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They go by such colorful names as Sidekick, Hint, Shadow and Propel. All are cellphones hitting the market in April, and most feature 3G or QWERTY keyboards, or both.
The Sidekick LX, for example, is T-Mobile's first 3G-equipped Sidekick, which like its predecessor features a display that swivels open to reveal a QWERTY keyboard. Motorola's Hint QA30 is Cricket's first 3G phone with a hard QWERTY keyboard. The Samsung Propel Pro from AT&T is a 3G slider with slide-from-the-side QWERTY keyboard, Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard OS and Wi-Fi.
Here's what's entering stores:
Sharp Sidekick LX: The Sharp-made 3G phone, the first 3G Sidekick, replaces a 2.5G Sidekick LX and adds such enhancements as integrated support for social networking (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and MySpace), GPS and assisted-GPS functionality for such services as Microsoft Live Search and photo geo-tagging, a thinner chassis, a sharper screen, and a higher-resolution 3.2-magepixel camera.
Like all Sidekicks, it's available exclusively from T-Mobile.
The phone operates in quadband EDGE mode and in 1.7/2.1GHz 3G HSDPA mode. It became available April 17 to existing T-Mobile subscribers for preorder through the carrier's Sidekick Web site and is scheduled for May 13 availability to all consumers. The price is $199 with a two-year contract and $50 mail-in-rebate.
T-Mobile's 3G network is available to more than 100 million people in more 130 U.S. cities. In 2009, T-Mobile will extend the network to more than 100 more U.S. cities to double the number of people it reaches, a spokeswoman said.
Motorola Hint: The triband CDMA 1x EV-DO Rev. 0 slider features a QWERTY keyboard, 2.5-inch display, MP3 player, 2-megapixel camera/camcorder, stereo Bluetooth and MicroSD slot. It's available at $249.99 from Leap-owned Cricket Communications.
Samsung Propel Pro: The offshoot of the Samsung Propel, the 3G Propel Pro slider, is available through AT&T with slide-from-the-side QWERTY keyboard, Windows Mobile 6.1 OS and 802.11b/gWi-Fi at $149 after $50 mail-in rebate.
The device is a quadband EDGE, 850/1,900/2,100MHz HSDPA phone with 3-megapixel camera/camcorder, stereo Bluetooth, AT&T's turn-by-turn navigation service with traffic-delay alerts, wireless video sharing, cellular-based video and MobiTV service, over-the-air music downloading and MicroSD slot supporting 16GB cards.
Samsung Trance: Available through Verizon Wireless, the Samsung Trance is a slider-style music phone with touchpad navigation and Bang & Olufsen ICEpower amplification. Available since April 24, it comes in black or red for $49.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate, in the form of a debit card, with a new two-year customer agreement.
The 800/1,900MHz CDMA 1X phone plays back PC-side-loaded music, including paid-for and subscription downloads from Verizon's V CAST Music service. It features 1GB of embedded memory, MicroSD slot for an additional 16GB of music, and playback of the unprotected MP3, WMA, AAC and AAC+ formats.
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