Get Smart (Without a shoe phone)

As many PDAs take on phone capabilities and phones become better at data management, it’s hard to know what to shop for in the personal communications gadget market.

Microsoft looks like it’s having an each way bet with Windows Pocket PC for handhelds and its Windows Powered Smartphone operating system for phones.

The latter gained a high-profile Australian backer in Optus recently, with the telco launching the Qtek7070 Smartphone based on Microsoft’s software designed for phones. The idea is that you can use the phone to check your e-mail, instant message and surf the Net away from your desk (plus your regular phone usage).

Wasn’t WAP supposed to do that, we hear you ask? And, what about 3G? Optus managing director Allen Lew says 3G is some years off and that its customers are after a more familiar environment. “Our research indicates that customers want a simple, mobile user interface that is similar to what they have in their homes and offices,” he said.

Optus has dropped its GPRS rates by 75 per cent to make the service more economically appealing. According to Lew, the new rates should mean an “average 20KB e-mail will cost an Optus user just over half a cent per kilobyte”. Representatives of the telco also suggest users will be looking at around 13 cents per story from sites like that of the Sydney Morning Herald.

The 130g Qtek7070 features 16MB of RAM, a 64,000 colour TFT screen and an MMC expansion slot.

Price: $99 (handset) on a $99 Optus plan from Optus retail stores
Vendor: Optus
Phone: 1300 301 937

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Deanne McIntosh

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