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No Strings Attached

. . . or are there?

A commercial shows a DJ fast-forwarding through his radio show with information flowing from the Internet to his colorful phone display. No way.

Surfing wireless-enabled sites is excruciatingly slow. Plus, they're hard to navigate and hard to read. Yes, you can find a restaurant, a flight, stock quotes or headlines-if you can't find a newspaper or a phone book.

It isn't the hardware. Handsets like the Siemens S46 or LG 4NE1 have bright views and every navigation aid you could want. But even Handspring Treo 270's four-times-larger display just provides more of a fundamentally nongraphical, nonhyperlinked world.

Meanwhile, the data download meter is running. And even if providers deliver 40Kbps to 70Kbps, that's still only dial-up modem speeds-without a PC's large cache.

Take into account that cell phone pricing plans are works of art, with some details surfacing only after a contract is signed. You can get 2MB of data downloads for $50 to $120 monthly. Worth it? Ultimately, that's your call.


Mike Hogan is Entrepreneur's technology editor. Write him at mhogan@entrepreneur.com.

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This article was originally published in the December 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: No Strings Attached.

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