3G Mobile Devices
BUSINESS PROBLEM: The expansion of 3G networks across America provides constant high-speed Internet access—perfect in an era of enterprise mobility and real-time responsiveness. But users need a 3G phone to harness the network. Rumors have Steve Jobs dropping a 3G iPhone in North America some time this year, but for those who can’t wait, don’t want to wait, or just don’t care, there are other options.
TECHNOLOGY SOLUTION: 3G Mobile Devices
While most phones in America are made for a 2.5G network, there are still some enticing options available.
Product: Tilt (AT&T)
Pricing: $400 in-store; a $100 mail-in rebate with a two-year contract. Data plans begin at $39.99 per month.
Functionality: The Tilt is a Windows Mobile 6 Smartphone with a large, slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Along with expected Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities, the Tilt is also outfitted with the Microsoft Office suite. As its name indicates, the phone’s screen tilts 40 degrees so the interface is similar to a laptop’s. It also has a microSD expansion slot and mini USB port. The Tilt’s 3G capabilities make it compatible with both AT&T Video and AT&T Music. For the shutterbug, it’s also equipped with a 3-megapixel camera.
Business Benefits: Perfect for highly mobile professionals. Its Microsoft Office package allows users to edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files while on the go. And the 3G network ensures that those files can, if necessary, be sent to another location quickly and efficiently.
Contact: Your local AT&T retailer.
Product: RIM Blackberry Pearl 8130 (Verizon)
Pricing: $199; a $50 mail-in rebate with a two-year contract. Data plans begin at $29.99 per month. Corporate data plan begins at $44.99 per month.
Functionality: The Blackberry Pearl 8130 sports an improved Web interface compared to previous Blackberry models—a good thing considering this one is compatible with Verizon’s EV-DO network, which gives the device 3G speeds. Strangely, the phone isn’t compatible with Verizon’s V-Cast service. The phone itself has a 3.5-mm headphone jack, a microSD slot, integrated GPS, and a 2-megapixel camera. It also has a SureType keyboard, in which more than one letter is represented on a single key.
Business Benefits: While the phone displays Excel, Word, and PowerPoint files (with zoom, rotate, and change tracking features), users can’t edit them without add-on software. It certainly doesn’t have the Tilt’s capabilities. Then again, it doesn’t have the price tag either.
Contact: Your local Verizon retailer.
Product: Nokia N95-3
Pricing: $700 for the handset
Functionality: Nokia’s flagship smartphone was a hot seller in Europe before an updated version migrated last summer to North America. The N95-3 is compatible with AT&T SIM cards but isn’t branded by the company. The phone syncs to both Mac and PC browsers, using PC Suite for Windows and iSync for Mac OS X. Both sets of drivers need to be downloaded online. The phone features integrated Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and a 3.5-mm headphone jack. It has a 5-megapixel camera and records VGA-quality video.
Business Benefits: This phone features a lot of bells and whistles, but it’s mostly for tech-heads. The price tag and the fact that a call plan must be coordinated separately with AT&T might be daunting for casual users as well. Still, it’s perhaps the most advanced phone of its kind thus far.
Contact: Nokia at www.nokiausa.com.