CeBIT 2007: Up close with Toshiba’s new smartphones

Toshiba might not be the first company you think of when looking for a new smartphone, but since it announced two new models at the recent 3GSM show, it’s shown that it wants to be up there with Palm, Blackberry and HTC. PC Pro has been given hands-on access to both models at CeBIT 2007.

Both phones are Portege branded, a Toshiba marque better known for business laptops. First up is the G900 (main picture, and pictured below). It’s one of the chunkiest smarphones there is at around an inch thick and five inches long, but the extra size and weight is compensated for by the inclusion of a full QWERTY keyboard, accessed by turning the device sideways and sliding the screen up.

It’s a touchscreen device, so it’s possible to use without needing much more than the navigational keys at the bottom of the 3in wide, bright screen. .

The phone is running the recently launched Windows Mobile 6 operating system and also boasts Wi-Fi, besides the usual spread of cellular options, including HSDPA. There’s also a fingerprint reader and, unusually, compatibility with USB memory sticks for loading and unloading data away from a PC.

The G500 (pictured below) is a smaller option, although by normal mobile phone standards it’s still hefty. This time it’s a vertical slider, with the screen revealing a normal numerical keypad. There’s no touchscreen and the device on the stand, running Windows Mobile 5, was harder to use than its bigger brother.

In a nod towards security-conscious professionals, the phone has a fingerprint reader, allowing businesses to lock out unauthorised users. The gamut of connection options is as wide as the larger G900 – besides HSDPA, EDGE, GSM and 3G, the phone also boasts Wi-Fi, allowing you to use it as a VoIP phone when within range of a wireless network.

A UK spokesperson for Toshiba assured PC Pro that both phones would be available in the UK. The G500 will arrive first, but the G900 will be out this summer.

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