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Tuesday, March 04, 2008
i-mate U.S. Division Shuts Down, Most Employees Laid Off

Independent device reseller i-mate has shuttered most of its U.S. operations, and laid off all but a handful of the employees in this country, according to multiple sources. Ex-employees of the company, speaking to technology blog Engadget, attributed the shutdown to the failure of the company's Ultimate line of Pocket PC phones to achieve retail release in the U.S., and the unwillingness of wireless carriers to offer any of the models. According to these former employees, i-mate's U.S. operations will retain just enough staff to set up an online distribution channel for U.S. users who wish to purchase "unlocked" versions of this company's devices suitable for use on any GSM phone carrier. The i-mate Ultimate line was originally planned as a set of extremely high-end Windows Mobile devices, but suffered many delays and rumors of cancellation over the last year, before some of the models finally saw limited release overseas.

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