|The meaning of 1xRTT, laptop connections, buying advice, and more |
By Joni Blecher
Senior Editor Joni Blecher, a.k.a. the Cell Phone Diva, wants to answer all your questions about cell phones, service plans, and wireless connectivity. Send her a question!
A: There's a lot of confusion surrounding 3G (1xRTT) phones and what each 3G phone will and won't be able to do. First, find out if you have a 1xRTT mobile by checking to see if the back of your phone says Qualcomm 3G CDMA. If it's there, your phone contains the chip that's needed for 1xRTT network compatibility. There are two components to Sprint's 3G/1xRTT network: voice and data. Any phone that is 1xRTT ready will work on Sprint's existing 2G network and next-generation voice network. The advantages are fewer dropped calls and, ultimately, better battery life.
However, not all 1xRTT-ready phones will work on Sprint's next-generation high-speed (up to 144Kbps) data network. The company can't specify which mobiles will have that capability. At this time, while Sprint has released a few 1xRTT-ready phones (the Kyocera 2255, the Sanyo SCP-5150, and the Sprint TP5250), the company hasn't said whether these mobiles will support high-speed data access once it becomes available.
A: You can actually use just about any cell phone that's data ready with your notebook to connect to the Internet. Most mobiles available have that capability. However, you'll often have to purchase an additional accessory package ($40 to $70) to make it work. Your laptop will also need some ISP info.
Buy or wait?
A: The SCP-5150 is a nifty, head-turning phone, and it will work on the company's next-generation voice network, but you may want to hold out for three more months. I already saw some pretty interesting mobiles at CES, including the upgrade to the SCH-8500, which will be available in the next couple of months. If you wait and don't find something that you like better, the SCP-5150 will still be available by then.
Bluetooth or bust
A: There's the Motorola Timeport 270c, which works with an optional Bluetooth Connectivity Kit ($299.99), for Verizon Wireless service. But expect Ericsson to come out with its Bluetooth-enabled T39 in the next few months. It will work with GSM carriers such as Cingular.
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Joni Blecher is the senior editor for CNET Wireless.