Cells Like Nobody’s Business
Kanika Goswami features some of the
hottest ‘business cell phones’ in the market...
a businessman named Mr X. The time is somewhere in the 60s,
70s, 80 or even the early 90s. Mr X is on
an Indian Airlines aircraft on his way to a conference but
unknown to him there is a crisis in the office. A client is
threatening to cancel the largest order that the firm has
ever received unless granted an immediate one-on-one with
Mr X. Its a small misunderstanding, easily rectified
with some easy communication. But Mr X is inaccessible. Unpleasant
Same scene today Mr X has
a small sleek black box on him. The crisis erupts, the box
starts ringing or vibrating, Mr X is immediately connected
to the office and then the client, he checks the black box
to clear the issue on which the misunderstanding has arisen,
talks to the client, the issue is resolved. Mr X then picks
a Thank You card from the Internet and sends it to his client
over the same black box, the latter responds by sending signed
images of the agreement.
Discounting the small element of melodrama
in the above example, the point is that mobile phones are
today the office of the businessman-on-the-move, his virtual
workplace. Through these instruments, he/she can design presentations,
send and receive business data in real time, ask for inputs
from a colleague in another continent, connect to a client
on yet another continent, and after the hard work is done,
recline and listen to a number from his favourite FM channel.
In the Indian context, from fishermen
in Kerala to soya bean farmers in Madhya Pradesh, mobile phones
have found ready acceptance. We shall however restrict ourselves
with that subset called business phones within
the cell phone bracket. And since business phones need necessarily
to have international roaming capability, our review of phones
will have be only those running on Global System for Mobile
(GSM) Communications. GSM technology gives consumers standardised
same number contactability in more than 170 countries.
Of the cellphone players in India,
the connecting people people, Nokia have a large
part of the market captured and most new models launched in
the last few months have come from this stable. Close contenders
are Samsung and Sony Ericsson, with Motorola not far behind.
These are the major brands currently available in the Indian
One of the most impressive handset is the Nokia 9210i Communicator
(Price: 37,599), a phone cum personal digital assistant (PDA).
At 244 grams it is almost obese compared to other PDAs but
it has an awesome range of features. The company bills it
as a portable office which includes phone, fax, e-mail, calendar,
contacts, Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Presentation viewer,
WAP, WWW. You can edit and send Word Processor and spreadsheet
documents, view MS PowerPoint slides in full colour.
It has a high quality 4,096 colour
screen. Photos can be transferred from a compatible digital
camera, viewed and then forwarded by fax or e-mail. You can
also view streaming videos on the Internet and flash animations
There is however a snag, Worksheets can be created on it but
the presentation tools can only view previously loaded PowerPoint
slides. As if to make up for these, there is the streaming
software from Real Networks (audio and video player) to view
internet media content. The 9210i Communicator effectively
serves as an office in your pocket.
latest in the Indian market is the Nokia 6610 (Price: Rs 16,399).
One of its main features is the multimedia messaging service
(MMS) which allows users to incorporate sound, images, and
other rich content into their messages. The model also has
an integrated FM radio. Its triband GSM access means ability
to connect anywhere in the world, anytime. Plus theres
pre-installed Java applications on the Nokia 6610 which include
a Converter (for currencies, temperature, weight and other
measures) and a Portfolio Manager (to track stocks and other
securities). The calendar notes can take up to 250 entries
and the Phonebook Memory (phone + SIM) up to 300 entries.
Another model selling well in the
Indian market is the Nokia 7250 (Price: Rs 26,299). It has
an integrated digital camera allowing you to capture, store
and share pictures. Plus theres MMS, triband GSM, an
integrated stereo FM radio, downloadable personal applications
via Java technology, WAP 1.2.1 Browser. Memorywise, the phone
book supports up to 300 entries, SMS up to 150 text messages
and calendar notes up to 250 entries. Thanks to an ultra thin
battery, the Nokia 6100 (Price: Rs 20,099) is one of the slimmest
full featured phones on display in Indian shops. Features
include MMS, downloadable Java games, WAP 1.2.1 browser, delightful
polyphonic ring tones, triband GSM support. The 6100 even
has an electronic wallet, though it will be some time before
people start using this feature in India. The 6100 sports
a 4,096-colour, 128x128 pixels resolution screen and its large
display is handy, whether you are typing SMS messages or viewing
an MMS message.
The Nokia 3650 (Price: Rs 23,399)
is equipped with an integrated video player and a RealOne
Player to download video clips. Also, its integrated digital
camera can capture images at 640 x 480 resolution and the
phone display can be used as a viewfinder. It has high-end
features like Bluetooth9 and Infrared capabilities which allows
wireless connectivity to your PC and laptop. You can download
new Java games and applications. Data transfer can be as fast
as 43.2 kilobits per second.
The Nokia 8910 (Price: Rs 35,499)
is heavy on looks with a titanium casing and chrome finish
keys. Activating the side triggers sets the phone in motion,
rising from the handgrip cover to put the many phone functions
at your fingertips. Features include Voice Commands, Bluetooth
wireless connectivity to other compatible devices, mobile
Internet connectivity, Organiser and To-Do lists, on top of
your pre-requisite phone functions.
Nokia 7650 (Price: Rs 26,999) is
a phone and colour camera rolled into one with MMS capabilities.
It has 3.6 MB of memory to store files and applications. The
7650 comes with only a WAP (Wireless Application Protocol)
browser, limiting you to text-based content. It has infrared
and Bluetooth capabilities for connecting to PDAs and notebook
Samsung is a close contender in the Indian market. One of
the brands better sellers is the Think Slim
Samsung SGH-N200 (Price: Rs 11,000). It is sleek and light,
more on the lines of the Nokia 8250, with an antenna and a
backlight. The N200 has voice activated WAP which means no
need to hit the function key for internet access. The slim
width however makes using the keypad awkward at times. The
phone is a dual-band phone, and business travellers wont
be able to use this in many cities in the US. The 650mA lithium-ion
battery powers the phone over a weekends use comfortably,
and is rated at 90 hours of standby time and three hours of
Motorola, is the third major player in the Indian cellphone
market. The Motorola Mysticmoto T 720 (Price: Rs 15,995) has
been so termed, because of its dazzling, large 4,096 colour
screen. In addition to fun and games, the phone can be used
to download business applications like stock updates and even
financial tools using the J2ME wireless technology. In the
Motorola stable, the cutting edge-tech comes from the sleek
but loaded Motorola V66 (Price: Rs 10,495). This small and
lightweight instrument combines chic with tech. Features include
rapid network connections for fast web and email access, global
roaming capabilities and a built-in micro browser to access
news, weather, stocks and more. It also has voice memo and
A similar model, selling well, is
the Motorola C350 (Price: Rs 9,795). It has polyphonic ring
tones, a colour display in addition to a compact camera. The
C350 comes with a 4,000-colour LCD screen and internet surfing
is convenient. The only significant missing feature is MMS
Another model, Motorola T 720i (Price:
Rs 19,995) offers all this and more. It has a digital camera
and triband connectivity. It is the first model in Motorola
to boast of these features.
The Sony Ericsson T 800 (Price: Rs 40,000) is a sleek phone
with a tri-band, MMS, GPRS-enabled cell phone cum PDA with
handwriting recognition. It is also a digital camera, features
an MP3 and MPEG4 player, a GameBoy console and a voice recorder.
The phone can automatically synchronise contacts with Microsoft
Outlook via Bluetooth link. The only problem with this model
is that it needs to be fine tuned and the manual has to be
consulted at every step. The phone, therefore, while being
a boon for the IT-savvy, is a bumpy ride for the uninitiated.
Another tech-loaded gizmo is the Sony Ericsson T68i (Price:
Rs 18,000). It has a digital talk time of up to 780 minutes.
Features include wireless web access.
Another sell-well model is the T
300 (Priced: Rs 13,995). It has a camera accessory and provision
to e-mail images. However the drawback here is the 256-bit
screen, seriously threatened by the 4096-colour screens of
|If the market
bleeds saffron, white and green, then VK Munoth is the
winner. As the first Indian brand, the models launched
by the company have no local contenders, its USP being
the zippy desi image. The company is an alliance
between the Munoth Industries Ltd., with strongholds in
finance and investment, and VK Corporation, a leading
technology firm with its headquarters in Hong Kong. VK
is also the innovator of the lithium polymer battery -
the lightest battery for mobile phones. The models launched
by the VK Munoth include: VG 107, CG 107 (Both priced
at Rs 12,900) and the VG 207 (Priced at Rs 18, 500), all
available in a range of colours. Not content with being
Indias first branded mobile, the VG 207 also holds
the honour of being the worlds smallest colour mobile.
Touted as the phone for a younger age bracket ( 20 to
35 years), the phone is a technical fashion accessory.
The phone operates on dual band GSM 900/ 1800, single
key access to voice mail and a built-in speed dial function.
The VG 207 has a range of polyphonic ringer tones ,the
7-colour LED indicator lets you categorise your calls,
the personal information manager is exhaustive . It also
supports a WAP Browser 1.2.1 for high-speed Internet connectivity.
The phone weighs a mere 70 gm. The standard pack comes
with both slim and standard batteries, a desktop charger
and a travel adapter for the business executive on the
move. Service for the VK Munoth is provided by Accel Ltd.,
the leading mobile phone service in the country. The current
models available at more than 2,500 retail outlets across
the country .
Susan George, Chennai