MANILA, MAY 30, 2006
 (STAR) By Manny De Los Reyes - It has been barely three months since I last wrote a story about 3G technology and mobile phones in Telecoms but with the relentless march of technology, it’s high time for an update on the second wave of handsets that feature this groundbreaking new feature.

Again, 3G is short for third-generation mobile telephone technology. 3G services provide the ability to transfer both voice data (a telephone call) and non-voice data (such as downloading information, exchanging e-mail, and instant messaging), among others.

In a fully developed 3G environment, one can make video calls where both parties can see each other; listen to Visual Radio with its image-enhanced content; watch streaming videos, short, capsulized "mobisodes" of TV blockbusters, and even catch real-time news bulletins, sports updates and weather reports.

Originally, 3G was supposed to be a single, unified, worldwide standard, but has since been split into three camps. The Philippines belong to UMTS or Universal Mobile Telephone System. Based on WCDMA technology, UMTS is the solution generally preferred by countries that use GSM.

Thankfully, the texting capital of the world has no shortage of 3G-ready phones, with Nokia and Sony Ericsson leading the charge with several 3G-capable models already in the market, Motorola having launched one early this year, with Samsung and LG soon to follow. Here now are some upcoming 3G handsets that will soon be available at mobile phone outlets nearest you.

Nokia N80

Leading the pack of powerful imaging-oriented 3G devices is the Nokia N80 slider phone, with its 3-megapixel camera, capture key for fast and stable camera activation, full-screen landscape capture utilizing the entire available high-definition display, and a dedicated close-up mode switch. It’s the first-ever handset to enable seamless home media networking between compatible TVs, audio systems and PCs. Weighing 134 grams, this compact yet feature-rich, quad-band multimedia device provides fast Internet access and intuitive browsing as well as the possibility to send and receive e-mails at wireless LAN speeds almost anywhere in the world.

The Nokia N80 incorporates a large internal memory of up to 40 MB, which can be further expanded with a hot-swappable miniSD card of up to 2GB, allowing users to store up to 1,000 high-quality images or videos on the device. It even plays stereo FM and is Visual Radio-enabled.

Nokia N71

The N71 is a 2-MP 3G camphone which has many of the N80’s features but with a notable emphasis on music. In addition to a five-band equalizer, the N71 has a slot for a miniSD card of up to 2GB, which can store up to 1,500 songs. The music experience can be further enhanced by the in-box Nokia Audio Adapter, which enables users to listen to the device’s digital music player or stereo FM radio through standard stereo headphones. And with the separately available Nokia Audio Cable, users can also plug the N71 into a compatible home stereo system for stereo playback.

Nokia N92

The N92 has a dual-hinge design, supports DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting—Handhelds), has a 2-megapixel still camera and another one for video calls, and stores up to 90MB in its included memory. The display is a flashy 2.8-inch space of 16 million colors (yes, 16 million!). Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and USB-2.0 connectivity are also available.

Nokia E Series

On the enterprise handset end, Nokia is unleashing two new business-optimized devices. The E61 and E70 – the first of the new Nokia Enterprise devices – are distinctively different in design and allow businesses of all sizes to mobilize their workforce. Nokia Enterprise devices combine attractive and easy-to-use designs with technologies that allow IT departments to effectively manage security settings, corporate applications and data. The devices are designed to accommodate must-have mobile applications needed in today’s business world like mobile e-mail and advanced voice calling functions.

The Nokia E61 and Nokia E70 support today’s most popular and newly announced corporate mobile e-mail solutions like BlackBerry Connect, GoodLink, Nokia Business Center, Seven Mobile Mail, Seven Always-On Mail, and Visto Mobile.

The E61 and E70 are built on the latest edition of the Series 60 Platform running on Symbian OS v. 9.1. They include a variety of GSM frequencies and 3G (WCDMA) cellular network support for seamless roaming across different countries, as well as a range of local connectivity options such as WLAN, Bluetooth and infrared and are USB 2.0-compatible.

The E61 and E70 also feature superior voice functionality when compared to other devices that combine PDA-like features with a mobile phone. The devices support advanced voice services such as Internet phone (VoIP) calls, Push-to-talk (PTT), and other SIP-based rich call services. Companies deploying an Avaya or Cisco IP PBX can connect the new Nokia devices directly to their corporate phone networks, enabling functions employees have come to expect from a corporate network like four-digit dialing and assisted call answering.

Nokia 6233

Yet another 3G handset from the Finnish giant is the sleek stainless, steel-bodied 6233 which features a 2-MP camera. Music lovers can connect a pair of headphones and scan through their favorite music albums, thanks to the 6233’s hot-swap microSD memory card support of up to 2GB. A Visual Radio client and built-in stereo speakers offering 3D sound complement the audio experience.

Sony Ericsson W950i

Sony Ericsson’s W950i is the sixth Walkman phone and is an ultra-slim, ultra-stylish 3G device with 4GB of onboard storage complete with a touch screen for simple navigation through music genres, playlists, individual songs or music albums.

The W950i’s design will turn the heads of the most avid style aficionados. Its thin, sleek and compact form is finished in mystic purple, fingerprint-proof matte with orange accents. The purity of its design is strengthened by the keypad being flush with the surface, and orange backlighting that brings the music keys to life in a stunning yet practical way.

As a music player, the W950i not only lives up to the renowned Walkman name, but takes it to new heights. Its 4GB storage can take up to 4,000 songs and the sound quality, delivered on high-quality headphones, makes listening to music a real pleasure. A new graphic-rich interface on the Walkman player makes it easy to navigate around the music library by song, artist or playlist and even makes it possible to search visually by browsing through album covers using the stylus and touch screen.

Beyond music, the W950i is a complete mobile entertainment center that delivers great speed and exceptional quality sound and vision. Users can now enjoy the complete spectrum of mobile multimedia applications, from Web browsing, push e-mail and video streaming to 3D gaming and store-and-share of media files. Besides music, 4GB is enough storage for a wealth of photos, videos or e-mail attachments.

The W950i is based on the new Symbian v9.1 and UIQ 3.0 platform, benefiting from a growing multitude of third-party applications. All these applications are available for download from the Sony Ericsson Application Shop, an online catalogue that is stocked directly by third-party developers.

Sony Ericsson M600i

Nope, Sony Ericsson has not merged with Blackberry. But we won’t blame you for thinking that when you see the 3G-enabled M600i with its numeric and QWERTY keypad rolled into one interface. It has also developed push e-mail ability that takes Sony Ericsson mobility up one notch – and closer to Blackberry territory.

Despite an 80MB onboard memory and the 64MB optional expansion, the M600i stays as trim as a slimming salon model, with 4.2 x 2.2 x 0.6 measurements. This includes the gigantic 262K-color TFT touch-screen

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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