as I run off to lunch... a question I received yesterday from a friend as I was doing mail on my 8525... 

"What's the difference between the AT&T 8525 [aka HTC Wizard] and the new iPhone?"

Let's point the wayback machine to June, 2007, and Tom Yager's Infoworld blog posting, as AT&T positioned the 8525 Pocket PC phone at a low promo price and apparently as a alternative to the Apple iPhone...

"Mobile buyers brought to AT&T's site by iPhone's pre-launch excitement will be greeted with a number of iPhone alternatives, but AT&T has pushed one to the front of the pack. AT&T chopped $300 off the $599 list price of its newest top-end 3G device, the 8525 Windows Mobile 5 Pocket PC, just in time for iPhone's launch.

"I find AT&T's re-pricing particularly interesting since the 8525 is the very handset I chose to pit against iPhone. The 8525 is a business handset with consumer features, while iPhone is a consumer handset with business features. They both converge, yet they end up in very different places.

"I've been carrying an 8525 for about a month in preparation for the shoot-out and as part of my real-life road warrior mobile device testing regimen. I'll hold my opinions for the review, but I will say that the 8525 is dear at its $599 list price, appropriately priced at AT&T's standard $449 2-year subsidized price, and is worth checking out in person at $299.

"The 8525's killer feature will be its Windows Mobile 6 upgrade, which AT&T promises for the third quarter of this year. Expect it to be downloadable, but not necessarily free. If the 8525 had shown with Windows Mobile 6 in time for iPhone's launch, the landscape might look quite different."

Mr. Yager provides a side-by-side feature comparison of the two phones as "part of a work in progress for [his] InfoWorld Test Center shoot-out among iPhone, T-Mobile BlackBerry 8800 and the AT&T 8525." 

As you may recall, at home we made the move to the then Cingular 8525 with Windows Mobile 5, when we found the price even lower than the pricing this summer...

"The clincher on this deal? Over the holiday shopping weekend last week, Cingular offered a "Buy One Get One Free" deal and the phones were essentially half price: not only was Cingular's family plan comparable to what I had on T-Mobile, their pricing on devices was better. (The lowest tier of Internet access is a couple of dollars more a month than T-Mobile's WAP access, but affordable.)"

Depending on the timing and your local AT&T dealer, your mileage may vary.

Also of interest: Russell Shaw's blog post today on "So who is this $100,000 mystery buyer for iPhone unlocking software?"

Tags: AT&T, Apple iPhone, Windows Mobile, Cingular 8525.