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Introduction

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Once upon a time a mobile telephone was just that, a telephone you could carry around with you and use at your leisure as long as there was reception where you happened to be at the time. But that was a very long time ago, especially when you take a look at the current crop of smartphones that are appearing on an almost daily basis. A mobile phone can do so much more than just make phone calls these days, and even though SMS messaging is used more than voice calling in some countries, this really is just the tip of the iceberg.

There was of course WAP, but this never turned into the revolutionary mobile browsing environment that its advocates wanted it to be. However, with the introduction of phones with large colour screens, even the uptake of WAP usage is increasing.

More and more business users are starting to connect their notebook computers or PDAs to their phone via a cable, infrared or Bluetooth, so that they can access email or browse the web while on the move. Many modern mobile phones can also be connected to your PC so you can synchronise all the contacts on your computer with your phone. The most popular feature on mobiles phones at the moment seems to be built in cameras. Phone cameras have progressed from novelty items that took barely recognisable pictures, to sophisticated devices that can capture decent quality still images and video footage.

But what does all this have to do with a so called smartphone? Well, a smartphone as the name implies is a device that can do more than your average mobile phone – making it more of a hybrid creature sporting the features of a phone and a PDA. To be honest, I was very sceptical at the whole concept in its early stages as some of the first smartphones to hit the streets weren’t all that smart at all and suffered from all kinds of problems. The initial phones were fairly large, had generally poor battery life and displays that were inadequate for their purpose. However, I’m happy to say that these issues are not apparent on either of the devices on test.

The phones in front of me are the Mio 8390 and the Orange SPV C500. Both of these devices are running Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition. Having Windows on your mobile phone might sound strange and it takes a while to get used to, but once you’ve figured out how it works, it actually makes a lot of sense. But let’s take a closer look at these two phones and help you decide which one, if either, best suits your needs.

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