CES: Hot smartphones, Bluetooth

Palm One

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RIM

GN Netcom

Cardo

PalmOne's Treo 650 and RIM's Blackberry 7100t multifunction handhelds were hot items at last week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. As technology improves, these combination phone/organizer/messagers pack in more features while becoming more user-friendly and efficient.

Treo 650 combines e-mail, messaging, Web browsing and Palm operating system personal information management (PIM) into one compact device featuring a thumb keyboard.

In addition, it's also a camera, and this model boasts improved low-light photos and a zoom feature. It can also capture video clips.

Treo 650 is available as either a digital dual-band CDMA/1xRTT or a GSM/GPRS/EDGE world phone, and Bluetooth wireless allows communication with compatible headsets, car kits, computers and printers.

Another noteworthy feature is the device's support for direct corporate mail access to Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 using PalmOne's VersaMail email software.

The BlackBerry 7100t is also a phone, organizer, Web browser and messager, but it does not have a camera.

The device features "push" technology, which means that e-mail is automatically pushed from desktop computers to handheld devices without prompting. The 7100t can integrate with up to 10 e-mail accounts, so your corporate and personal e-mail will always reach you.

Quad band GSM 850/900, DCS 1800 and PCS 1900 frequencies allow for phone capability in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. The device also features Bluetooth wireless.

The 7100t also comes with a unique combination keyboard and phone pad, and software on the device learns as you type, enabling more efficient use over time.

Bluetooth sounds good

Wireless headsets are shrinking at the same time they're offering more features. Officials from GN Netcom and Cardo introduced new Bluetooth headsets at CES.

You can use these headsets even if you don't have a Bluetooth phone because both headsets offer adapters that convert standard mobile phones into Bluetooth phones.

The GN Netcom 6210 offers the same features as the company's previous model, the 6110, but in a smaller and more stylish form. The standout feature of this headset is that it is compatible with a mobile phone and a standard office phone simultaneously.

The new version's "behind the ear" design is made of a soft, sound-absorbing elastomer material that reduces distortions. It also features a JABRA Mini-Gel tip that channels sound directly into the ear.

The headset weighs 0.8 ounces and is rated for up to eight hours of talk time.

A Bluetooth adapter for converting standard mobile phones into Bluetooth-enabled phones is sold separately.

Cardo's scala-500 headset bundles its Bluetooth adapter instead of selling it separately.

Noteworthy features include proprietary WindGuard technology to reduce wind impact for outdoor use and a patent-pending eyeglass clip so you can clip the headset right onto your glasses or sunglasses.

Other features include echo-canceling technology, a directional microphone, voice dialing, automatic redial and call reject.

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