New mobile phones dance across the world stage

Mobile phones unveiled in Barcelona this week will soon make whatever's in your pocket or purse seem dated.

Nokia's N96: The Feature List Goes On and On

The successor to the popular N95, Nokia's top-of-the-line N96 proves you can have it all (except touch technology, something Nokia says its working on)--if you're willing to pay for it. The N95 boasts a big (2.8-inch) screen and the connectivity (HSDPA, Wi-Fi, USB 2.0) to encourage MPEG4, Windows Media, or Flash video playback; in areas where DVB-H (technology for live broadcast TV for handhelds) service is available (mostly Europe), the Symbian S60-based N96 can handle that too. This slider phone also has a built-in aGPS receiver (but turn-by-turn directions are an extra-cost option); a five-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics; 16GB of internal flash memory (expandable to 24MB via a MicroSD card slot . . . the list goes on.

Nokia's Value-Priced, Versatile N78

If the N96 is too rich for your blood, take a look at the N78, the next-gen version of the N73. It too brings HSDPA, Wi-Fi and aGPS (with support for geo-tagging of photos) to the table, along with a 3.2-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, a MicroSD card slot that will support up to 8GB of user-added storage, and an FM transmitter for music playback over an available stereo receiver frequency. The 2.4-inch display sits atop a handsome navigation pad and keypad (no sliding required).

Nokia's 6210 Navigator: Good for Walkers and Drivers

Nokia's 6210 Navigator will come bundled with Nokia Maps 2.0, the latest version (now in beta) of the company's mapping service,which has a few neat features you don't see in most GPS handsets. The new Walk component creates turn-by-turn directions for pedestrians on the 2.4-inch screen (in addition to the usual driving directions) and works with the phone's integrated compass and an accelerometer to help keep you on course (systems designed for cars generally don't pick up changes in walking quickly enough to realize you've made a wrong turn, for example). Multimedia city guides are available as an extra-cost download. This HSDPA phone also has a 3.2-megapixel camera and FM stereo receiver.

LG's Flagship KF700 Gets Very Touchy

LG's new handsets are all about touch, which isn't surprising considering such recent touch-screen U.S. arrivals as the Voyager and the Venus. The KF700 combines three input modes: A 3-inch touchscreen display, a hardware shortcut wheel (on the back) that lets you scroll through icons on a virtual dial to access user-defined features, and a slide-down alphanumeric keypad. Functionality can change depending on application: If you're browsing the web, the shortcut dial lets you zoom in and out of pages. This HSDPA phone, with a 3-megapixel camera, is headed for Europe in March.

The LG Venus Goes European

LG's KF600 is basically a GSM version of Verizon's Venus slider, with a touch-enabled, context-sensitive 1.5-inch Interact navigation screen occupying most of the phone's lower half and a 2-inch display on top. What's particularly cool are the Keith Haring themes that span both the top and bottom displays. It's bound for Europe only, however, and it only supports EDGE data speeds (although it has a 3-megapixel camera, compared to the 2-megapixel camera on the Verizon handset).

LG's KF-510 Super Skinny Slider

Most of the phones at Mobile World Congress are between half and three-quarters of an inch thick. But LG's KF-510 is a slider that checks in at 0.43 of an inch--and yet still manages to bundle a 3-megapixel camera, MP3 player, and an FM radio.

Motorola's Z6w Enables Seamless GSM to Wi-Fi Transitions

Having introduced its showy Moto Z10 video-creation and ROKR E8 music phones at CES, Motorola in Barcelona focused mostly on support (via reference designs) for future network technologies such as WiMax and LTE. But there was one newsworthy device announcement: The Moto Z6w, a Linux-Java handset with both GSM/EDGE and Wi-Fi, also incorporates UMA technology that will allow VoIP calls and Web browsing to be handed off between networks (although your carrier may have something to say about how you'll be able to use this technology). You get a 2-megapixel camera, too.

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Yardena Arar

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