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Photos: The top 10 smart mobile devices

The devices no self-respecting techie should be without...
By Jo Best, Contributor on
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1 of 10 Jo Best/ZDNET

The devices no self-respecting techie should be without...

Palm recently announced its decision to up the ante in Europe, showcasing the Treo 750v as its main offering for the continent.

It's something of a departure for Palm, offering 3G connectivity and highlighting its newfound Windows love by running Windows 5.0.

The 1.3 megapixel camera adds little to the experience but Treo-lovers will be pleased by the image makeover that has seen the ugly aerial that characterised the devices binned and the handset sexed up with some metallic finish. It also ticks some necessary boxes with IE Mobile, Powerpoint and all the usual suspects, as well as a stylus input option.

Photo credit: Palm

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2 of 10 Jo Best/ZDNET

The Vario II is just one name you might know this by - it's made by HTC and branded differently by each operator that offers it.

This Windows operating-system device includes a slide-out keyboard with generously proportioned buttons and a massive screen that aids document viewing, but makes the act of holding the phone to your head somewhat cumbersome.

The Vario II is also one of the first devices to come with HSDPA connectivity, also known as 3.5G, which promises theoretical download speeds of 1.8Mbps, so getting large attachments - or for that matter, downloading video clips - shouldn't be too arduous.

Photo credit: T-Mobile

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Purists may decry the 770 as not technically a smart phone, given the fact it doesn't have any cellular connectivity included. However, the 770 - an internet tablet running Linux - does sport Google Talk and can run other VoIP apps, so talking isn't out of the question.

The device includes a raft of other handy multimedia software, including an RSS reader and audio player.

However, the main thrust of this device is its web browsing. The 770 is for those out-of-the-office moments when you need to check webmail or do a spot of Googling, and carting a full-blown laptop around would be overkill. The tablet can swap between pen input and finger input using an on-screen keyboard for the serious emailers.

Photo credit: Nokia

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4 of 10 Jo Best/ZDNET

The Motorola Q isn't technically available this side of the pond but is thought to be on its way shortly, hence its inclusion.

The Q is Moto's attempt at Razr-ing the smart phone and looks are most definitely its main selling point.Based squarely on the 'thin is in', the Q wins a beauty contest as the skinniest Qwerty device, but it's no size 0 bimbo.

According to US users, it delivers on call quality as well as multimedia functionality, on top of packing the email and office apps you'd expect from an enterprise device.

Photo credit: Motorola

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5 of 10 Jo Best/ZDNET

While the shrunken buttons make serious typing a little fiddly, the E61 is another email-centric device that bears more than a passing likeness to the BlackBerry. The E61 is marked out by its large, chirpy screen and a joystick that make mobile browsing a more pleasurable experience than usual.

The BlackBerry-reminiscent phone also offers the ability to interact with the usual array of Microsoft programs - Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook - and email options including connections to RIM's BlackBerry Connect and Microsoft Exchange.

It does come with the usual connectivity options but snap-happy suits may be disappointed by the lack of a camera.

Photo credit: Nokia

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6 of 10 Jo Best/ZDNET

The slightly chunky p990i isn't going to attract any admiring glances down the pub but, as you should know, it's what's inside that counts - and the P990i has much to recommend it.

The P990i has many of the smart phone applications you'd expect as well as some more feature-based goodness, including a business card reader. It's also overflowing with input methods - a numeric keypad, a Qwerty keyboard and a stylus.

It boasts 3G and wi-fi, as well as one of the more decent cameras out of the smart phone pack - a two megapixel offering.

Photo credit: Sony Ericsson

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7 of 10 Jo Best/ZDNET

Not perhaps one for the hardcore smart phone user, the Pearl - also known as the 8100 - is a departure from the usual crop of BlackBerrys. The device has no thumbwheel for a start, relying instead on a trackball. It's also broken the no-cameras rule, housing a 1.3 megapixel snapper inside.

Navigation and sub-par multimedia functions may leave some RIM newcomers disappointed - BlackBerrys are obviously all about the email, calendaring and the rest.

As well as the email and PIM RIM fans will know, there's a new emphasis on other messaging technologies, with shortcuts to GoogleTalk and Yahoo! instant messaging.

Photo credit: RIM

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8 of 10 Jo Best/ZDNET

The Symbian-based E70 is something of a different beast, with an interesting flip-open design that gives those with super-fast thumbs a break from the usual Qwerty devices. The mini joystick makes browsing easy, although the normal-sized screen will make reading a full web page a bit of a chore.

But messaging is the E70's thing, and it caters for SMS and email with aplomb, offering standards like BlackBerry Connect and Nokia's own-brand email, as well as POP3. There's also a wi-fi option if you fancy seriously draining your battery.

With a two megapixel camera and solid, nice multimedia features - it supports MP3 for example - it's the mullet of the phone world: a bit for work, a bit for play.

Photo credit: Nokia

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9 of 10 Jo Best/ZDNET

This iPaq hw6515 Mobile Messenger is aiming for the 'all things to all men' tag and is firmly championing the idea that size doesn't matter. Bulk aside, there are a lot of features packed into its bulky frame. It's a big-screen, keyboard and stylus-packing creature, with mobile versions of Windows' most popular programs built in.

It also has a GPS receiver, but adding the maps to make such connectivity useful may necessitate buying some extra memory.

And, as you'd expect from such functionality-laden devices, battery life can be a problem. For those who value features over battery life, there's also a fingerprint reader, a camera and email support for all the major players.

Photo credit: HP

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If you're looking for a phone with a little more of a customisable flavour, check out the Linux-based Qtopia Greenphone from Trolltech.

The spec isn't high-end - a 1.3 megapixel camera, no wi-fi, no browser - but the main thrust is about getting developers to come up with their own applications to run on the device (or as Trolltech would have it, the mobile development environment) by opening up the handset's source code.

According to Trolltech, the future of the device is both work and play - it's hoping developers will come up with gaming as well as enterprise applications.

Photo credit: Trolltech

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