Spectronic multimedia phone rocks CeBIT

Swedish smartphone is a strong contender for the CeBIT crown

Every technology show has its "hot gadget", and at CeBIT 2001 a strong contender is undoubtedly the Sidetouch Multimedia Telephone from Swedish company Spectronic.

The Sidetouch phone's functionality is remarkable for a 190g device measuring just 143mm by 59mm by 25mm. Built around a GSM 900/1800 phone that provides Web and WAP browsing plus email, fax and SMS capability, there's also a built-in colour digital camera, and you can record and play audio files too.

As befits any self-respecting smartphone, there's a fully-featured personal information manager, including a calendar, contact manager, notepad, calculator, and alarm clock. All this is supported by 16MB of memory for onboard data storage, and you can synchronise with PC-based Outlook data via a serial connection.

Instead of navigating the proprietary operating system and entering text on the monochrome 640 by 200 pixel display using a stylus, as in Ericsson's R380s, the Spectronic phone uses patented "Sidetouch" system that involves touch-sensitive strips on either side of the device. Spectronic claims that users will quickly learn to write messages using thumb movements at several characters a second.

Powered by a Lithium polymer battery, the Sidetouch Multimedia Telephone delivers up to six hours' talk time and 100 hours standby. The device, which has been tested in most European countries, begins shipping this week. If you want to send email with attached images or audio when on the move, this could be the device for you.

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