The iPhone isn’t the only multimedia mobile on the market. With keyboards, mapping programs, and music players, other smartphones are set to take a bite out of Apple’s dominance.
By Chuck Tannert
NO CARRIER; UNLOCKED
The N81 is built for music and gaming (it comes with a 3.5-mm headphone jack and dedicated game keys), which makes it a great travel companion. And with its quadband world roaming and WiFi capa bility, you can save airtime minutes by making calls via the Internet. It includes stereo Bluetooth, an FM tuner, side-mounted stereo speakers, and supports most music and video formats. It also has RealPlayer for full-screen video playback and a two-megapixel camera with video-recording capabilities. The 2.4-inch, 16-million-color QVGA screen is beautifully sharp, and the alphanumeric keypad is easy to use. There are two versions: an eightgigabyte model and one with a microSD expansion slot that accepts cards up to four gigabytes. Theyâ€™re pricey, but may be worth cracking open your piggy bank.
MOTOROLA Q MUSIC 9M
This is a true multimedia device. At 4.8 ounces, the 9M is heavier than the original Q (4.3 ounces), but it’s a solid unit that offers great Windows Mobile 6 features easily searchable e-mail, an enhanced calendar, and contacts with smart dial. Plus, it’s equipped with Documents to Go, so you can view, edit, and create Microsoft Office files on your phone. But the surprise is the quick-access entertainment features: The user interface offers one-touch launch keys for V Cast Music, the camera, and pictures, so it feels like a dedicated gadget, not a phone with accessories.
This is one of the least expensive and bestlooking phones available. The interface is easy to use, and the Blast includes all the standard smartphone features e-mail, organizational tools, and a 1.3-megapixel camera. It’s equipped with stereo Bluetooth technology, a QWERTY-like keypad that keeps it compact but still text-friendly, and a builtin media player that provides easier access to videos and music than most phones in its class especially at this price.
BLACKBERRY CURVE 8320
This may be the best BlackBerry on the market. It looks sharp, fits comfortably in the palm of your hand, and offers integrated WiFi that works with T-Mobile’s HotSpot@Home service, which means you can make calls without burning your airtime minutes. It also boasts a spacious QWERTY keyboard, a two-megapixel camera, supports popular IM clients, and has all the basic BlackBerry organizer tools, including the calendar and the maps application. You’ll never need to ask for directions again.