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Is your mobile phone smart enough?

By Sangeeta Singh
October 01, 2005 09:56 IST
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If you are bored of your old mobile handset and want to pass it on to your mother-in-law -- because your kids will laugh you out of house and home if you offer it to them -- and are looking to buy a new model, think about trying a smartphone by Nokia or Samsung.

Nokia 9300, for instance, which the company claims comes in handy for people across professions with its outstanding voice and data capabilities and all-in-one device for users. It combines PDA features with those of a mobile phone and has browsing and e-mail facilities.

According to Sanjeev Sharma, managing director, Nokia India, "Nokia 9300 strikes the balance between PDA and phone without sacrificing the functionality of each." With a memory of 80 MB it is a useful product if you have to store a lot of data.

However, if you are looking for something trendier, go for the Nokia N90 multimedia device, which incorporates sophisticated Carl Zeiss optics. And since it was launched only in September, chances are your neighbour still hasn't bought it. It comes with a full set of advanced digital camera features targeted at those who have a craze for technology and are into mobile photography.

With a 2 megapixel camera, autofocus and high order digital zoom, integrated flash and macro mode for sharp close-ups, this smartphone may even make many discard their digital cameras. And according to Gautam Advani, director, multimedia, Nokia India, consumers today are looking for high performance multimedia devices and N90 provides a unique mix of superior imaging, video, music and smartphone features.

For those that are into music, gaming and imaging but don't want to shell out too much, one can choose between the Nokia 6600, a camera phone with a large colour screen, digital zoom and video recorder or the Nokia 7610, which gives photographers a quick and convenient way to capture, print, store and send photos. One can even buy the Nokia 6680, which has two integrated cameras, enabling 2-way video calling. Nokia's smartphones range between Rs 20,000-40,000.

The company claims it has more than doubled its smartphone shipments since 2004, when it shipped 12 million smartphones. In 2005, Nokia expects the smartphone market to exceed 50 million units.

Customers also prefer the smartphones. Shreyas Puri, an engineering student in Indore and a gizmo freak says that while Nokia 8800 is sexy, it is technically useless: "Not really a smartphone and not worth the money," he says. He says the same about the Motorola RAZR V3.

Puri prefers the Sony Ericsson P910i, which, according to him is good both in use and size. "The Samsung E730, a Windows-based phone and the LG-V9000 are interesting phones to choose from with the latter playing live TV," he says.

He recommends the Motorola SLVR L7 to those who want slim handsets but not too many fancy features, and the Motorola A1010 as an alternative to Nokia.

However, what is creating ripples in the world market is Samsung's SGH-D500, which was named the World's Best Mobile Handset at the 3GSM Association World Congress at Cannes early this year. This triband, megapixel digital integrator combines a modern design, exceptional functionality and the latest imaging technology.

"D500 is the best-looking phone I have seen so far, and it's fun to use. It has clear images, Bluetooth, video recording and messaging facilities, and what's best is that it comes with an MP3 player with a storage capacity of 8-10 songs," says Raghu Mohan, a Mumbai-based media consultant.

For hardcore vernacular types, D500 supports messaging in Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati and Kannada. And all at a price of Rs 18,699.

For those who value lifestyle products, Samsung has its E530 which, according to the company, is a true reflection of your lifestyle, and gives an edge to all the fashionable feminine phones available in the market.

And Samsung doesn't mean to stop here. "We plan to create more excitement in the high-end camera segment with two-to-three more launches within this month. We will leverage on design, technical superiority and attractive prices," says H C Ryu, director-telecom, Samsung India.

Again, LG has appealed to a lot of customers with its wide price range. Its music and camera phones are giving Samsung quite a fight, and they are now just about neck and neck.

"Our music phones and camera phones have appealed to discerning customers across segments. We take music as the mainstay, concentrating on 3D surround sound, graphic equalisers, and MP3 phones," says HS Bhatia, product group head, GSM, LGEIL. He also claims that LG has launched 10 models this year and will be launching another five in a short span of time.

However, if you are a CDMA handset user, Nokia has launched eight CDMA models. While the lowest range is Rs 4,689 for the 2112, Nokia 6255 costs Rs 15,399. The company supplies these phones to several service providers. Again, the LG RD 2330 comes with a silver finish and is priced at Rs 2,499, with free talk time of Rs 100.

LG CDMA RD 2430, an ultra lite mobile phone with R-World, offering personalised ringtones, cricket scores and city, travel and TV guides is priced at Rs 2,999 with free talk time worth Rs 165.
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Sangeeta Singh
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