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I've been drooling over LG's Chocolate handset
ever since I saw pictures of it at CTIA. What are the rumors regarding when it will be released in the United States, and which carrier is going to pick it up? I'm currently on Verizon, and though I can upgrade phones now, I'd be willing to wait if Verizon gets the Chocolate.
A: Of all the new cell phones we saw last month at CTIA, LG's Chocolate phone has generated some of the most buzz. Slickly styled in a sexy slider design, the Chocolate is definitely eye-catching, but it doesn't slack off on features either. Inside the current version of the Chocolate, you'll find a 1.3-megapixel camera, EV-DO support, an MP3 player with stereo sound, and 512MB of memory. For a first look at the Chocolate, be sure to check out our video from the Las Vegas show.
Unfortunately, we don't have much release information on the Chocolate yet. It's scheduled to go on sale in the second half of the year, but the carrier isn't set at this point. We do know that it's a CDMA handset, however, so Verizon could be the carrier. For right now, we'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, be sure to read Nicole Lee's latest blog on the Chocolate, in which she speculates about the forthcoming U.S. version. Q:
I just read that Cingular is going back to AT&T. Does this mean that Cingular customers will have to buy new cell phones like last time?
A: You're correct, Alex, that just a year and a half after AT&T Wireless disappeared from the cell phone world, it's set to come back in 2007. But unlike in 2004 when Cingular bought AT&T, there is no merger between two companies this time around. Instead, Cingular is just reverting to the AT&T Wireless name.
While the name change will be perplexing to Cingular customers, you shouldn't be much affected beyond seeing a different name and logo on your bill. It's true that after the 2004 merger, some (but not all) AT&T customers had to buy new phones and sign up for new Cingular contracts, but I can almost guarantee that for most of you, it won't be the case this time. I'd caution, however, that if you're an old AT&T customer still using a TDMA phone, you will have to purchase a new GSM phone at some point. Cingular is phasing out TDMA networks over the next couple of years, so it won't be too long before your TDMA phone is useless. And if that applies to you, Cingular will require you to sign a new contract if you buy a phone from the carrier and accept the service rebates. Q:
I regard good reception as the most important feature in a cell phone. Which phone do you believe has the best reception?
Does your cell phone get good reception?
Without a doubt, reception is the most important quality in a cell phone. I readily agree that even the most full-featured phone isn't worth its weight in plastic (or metal) if it can't make good calls. While in most situations, the strength of a carrier's network is the cause of bad reception, the strength of a phone's antenna, its receiver, and the effectiveness of its earpiece play a big part in call quality as well.
Yet, you ask a complex question, Dennis. Since so many variables go into call quality (your location, the network strength, the phone, and so forth), it's difficult to uphold one particular handset as the best overall, especially since the market changes so often. It's easier, however, to discuss which manufacturer has the best reputation for call quality. CNET hasn't done any formal studies, but when I posed this question to readers last summer, most respondents named Nokia as the winner. A discussion in our Make the Call forum addressed this question as well but in a different manner. I wouldn't take either as gospel, though, since ultimately, call quality is pretty subjective.