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MWC 2008

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Toshiba E-Ten  

Toshiba had some interesting but odd devices at last year's 3GSM show. This year's devices look a bit more refined, but unfortunately only one is quad-band GSM for use the US: the Portege G810.


The G810 looks like a fairly typical PDA phone at a fairly typical size, and for the most part, it is. It does pack some nice specs, though, such as the next (still-unannounced) minor version update of Windows Mobile, HSPA 850/1900/2100 (HSDPA and HSUPA) data, full GPS, Wi-Fi, and a 3 megapixel auto-focus camera. The fact is that features like this are becoming standard for a PDA-phone, but still, this device surely isn't missing much.

One oddity is the touch nav keys. It's rather unfortunate that Toshiba went for form over function here. They're just as annoying to use as you'd imagine, especially since there's no haptic feedback. Physical keys would have been much, much easier to use.

On the software side, Toshiba has done a bit of differentiation by bundling menu-replacement software by Spb.

G810 Spb Menus  

This menu system presents large buttons for navigating to common applications, making at least that part of it finger-friendly. If you happen to load finger-friendly software apps on it as well (something we expect to see more of this year) then you might have a device you can use without a stylus most of the time (and without using the troublesome touch d-pad.)

Overall, the G810 seems well-built and solid. It's not remarkably small or thin, but it's not unusually large, either. If you can deal with the touch nav keys, the speedy HSPA data - compatible with US 3G networks - certainly makes it worth a look. Being able to snap a decent 3 megapixel photo, geo-tag it, and upload it quickly with HSUPA is a tempting prospect.


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