New Smartphone Features Hard to Resist
New Smartphone Features Hard to Resist
Recent announcements of some innovative smartphones suggest you may find it increasingly difficult to resist the allure of these all-in-one handhelds over the next year.
As this latest wave of smartphones demonstrates, the trend is toward more compact devices that don’t sacrifice performance. If you carry a cell phone now — and who in real estate doesn’t? — it might as well be a smartphone equipped for mobile productivity without the heft that defined many early models.
Not yet convinced? Even those who prefer the larger keyboard and screen of a laptop or the optics and resolution of a true digital camera would be well served with a smartphone. After all, there are times when it just makes sense to leave cumbersome and intrusive equipment behind in favor of a compact device with voice calling, e-mail, Web access, productivity software, a camera, and your contact database and calendar.
Where smartphones pale against more specialized mobile solutions — and will for the foreseeable future — is in their screen and keyboard size, camera optics, and processing power. Over time, functionality will improve, but there are limits to what can be accomplished with the screen and keyboard in such a compact device. Still, those are compromises worth making if you need instant access to buyers and sellers by the most convenient means possible.
The Latest Choices
Consider some of the choices unveiled in the last six weeks and you can get an idea of the momentum now driving the category:
- Treo 680. Palm, maker of the Treo smartphones already popular with real estate practitioners, expands its line with the Treo 680 Smartphone. The target audience for this streamlined model is owners of a full-featured cell phone who want more functionality without stepping up to a larger handheld. This four-band phone handles voice calling, e-mail, Web browsing, and messaging. It’s Bluetooth compatible and also serves as a wireless modem for laptop computers. As a handheld computer, it has its own 312MHz processor and runs the latest version of the Palm operating system and compatible software. Its 64MB of memory is standard and expandable to 2GB with optional flash memory cards in its Secure Digital card slot. Other features include a touch-sensitive color screen, QWERTY keypad layout, low-resolution digital camera/camcorder with 2X digital zoom, and MP3 playback. The Treo 680 measures 4.4 x 2.3 x 0.8 inches and weighs 5.6 ounces. Pricing and availability will be announced by cellular service providers.
- T-Mobile Dash. Just released, the T-Mobile Dash weighs just 4.2 ounces when loaded with its battery, and measures 4.4 x 2.5 x 0.51 inches. The four-band phone also supports Wi-Fi b/g wireless networking and is Bluetooth compatible. As a communications device, it allows users the choice of voice calling, e-mail, and instant messaging. Features include a 2.4-inch color LCD screen, soft-touch QWERTY mini keypad, 1.3MP digital camera/camcorder, and MicroSD memory card expansion slot. As a Windows Mobile smartphone, it runs all compatible applications, including Outlook Mobile for e-mail and contact management.
- Cingular 3125. Here’s a smartphone that boasts both a distinctive design and price. The first “flip-phone” smartphone to debut in the United States, the Cingular 3125 launched with the suggested retail price of $149.99 (with a commitment to a service contract). Just one-half inch thick, it looks just like other flip-phones at first glance. But packed inside are functions and features that make it a smartphone. It also runs the Windows Mobile platform and compatible software, with Messaging and Security Pack for Windows Mobile so that e-mail, calendar, tasks, and contact information are continually updated. Features include a 200MHz processor, 64MB RAM, an internal 2.2-inch color LCD screen and external 1.2-inch screen, 1.3MP digital camera/camcorder, MP3 playback, speakerphone, and Bluetooth support.
- Blackberry 8703e. The Blackberry 8703e is offered by Sprint and Verizon Wireless. Sprint’s version adds GPS-assisted directions to the feature mix. As a Blackberry device, both the Sprint and Verizon products support always-on e-mail capability as well as voice calling and Web browsing. The unit also can serve as a wireless laptop modem for connecting over Sprint’s broadband wireless network. Features include QWERTY mini-keyboard, Bluetooth support, speakerphone, and 64MB of RAM. The unit measures 4.3 x 2.7 x 0.8 inches and weighs 4.7 ounces. Suggested retail price is $349.99.
The smartphone selection will only grow. So when you buy, investigate what’s offered through your current cellular provider. Whatever model and carrier you choose, understand the total costs of the phone and plan, as well as options, and any costs for stepping up to a newer phone or plan. The smartphone is becoming as essential to your future as your cell phone was in the past.