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Phones Target Business, Fashion Segments

Cellular phone suppliers announced a mix of phones for the fashion-, business- and entertainment-minded

For the fashion-minded, Nokia unveiled its L’Amour collection of three 7300-series GSM phones due in the first quarter in the United States. For the business-minded, Sprint PCS began in mid-October to offer its first iDEN-network BlackBerry phone, the 7100i, with phone-like form factor. And for the entertainment-oriented, Verizon launched the Samsung a970 with MP3 player and video camera form factor.

The Nokia trio consists of three EDGE-equipped GSM phones operating on 900/1800/1900MHz networks. They will be available on Nokia’s Web site and possibly through carriers. Estimated ballpark prices are $600 for the 7380, $400 for the 7370 and $300 for the 7360.

The ultra-slim 7360 slim bar phone is 4.1 inches by 1.77 inches by 0.71 inches and available in coffee brown or warm amber. In each color, the phone comes with a distinct set of graphics and screensavers. Features include FM stereo, MP3 ringtones, VGA camera, camcorder, MMS and push-to-talk service.

The 3.45-inch by 1.7-inch by 0.89-inch 7370 is a slider that adds MP3/AAC ringtones, 1.3-megapixel camera, 2-inch color display, stereo speakers, Bluetooth and Java downloading. It’s also available in coffee brown and warm amber.

At a trim 4.5 inches by 1.18 inches by 0.79 inches, the top-end 7380 features etched mirrored surface; speaker-independent voice dialing; and a keyless dialing system that, like the previously launched 7280 fashion phone, uses a navigation wheel to scroll through a contact list and select names for dialing. Users enter names by scrolling through the alphabet and clicking. Other features include 2-megapixel camera, flash, 4x zoom and MP3 playback.

Sprint’s new iDEN-network BlackBerry 7100i became available in late October at a suggested $349 before discounts, through Sprint’s direct-to-business channels, Sprint stores and online from Sprint’s Nextel Web site. Unlike Sprint’s other iDEN-network BlackBerry phone, the 7520, it’s a phone-centric model with a candy bar form factor, a screen that’s smaller than PDA phone screens, and a QWERTY keyboard that combines dialing keypad and fits within the width of a traditional cellular phone.

Like other iDEN-network BlackBerry phones from Sprint, the 7100i features Nextel domestic and international PTT service, assisted-GPS and a Java navigation application to provide turn-by-turn driving instructions. It lets users access up to 10 corporate or ISP e-mail accounts.

For a different customer, Samsung’s a970 EV-DO phone is available at $299, after $50 mail-in rebate, through Verizon-owned locations and select Best Buy stores. It stores MP3s in removable TransFlash memory card, features 2-megapixel camera with 2x optical zoom and offers a 262K color LCD screen. The clamshell swivels and opens so it can be held like a camcorder. Other features include Bluetooth.