Late last year Moto execs promised journalists that the 2004 range of 3G phones would look more like GPRS handsets than the 3G handsets currently on sale.
Well judging by the Motorola 3G handsets launched this week – to say nothing of the upcoming NEC e616 and LG U8100/8150 – they were half right.
While the phones, the A925, A1000 and E1000 (above) have clearly shrunk in size it is clearly not going to be until 2005 before the difference between 3G and GPRS handsets is marginal.
Our first impression of the Motorola A925 is why bother? Essentially its a funkier version of the Symbian OS based A920 the brick-like 3G phone that Moto/Three debuted at the end of 2003. There are a couple of differences – it has a faster processor which did speed up accessing the handset’s many features, also it apparently has working Bluetooth a feature denied owners of the A920.
However it is likely to be subject to the odd restrictions of Three in the UK – so many of its best features – downloading large POP3 e-mail files/attachments, browsing the web at lightning speeds, taking advantage of 3G to surf the web on a laptop, will be nobbled.
Sure the phone delivers great quality video and its GPS features are very impressive, but there are not enough ‘activated’ features for us to find pocket space for it.
Debuted for the first time in Cannes this week the A1000 is a close relative of the 920/925. Once again it has the same operating system (Symbian) and the same awesome line up of applications. The form factor is slightly different as the screen appears larger and the size of the handset significantly smaller. Another plus is that it also includes a 1.2 mega pixel camera.
Hopefully by the time it launches in autumn 2004 it will be available on several networks (Orange seems a good bet) where all its cool features will be enabled.
Perhaps the best phone Moto launched in Cannes is the E1000. Easily the cutest, and quite possibly the smallest 3G handset unveiled so far (with video calling) it is a candy bar style phone that looks like a slightly larger version of the Sony Ericsson T610. The features line up is similar to the existing A835 with the addition of a 1.2-mega-pixel camera. It should do well when it debuts in the autumn.
Finally some good news for Moto about the A835. Apparently it has been chosen by Orange as the launch phone for its 3G service when it debuts in the summer. Also, accordiong to Moto, the A835 was also the best selling contract phone on any network, in the first month of 2004. How many of those buyers who bought the phone to take advantage of Three’s ultra cheap voice calls, use its sophisticated line up of messaging and video facilities remains to be seen.
You will probably be seeing a whole lot more A835s in our neighbourhood soon as the phone has been chosen as the handset to launch Three’s incredibly cheap pay as you go service.