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Nine Alternatives To Apple's iPhone

Not every businessperson wants or needs a $500 smartphone. Here are some highly capable options.

Samsung BlackJack
(click image to see larger view)
Samsung BlackJack
$75 with a 2-year AT&T contract and rebate.
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Samsung BlackJack
Similar to the newest BlackBerry models, the BlackJack is meant for mixing business and pleasure. It's powered by Microsoft's Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system, which comes with "direct push" technology for wireless e-mail. You can run Windows-based apps on the smartphone and synchronize with Microsoft Outlook contacts, calendar, and tasks.

The BlackJack can go anywhere, since it offers global roaming via quad-band EDGE/GPRS technology. It allows you to place and receive calls, send text messages, and browse the Internet from anywhere around the world. The iPhone also uses quad-band GSM, the global standard for wireless communications, but for now it's limited to AT&T's EDGE network in the United States.

The BlackJack's screen is tiny compared with the iPhone's, but it's good enough for receiving location and mapping information and for navigating an XM radio menu or AT&T's video and music programs.

No need to worry about the longevity of the BlackJack; it's not going anywhere. A lawsuit filed by Research In Motion in December against Samsung for using a name too similar to "BlackBerry" was settled earlier this year.

Sprint Mogul
(click image to see larger view)
Sprint Mogul by HTC
$400 with 2-year Sprint contract.
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Sprint Mogul
The Sprint Mogul, unveiled a week ago, is the ultimate business device. Manufactured by High Tech Computer, it sports a touch screen similar to the iPhone's while running the latest version of Microsoft's mobile operating system, Windows Mobile 6, Professional Edition, which lets you view e-mail in its original rich HTML format with links to the Web and SharePoint sites. Microsoft had offered two Windows Mobile versions: Pocket PC and Smartphone, which lacked the full Office suite. Windows Mobile 6.0 comes in one version and contains Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for viewing and editing documents.

Mogul works on Sprint's 3G network, called EV-DO Revision 0, at typical data speeds of 400 Kbps to 700 Kbps and peak speeds of up to 2.0 Mbps. Customers will be able to upgrade to a faster network called EV-DO Revision A via a free software update when it becomes available.

With the Sprint Mogul -- unlike the iPhone -- you can buy software from Sprint's online catalog or download other Windows Mobile-compatible apps, as well deploy mobile versions of enterprise apps. Two things you won't find on the Mogul are Google Maps and YouTube.

T-Mobile Wing
(click image to see larger view)
T-Mobile Wing by HTC
$300 with T-Mobile monthly plan and rebate.
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T-Mobile Wing
Another smartphone newbie, the T-Mobile Wing is eye-catching with its blue exterior, touch screen, and slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The Wing, also made by High Tech Computer, is best known for being the first Windows Mobile 6 smartphone to ship in the United States. What does that mean to you? Better e-mail functionality and a full Microsoft Mobile Office suite to keep you productive when you're not in the office.

There are several wireless connectivity options on the Wing, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Windows Media Player Mobile lets Wing perform many of the same functions as the iPhone, such as playing audio and video files, but T-Mobile doesn't have a music or a video service like other cellular carriers. That's a shortcoming if you're into music. iPhone owners can tap into Apple's iTunes service.

The T-Mobile Wing and the iPhone share a similar limitation -- cellular technology that's slower than 3G. The Wing works on T-Mobile's EDGE network, which means Web browsing and data speeds can be sluggish compared with other smartphones. It's also heavier and bulkier than the iPhone.

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