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Now in Color

If you want to ditch your monochrome display, it'll cost you.

This story appears in the December 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

They've been in overseas markets for at least two years, but most U.S. carriers have waited until this year to unleash phones with color displays. Color screens have spurred usage in Asia, where 90 percent of handsets now offer color. Every U.S. carrier is testing the concept on at least one phone.

The handsets are cool but pricey-between $200 and $500. Ira Brodsky, president of wireless research firm Datacomm, says that camera-equipped phones, multimedia messaging (basically, attaching a picture or a diagram that can be annotated) and multiuser games all benefit from color. But color isn't just for hobbyists: AT&T, Nextel and Verizon have all launched animated business-productivity applications for color screens. Nextel, for example, offers Java-based apps for contact organization, bid estimation and loan amortization. Verizon has BREW apps for tracking expenses and currency conversion.

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