The race to cram as many features as possible into mobile phones has become a bit like the frantic pursuit of ever faster processor speeds in the late Nineties. No sooner has one new development hit the market, then manufacturers are looking to outdo one another with something else.
It feels a bit like innovation for the sake of it sometimes – for my money phone manufacturers should be concentrating on polishing their communications offerings before venturing forth into the world of entertainment. For now, though, the novelty of being to do everything bar freezing a bag of peas with your phone is shifting units and the latest 3G phone from Toshiba - the TS803 - is right at the forefront of the trend.
It's a phone that James Bond's resident eccentric weapons and gadget meister Q would be proud of - on paper at least. There's no stone left unturned here. Toshiba has managed to squeeze an MP3 music player, music video functions, streaming TV, video calling features and more into one single chunk of silicon and plastic. The only disappointment is that there's no high-powered laser, tranquilliser dart or instant tripwire built in as well.
Our review sample came preloaded sample tracks and videos from the recent Oasis gig at Cardiff's Millenium stadium - where the phone was launched - so it's not hard to see what sort of a market Toshiba is aiming the phone at. With the TS803, Toshiba’s main target is music phones such as Sony Ericsson's W800i, Nokia’s N Series phones and Motorola's Rockr.
I was itching to try it out. Could it rival a stand-alone player? Would the sound quality be any good? Is there any point to watching TV and music videos on a mobile?