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Just shoot me

Smita Tripathi | December 20, 2003

Till a few years ago, anyone who carried a mobile phone was hip and happening. Not so any longer. After all, a mobile phone is no longer a luxury but a necessity.

Why, there are people who have done away with landlines and communicate only through mobile phones. In India, nearly 20 million people carry a mobile phone and that excludes WLL users.

And if you are reading this article, then nearly 80 per cent of the people you know must be carrying a mobile phone. So how do you make a statement in a mobile-crowded world? Simple: buy yourself a camera phone.

Says U Narendra Nayak, country operations manager, PCS, Motorola India, "The camera phone is targeted at Indian youth and all consumers who like to capture life's precious moments and also those who like to express themselves. It also aims at providing entertainment in an instant."

So if you fall in that category or someone very dear to you does, then you know just the Christmas present to buy. Of course, he/she should be very dear to you because these phones are priced between Rs 13,000 to Rs 40,000.

And they definitely have caught the fancy of the Indian consumer. At Delhi' s Ansal Plaza branch of Agrani Switch (dealers in cell phones and computer hardware), between two to three camera phones are sold on weekdays and up to six to seven on weekends.

Says the store manager, "Phones with cameras are very popular and a lot of people who are upgrading to a better phone buy the one with a camera."

Nearly all the big cellphone companies have launched mobile phones with cameras. Here's a look at some of them.

The latest and the fanciest phone to be launched is the Sony P900. Of course, you need to be seriously interested in gadgets to buy this one. It is priced at a cool Rs 40,000.

With significant upgrades such as video recording capability, 65K colour touch screen, and increased memory, the P900 is not only a high-quality camera phone, but also provides full PDA/organiser functions.

One of the most exciting features of this phone is that not only does it allow you to take still pictures but also enables you to do video recording.

The phone has an in-built memory of 16MB and comes with a memory card, which has an additional capacity of 32 MB. So you can save up to 40 pictures and around 10 minutes to 12 minutes of video recording on the phone.

More pictures can be saved on the additional memory card. However, the video recording will be in clips of around 10 seconds instead of a continuous thing.

The P900 screen has 65,536 shades, hence the picture is clearer. What's more, the P900 features a complete MP3 music player and also comes with a selection of innovative MP3 ring signals.

All this in addition to the fact that it is a PDA and comes with a built-in stylus for touchscreen operation.

If the P900 is a bit too expensive for you, try the Nokia 6600, which is priced at Rs 25,000.

It also allows video recording but has a lower memory (6 MB) and therefore video recordings of only up to five minutes to seven minutes can be saved. This too has a 65,536-colour display screen though it is smaller in size than the Sony. The camera has a digital zoom and a self-timer.

The Samsung V200, which is priced at Rs 25,000 comes with a 180 degrees rotating lens which enables you to click from all angles. The camera also enables you to zoom and control the brightness. It too has a large 65,000-colour display screen. The Samsung V200 is a neat flip top phone available in silver and gold colours.

If you want a camera phone but don't want to splurge too much, try the Motorola E 365. The E 365 sports an integrated camera with a sliding lens cover and an extra large, 65,000-colour screen.

There is also a cable included at no extra cost in the package, which enables consumers to connect the phone to a PC/Laptop and send images captured with the phone through email.

It also packs in GPRS, downloading capabilities, games, musical ring tunes and an advanced polyphonic speaker. All this for Rs 12,995.

Pictures clicked from a camera phone can be sent through MMS or through e-mail. However, MMS is an expensive proposition as it costs Rs 5 per MMS. The price varies from service provider to service provider.

Also, the receiver too must have an MMS-enabled phone in order to see the pictures. In order to send the pictures through email you need to connect the phone to a computer.

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