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What Type of Mobile Phone Do You Need What Type of Mobile Phone Do You Need -
Cell Phone, Web Phone or Smart Phone?
(Part 1/2)

By Daniel Cheung
February, 2001
Nokia 8250 is the latest popular cell phone offering of Nokia.
... you should consider two factors - how much you are prepared to spend; and whether additional features such as Internet access and PDA functionality would be useful to you.

The cell phones of today fall into one of three categories - cell phones, web / Internet phones, and smart phones. Each of these types of phones have differing levels of functionality and pricing. What type do you need?

To discover what type of mobile phone is ideal for your needs, the first thing you have to do is to understand what each type can do for you. The following is a simple definition and introduction to each of the types of mobile phones.

Cell Phones
Cell phones are the basic, voice-only phones that first came out onto the market. They are generally the least expensive and most widely available. They offer basic features, and they are either analog or digital (mostly being digital today in Australia and around the world). Many also have advanced features such as a vibrating alert, calculators, large address books, and voice dial properties.

Web Phones
Web or Internet phones are digital cell phones that provide Internet access through special minibrowsers. A minibrowser allows you to view simplified versions of popular web sites to retrieve information such as stock quotes, weather forecasts, or news briefs. There are also some web sites today that are purely based on mobile phone access. They are called WAP sites. Some web phones also have e-mail capabilities.

Motorola's Accompli is a successful smart phone on the market today.

Smart Phones
Smart phones are cell phones that have minibrowsers that provide Internet access as well as personal digital assistant (PDA) capabilities. PDA functions often include a calendar, address book, contact manager, to-do list, and occasionally an alarm, scheduler, and calculator. Additionally, a smart phone's ability to store personal information generally goes beyond that of the internal phone book in a standard, voice-only cell phone.

Of course, the above are only three categories of mobile phones. The functionality and features of the many phones from each category vary significantly.

To help you make the choice of what type of phone is right for you, you should consider two factors - how much you are prepared to spend; and whether additional features such as Internet access and PDA functionality would be useful to you. It may sound too obvious, but once you have decided on these two (after frst doing a little research on what phones are available) then making the choice of mobile phone becomes much easier. Cell phones are the cheapest generally, followed respectively by web and smart phones. Cell phone prices differ the greatest. They can range from $0 (if you purchase certain mobile phone plans or even many pre-paid mobile access packages) to over $600 (such as the newest mobile phones on the market). Web phones are more limited in pricing and variety, and are generally more expensive than cell phones. Smart phones are even more expensive.


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