The Top 10 potential iPhone rivals
The iPhone may be on its way, but you didn't expect the existing mobile manufacturers to take the news lying down, did you? Already, several handsets have been acclaimed as 'iPhone-killers' (we've even got a category for them), while other phone-makers are keen to talk up the benefits of their existing music handsets.
So who stands the best chance of luring punters away from the iPhone? Here's ten contenders, all of which are either available now, or on the way soon. Starting with the one we all know about.
1. The LG Prada phone
Already the subject of a spat between LG and Apple, when LG's head of mobile R&D accused Apple of stealing its idea. That's a storm in a teacup, but it's true that the Prada phone will deliver many of the same features as the iPhone, wrapped inside a design that'll have fashionistas dribbling. (more info)
2. The Samsung F700
Unveiled at the 3GSM show in Barcelona this February, Samsung's F700 certainly looks the business when it comes to touch-screen slinkiness. Besides the 2.78-inch display, it's got a pull-out QWERTY keyboard, a five-megapixel camera and HSDPA. It'll be out in Q3 this year. (more info)
3. The Sony Ericsson W950i
This Walkman phone is already out, boasting 4GB of memory to hold songs, and a slick interface through which to play your tunes. It also ties in closely to mobile operators' own music stores, as well as making it easy for you to transfer songs. But it's got no camera - a baffling omission.
4. The ZunePhone
Admittedly, this hasn't been confirmed yet, but it's a strong rumour. Based on a Microsoft FCC filing earlier this month, CrunchGear reckons the firm is working on "a mobile WiMax-enabled Zune Phone, which would have download speeds of up to 2Mbps". The blog also suggests it'll be announced in March, and will go on sale in May, one month before the iPhone. Crumbs. (more info)
5. The HTC P3350
One of HTC's first consumer handsets, this has an FM radio, microSD slot, MP3 player and BlackBerry Pearl-a-like trackwheel. It runs Windows Mobile 5, with a big touch-screen thrown in to boot. (more info)
6. The Nokia N91 Music Edition
It didn't seem like the music-themed N91 was out for long before it got a successor, boasting 8GB of space for tunes, which was double the original model. Its lack of touch-screen means it won't rival the iPhone for interface goodness, but as a fully-featured music handset whose price will have fallen by the time iPhone comes out, it'll still be a strong alternative to Apple's mobile.
7. The Motorola MOTORIZR Z6
Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised to see Motorola come out with an iPhone-esque touchscreen phone sometime next year. In the meantime, the MOTORIZR Z6 is its first Linux-based handset, which is being targeted at music fans, with its built-in radio and support for Bluetooth headphones.
8. The Neonode N2
Andy wasn't too impressed by this phone, even though it's got a gesturing system that might appeal to Apple-heads. It's also smaller than the iPhone, although it's still got a decent-sized screen. Could it be pitched as the bargain-hunter's iPhone? We'll have to wait and see. (more info)
9. The FIC Neo1973
Another device from a company you might not have heard of, but there's definitely a buzz around this handset. It runs a version of Linux called OpenMoko, and has a slinky 2.8-inch screen, and is due to go on sale next month. For fans of open-source, it's certainly one to watch. (more info)
10. Regular Java phones
How can they possibly compete with the iPhone, hmm? Well, a UK startup called Omnifone recently announced its new MusicStation software, which it says can turn any Java phone into a rival for the iPhone. The app is basically an iTunes for the mobile, letting users pay a monthly subscription fee to download unlimited tracks – with the oldest being removed to make way for new when their phone fills up. Intriguing. (more info)
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