The Phone as a Platform

By: Somia Khan

Mobile Phones are getting to be as powerful as PCs, with processors, platforms, and operation systems that let developers create complelling applications. Combine this with the development of broadband networks, such as FV-DO and HSDPA, AND WE'RE SEEING SOME VERY IMPRESSIVE NETWORK APPLICATIONS AS WELL. Meanwhile, people love to customize their phones, which has launched the ringtone business into the stratosphere. It's even bigger than for pay digital downloads of complete songs from sites like iTunes something that continues to astound me.

That's just for starters.
Most phones today can receive E-mail, but until recently it's been difficult.

Keyboard phones are ssuddenly getting much less expensive: The Motorola Q sells for just $199 with a two year (fairly pricey) contract. And new phones aimed at younger consumers, such as the T-Mobile Sidekick and the Kyocera Switchback, sell for $150 without a contract.

I've used the Q and the new palm treo 700p in recent weeks, and there's a lot to like about both of them. The Q is a beeter phone. It's much thinner, fits nicely in your pocket, and has builtin voice dialing over bluetooth. But the 700p is better for e-mail. The shortcuts are faster and easier to use, it has keys for quickly going to your mail or calendar, and it includes Docs to Go for editing and viewing attachments. But not everyone needs a keyboard pone. If all you want to do is read your email, most any phone will do the job.

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