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e-Briefing | Gadgets & Gizmos

Better in Color

April 12, 2001|ELIZABETH DOUGLASS

In the mobile phone world, it seems the Japanese have a permanent lock on the coolest phones around. Little by little, though, some of the goodies are hitting the U.S. market.

Sprint PCS has just started selling the first wireless phone with a full-color screen in this country. The Sanyo 5000 phone is silvery, sleek, light (3.6 ounces) and comes with everything cell phone users have come to appreciate, including voice-dialing, Web-access capabilities, a robust phone book and calendar, voice memo for recording short reminders and a data cable to convert it to an external modem for a laptop.

But wait, there's more. The phone is also packed with features popularized in Japan, such as the ability to substitute downloaded music files for the phone's stock ring tones. It also can display still photos, which can be associated with a phone number so that Mom's picture pops up when Mom calls. The phone works in Spanish and English too.

It's pricey at $499, and the color screen really zaps the battery life of the device. With the standard battery, the phone works for two hours of talk time.

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