NEW  MOBILES  ON  THE  BLOCK

MANILA, January 20, 2005 (STAR) By Manny De Los Reyes - A new year always puts the focus on all things new. New cars, new clothes and – for seemingly every Filipino old enough to dial a number – new cellphones. And if you thought that 2004 was a banner year for mobile phone buffs everywhere, wait till you see what’s in store for 2005.

Here’s a tip of the iceberg from five major mobile phone manufacturers (in alphabetical order), most of which will be available by the second quarter, at the latest. (There are so many other models and new network-related technologies that are coming; it will fill up pages upon pages if we include them all.)

Motorola

The sleeping giant has awakened. And if last year’s highly successful C380, C650/651 and E398 models were any indication, expect a boatload of heavy-hitting ordnance from the American mobile phone veteran.

Start the campaign off with the quite literally razor-sharp V3 flip phone. This aluminum-bodied, quad-band, ultra-thin wonder boasts an electroluminescent laser-etched keypad and a VGA camera with zoom and video playback.

For those who need to have full office connectivity at all times, there is the dual-hinge QWERTY-keyboard MPx smartphone. Running on MS Windows Mobile software, the MPx is compatible with Pocket PC applications. A 2.8" 240 x 320 TFT touch-screen display allows portrait- or landscape-format viewing of the Web (wireless surfing via 802.11b connectivity), photos (1.3 megapixels), streaming video, games and just about any application. There is even an external display for selecting MP3 files. It has a 32MB on-board memory expandable up to 1GB via SD/MMC card.

Hot on the heels of these two inspired models are the E680 and A780 models. Looking more like a PDA than a cellphone, the multimedia E680 features MPEG4, video capture and playback, a real-time 3D sound engine using 3D stereo speakers, an MP3 player, a large internal memory to store complete CDs of music, additional memory with removable SD memory cards, a 240 x 320 portrait or landscape-capable color screen utilizing 3D graphics, downloadable 3D J2ME games, eight-way navigation and gaming action keys, and of course, an integrated VGA camera with 8x zoom.

The A780, on the other hand, boasts quad-band with EDGE technology for enhanced downloading speed, a vivid 240 x 320 TFT color touch-screen, a 1.3-megapixel camera with full-screen viewfinder, MOTOSYNC for secure over-the-air synchronization of corporate e-mail, contacts and calendar, video record/playback and streamed video playback, an MP3 player supporting MIDI/WAV/AMR/WMA, Real and AAC files, hands-free speakerphone and speaker-independent voice dial, Bluetooth, a viewer for PDF and Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, Java (J2ME) MIDP 2.0 with 3D Graphics, Web access via WAP 2.0, WML, xHTML and HTML (Opera7), messaging options via MMS, SMS, IM (WV), POP3, IMAP4, SMTP and a TransFlash memory card to support data, images and more.

Nokia

Fresh from its wildly successful debut of the 7610 megapixel camphone last year, Nokia rolled out a succession of jaw-droppers that are still dropping jaws to this day: the 7260, 7270 and 7280 fashion phones that set new standards in the form-before-function philosophy; the ultra-capable 9500 Communicator, and the ground-breaking 6630 3G phone.

The beauty of the fashion phones lies more than skin-deep, as each of them – even the barely-larger-than-a-lipstick camera-equipped 7280 – packs a host of heavy-hitting features and killer apps. The 9500, on the other hand, will be joined this first quarter by a more svelte 9300 that promises to be much more than a dumbed-down version of its big brother.

The much-awaited 6630, on the other hand, paves the way for third-generation (3G) mobile telephony. Its stunningly large and brilliant screen, 1.23-MP camera, one-hour video recording capability, not to mention lots of RAM, still leave onlookers speechless.

Then there is the radical widescreen 7710, the plasma TV of cellphones. Its cinematic 640 x 320 display has touch-screen capability, pen input with virtual keymat and handwriting recognition and even sketch applications. Nokia even threw in a 1-MP camera, Opera Web browser and RealOne mobile player to boot.

Other upcoming phones from Nokia are the 3230 and 6020 models. Expect the Finnish giant to consolidate its design and interface strengths in its candy bar models and to further make gains over its previous weakness, the clamshells. The stylish 6170 clam released last year was just a teaser.

Samsung

The Korean giant, meanwhile, is taking no prisoners and will be unleashing a barrage of noteworthy high-end phones this year. The build quality of Samsung handhelds has always been second to none and the new crop of mobiles led by the i700, the P730, E630, D500 and E330 is not about to break that tradition.

The i700 is a high-end tri-band, Intel-based Pocket PC smartphone that’s also a camcorder. It bristles with 64MB each of Flash ROM and RAM as well as wireless LAN. The similarly high-end P730, on the other hand, breaks new ground with its flip-or-swivel design. Like previous Samsung clamshells, it has a main internal screen and a smaller external screen. It has camcorder, video (MPEG4) and MP3 capability, a megapixel camera, and a host of other business and recreational applications.

The E630, meanwhile, is yet another Samsung high-end compact tri-band slider camphone with Samsung’s brilliant 65K-color TFT LCD, sweet-sounding polyphonic ringtones and melody composer. It also has the very useful speaker phone and Voice Clarity features.

The D500 is a heavy-hitting dark beauty that features Samsung’s Intenna design, a spectacular 262,000-color TFT LCD screen, a 1.3-MP camera with flash, camcorder capability, PictBridge compatibility for direct-to-printer photo printing, huge 128MB internal memory and EDGE capability.

The mid-range E330 is a dainty-looking lightweight and compact Intenna clamshell that should appeal more to the female market. It’s a dual-band, dual-LCD handset with a VGA camera and flash, speakerphone/Voice Clarity features, and the all-important 40 polyphonic ringtones.

Siemens

Revitalized by the wide acceptance of its 65-series handsets last year, Siemens is unveiling even more 65-series variants this year. The new CFX65 clamshell, with its fresh design, integrated flash, torch and full multimedia features, is designed to appeal to discriminating young consumers who want to communicate in style. With a striking loop antenna, integrated camera, two displays and full photo functionality the CFX65 should just pull it off.

The CFX65 also has a complete range of communications options such as MMS, EMS and e-mail, while numerous Java apps and pre-installed games provide additional entertainment value.

With two displays, the lightweight 88-gram CFX65 allows images to be viewed in brilliant color or in striking black and white. The phone is equipped with a large 65k-color CSTN display (160 x 128 pixels) on the inside and a black-and-white display (96 x 64 pixels) on the outside. The VGA camera has 4x zoom.

Other upcoming Siemens models are the SF65, the SK65 and the A65. The clamshell SF65 utilizes a novel flip-and-swivel design, while the elegant black SK65 is a radical monoblock phone whose whole rear side swings out to reveal a QWERTY keypad. The A65 is a more traditional candy bar phone model.

Siemens mobile phones come with a wide range of original Siemens accessories: a variety of headsets, including the Purestyle headset for high comfort, a range of chargers and data cables, a sync station, an exchangeable mobile holder, and a flexible Car Kit Easy. A practical textile case completes the product portfolio.

Sony Ericsson

With the P900 and P910i smartphones still serving as virtually indestructible flagships, the K700i and K500i performing yeoman duty as strong mid-range offerings and the various T-series models bolstering the entry- to mid-level range, Sony Ericsson’s early 2005 offerings are limited to a couple of entry-level models.

The first of these phones, the J200i, has a curved and sophisticated form factor and appealing colors. It offers easy talking and easy messaging on a 4k-color (128 x 128 pixels) screen. Its slim, classic design includes an easy-to-use joystick for simple navigation and SMS with predictive text input.

The J200i also features a large phonebook with up to 200 entries, calendar, alarm clock and a 40-tone polyphonic ringer, with an additional speaker for loud and clear ringtones, even on the street.

The second, the iPod-like T290i, boasts a small size, large phonebook and MMS. The T290i’s package includes a 32-tone polyphonic ringer with additional speaker, 4k color screen, an additional speakerphone for conference calls in private or professional use, and fast SMS with predictive text input on a clear and ergonomically designed keypad.

Expect upgrades or new models for the P-series smartphones and the K-series handsets toward the latter half of this year.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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