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IT’s going to be touch-and-go tomorrow!

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Which is the prettiest?: From left: LG’s touch phone, ‘Secret’, Nokia’s N71 computer-phone and Samsung’s candybar ‘Soul’, vying for attention at the CommunicAsia show in Singapore last week.
Which is the prettiest?: From left: LG’s touch phone, ‘Secret’, Nokia’s N71 computer-phone and Samsung’s candybar ‘Soul’, vying for attention at the CommunicAsia show in Singapore last week.

Anand Parthasarathy

Multiple makers unveil new mobile phones for India at Singapore CommunicAsia show

SINGAPORE: Why tap keys when a light touch will do? As mobile phone makers cram more and more features into their handset offerings, keypads get more complicated — and they shrink: Some of them seem to be designed for the fingers of pre-school kids. And when we adults use them, we end up hitting two keys at a time.

The industry seems to have woken to our yelps ... which is why so many of the upcoming cellphones previewed last week at Asia’s biggest technology show, CommunicAsia in Singapore, featured touch-sensitive screens to access most features — rather than struggling with a Lilliputian keypad.

Secret from LG

From Korea, LG brought the latest phone in its Black Label series: the KF750 with neon coloured controls that respond to a mere touch to access music, photos, FM Radio and documents. The phone is named “Secret,” presumably because its slide-out conventional keyboard seems to be a well-kept secret. Made from glass-and-carbon fibre, the ultra thin handset has a 5-megapixel camera and special software to create one’s own music videos.

Samsung, the other big Korean player, unveiled the “Soul” phone, with its Magic Touch technology for the main navigation controls, which change chameleon-like, depending on what one wants to do. The Soul has a keyboard if you want one; but Samsung also showed a mobile phone-computer, “Omnia,” which was wholly touch-based.

This flagship product seems to be saying, “I do everything that Apple’s 3G IPhone does — and some more!” Nokia had its own touching offerings to show in Singapore, but it gave pride of place to a pair of phones — the E 66 and E 71 — for those who like to mix their business with pleasure: they sported hardcore office features which can be swapped for a ‘free time’ look and feel.

Both of them came with built-in Global Positioning System satellite receivers which helped one navigate streets and highways with ease ... a feature that is becoming as mainstream as a camera on the phone. As these phones become available in India in a few weeks, it’s going to be ‘touch and go’ for customers as they taste these new tactile and navigation features on their handsets.

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