The Mobile Phone As a Jack of All Trades

Smart phones have become to secret weapons of mobile working: the market offers everything from the thin Stylet for special purposes to the Beefy Zwiehänder who kills pretty much everything what is possible on the way of communication. We explain what you should consider when buying.

What makes a Smart phone smart? As smart (in German: smart, skilled, patent or smart) identified cell phones to work with to the one with an open operating system, functionality to software can be extended. On the other hand, they have an alternative to the mobile phone keypad, for example a touch screen or a QWERTY keyboard, which facilitate the input of text.

The solutions of the manufacturers look quite different. What type of device is best for you? Which operating system is the right one? What should you look for when buying? Find the answers in this buyer’s Guide.

I: Symbian Operating Systems And Linux

Those who opt for a Symbian Smart phone, no cuts compared to a conventional mobile phone do phone comfort – for smartphones doesn’t go without saying.

Symbian is supported by mobile phone manufacturers such as Nokia and Sony Ericsson. Due to the large selection Symbian is of devices on Smartphone operating systems currently front.

S60 interface
Within the Symbian systems plays the S60 user interface (called formerly Series 60) Nokia the first violin. Series 60 smartphones there not only from Nokia, but also by Siemens, Sendo, Panasonic and soon also by Samsung.

Nokia Communicator
The veteran among the Smart phones – currently working in the versions 9300i and 9500 on the market – with the series 80 user interface. The Smart phone in the design of a mini notebook has a great QWERTY keyboard. Other advantages of the King-Size phones: wide display (good for Office documents) and, for the 9500 and 9300i – W-LAN.

UIQ
The Smartphone from Sony Ericsson and also some from Motorola work with Symbian and UIQ user interface. P910i and co. offer a touch screen and come a PDA so much closer-but keep a conventional mobile phone keypad.

Linux
Linux on the phone-about as exotic as a penguin on Capri. The only current example in Germany: Motorola A780, a multimedia smartphone, which the manufacturer has built even a complete GPS navigation. Main advantage of the system: you have something (as well as) no one else has. The downside: The selection of additional software is pretty limited.

Operating Systems II: Microsoft And Palm

After Microsoft threatens already long with the entry into the mobile phone business, the range of smartphones with the mini-operating system of the computer software giant is growing slowly.

Microsoft Mobile
The mobile Windows runs on two types of devices. Some are built like mobile phones, others such as PDAs. For both variants: you represent almost Microsoft’s Outlook one to one on the phone. The data matching works very quickly and reliably.

Smartphone version
Control and text entry via a cell phone-style keypad.

PDA version
The user has a large touch screen available for easy and comfortable working with texts, tables and Internet.

Palm OS
Palm OS, the classic on the PDA operating systems, plays no important role in the Smartphones. In Germany, currently only a-quite betagtes-Smartphone is available with the old Treo 650. The big advantage: the big wide world of free-and shareware is available on the basis of the Palm OS available. The downside: Phone and PDA functions are not always optimal attached.

The future of Palm OS smartphone system is, however, uncertain: the successor of the Treo 650 to Windows Mobile run – rumored there should be also a Palm-based version.

Touchscreen, Tastatur Oder Joystick

Soll’s ein Smartphone im Handy-Design sein oder ein PDA mit integriertem Mobiltelefon? Das hängt davon ab, was Sie mit dem Gerät vorhaben.

Mobile phone keypad
A Smartphone that has only a mobile phone keypad, is advisable if you need to enter text on the road only rarely or write messages. As to typing longer texts, with twelve keys, no pleasure even with accessibility features like T9. Who sends appointments or contacts via synchronization on the phone and kept and not necessarily have to answer E-Mails only in the eye, can settle with a mobile phone keypad.

QWERTY keyboard
All others should consider a Smartphone with typewriter style keyboard into consideration. They are coming and enable a more efficient text entry. But be careful: the best try out the keyboard before you buy. Because usually the keys are very small.

Touch screen
Smartphones with touch screen offer typically two ways to collect texts: you write directly on the display and a handwriting recognition turns it into digital text. Or display a virtual keyboard, where you tap the desired letters with the pen.

News Features: Blackberry & Co.

In addition to short messages (SMS) and multimedia messages (MMS), you can send emails and receive with any Smartphone. The choice of smartphones decides how comfortable this works.

Of course, The larger and more brilliant display, more convenient can be read emails. And you write mostly faster than on a mobile phone keypad with a full QWERTY keyboard. How easy emails manage leave, but also depends on other factors. So-called push services like BlackBerry, for example, offer the currently most elegant solution.

Here, incoming messages are sent by the E-Mail Server directly on your Smartphone. So far, you must obtain new mail on the server from your mobile. You receive the emails only after retrieving the messages. With E-Mail push emails land directly according to the shipping and thus almost as fast as a text message on her cell phone. However, the service must be supported by the network operator. In addition to the smartphones directly from BlackBerry, meanwhile also some equipment from Siemens and Nokia support convenient E-Mail service.

Alternatives: The operators have recognized the potential of mail-push and offer your own solutions or even a connection to Microsoft Exchange in part as well as BlackBerry.

Also, many phones now dominate the IMAP mail protocol: so that you can download for example only the subject and then decide what mail you really want to read. In conjunction with UMTS a pleasant variation. On many Smartphones, you can set regular automatic E-mail queries.

Instant Messaging can be a cheap alternative to short messages (SMS) and facilitate communication with colleagues in the Office. Windows smartphones are equipped for it, for example, with the MSN client.

Data Services And Interfaces

A good Smartphone offers a fast Internet connection. To get the appropriate interfaces to communicate with devices such as laptops.

Data services
At the moment, all current smartphones support the data transmission via GPRS. Thus, transfer rates are possible up to 53.6 kbit/s at the reception and 26.8 Kbps for sending. If it should go faster, UMTS is: via UMTS, theoretically up to 384 kbit / s are possible when receiving data over the mobile network.

It is even faster: T-Mobile and Vodafone have recently upped the ante several scrap and accelerated UMTS with the help of HSDPA on theoretical 1.8 Mbits per second (in the download). So far, there’s only laptop data cards. But some HSDPA enabled phones to come until the autumn.

The alternative: Some smartphones support the wireless radio technology in wireless LAN (in particular in PDA format). Who has access to Wi Fi (for example, in the Office, at home or via public hotspots), can it surf the Web with high speed or received his E-Mails on your mobile phone, without having to pay fees at a mobile phone provider. Ideal is the combination of UMTS and W-LAN, offers such as the T-Mobile MDA Pro.

Interfaces
The facilities at interfaces decides how well is your phone with other devices. The most reliable work the USB cable solutions-slow version 2.0 asserts itself, usually with full speed (12 Mbits per second) and not with the 480 Mbits per second of the variant high-speed.

Some devices supplied with a cradle, which is connected by cable to the PC and in the Smartphone is firmly and securely.The wireless alternative is infrared.

This work is usually pretty reliable, the infrared eyes of the two devices must however be aligned. Bluetooth is the most elegant solution, because here the devices without visual contact to communicate with each other.

Via Bluetooth, you can connect a cell phone with PDA, other mobile phones or car kits.

Memory
Smartphones are designed to process large amounts of data-such as email attachments, films, photos or MP3 files. The onboard memory are for this but often too limited. Therefore, a Smartphone should always have a slot for memory cards for example in the MMC, SD or miniSD-format.

Really good stores offer mobile phones with integrated hard disk. The Samsung SGH-i300 brings three MByte, the Nokia N91 comes soon with four GB in the shops.

Bottom Line: More And More Selection

Smartphones cost usually a lot of money – reason enough to consider which features you actually need exactly.

If you decide for a Smartphone, you should clarify first what operating system best meets your requirements.The largest selection is there currently on the Symbian smartphones, with which you so comfortable as with a conventional phone call. Devices with Microsoft’s Windows Mobile are clearly on the rise. You understand perfectly with Microsoft Outlook, at the mobile phone features offer most but slightly less comfort. If you appreciate a huge freeware community, a device might be me Palm OS the right thing for you. If you like exotic, you should have a look on Linux throw.

Depending on, how to use the device, a Smartphone is recommended with QWERTY keyboard or Touch screen. Who must collect data on the go or write messages, can with a more compact printer Mobile phone keypad be satisfied.

Who wants to have his E-Mails at a glance on the road at any time, should consider whether he lies to a device with a mail-push service, such as for example BlackBerry. The Interfaces decide how well your phone with other devices is like, for example, your notebook.

After get devices on the market, thanks to GPS module as a full-fledged navigation device are about the Motorola A780 as-soon-the Pocket Loox T830 Fujitsu Siemens.

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