Innovation, Upheaval Rule Smartphone Market - InformationWeek

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Innovation, Upheaval Rule Smartphone Market

Upstart and established manufacturers, some targeting new sets of customers, are on the march. Meantime, prepare for a shakeout among operating systems.

Approaching the market from the consumer electronics angle, Korea's Samsung has in the last year released a series of elegant and powerful smartphones under the Ultra and BlackJack lines, including the F700, a thin model with a nifty slide-out keyboard, as well as a touch-screen keyboard similar to Apple's forthcoming iPhone.

Sony Ericsson Z750
Sony Ericsson Z750
A slim, round-edged phone that comes in a variety of colors and supports corporate and personal e-mail.
Mobile virtual network operator Helio, a joint venture launched by SK Telekom and EarthLink last May, introduced the Helio Ocean last week at CTIA. The device has a large screen, and the dual-slide design reveals a numeric keypad when slid up and a full QWERTY keyboard for messaging when slid sideways. The Ocean, which will sell for about $295 when it's available later this year, offers GPS, Web browsing, and cellular coverage over Sprint's EV-DO network.

Searching for a hit to follow the Q and the Razr, Motorola last week introduced a series of nondescript consumer phones plus the MC35, a durable voice/data communications device. Along with the already released MC50 and MC70, the new smartphone is an outgrowth of Motorola's acquisition last year of Symbol Technologies, a maker of ruggedized enterprise devices. Called an "enterprise digital assistant," the MC35 includes built-in GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, mobile e-mail over high-speed Edge wireless data networks, a camera, and a bar-code scanner.

Sony Ericsson, which hasn't kept up with the advent of fashion-conscious smartphones in the North American market, last week introduced the Z750, which isn't a new Nissan sports car but a slim, round-edged feature phone that comes in a variety of trendy colors and supports both corporate e-mail (using Microsoft Exchange push e-mail) and personal e-mail via POP3/IMAP gateways. Running over HSDPA and Edge networks for coverage in the United States and abroad, the Z750 doesn't have a U.S. carrier yet.

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