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Here's your chance to get up to speed on the latest features in mobile-phone technology.

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This story appears in the April 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

There's been a lot of conversation about 3G (Third Generation) wireless networks in the United States and overseas. All the different names, acronyms and hyperbole for the different generations of America's several incompatible networks can give you a 3G headache.

We won't add to the pain, since you won't be riding a network whose bandwidth exceeds 100Kbps anytime soon. But what's come online lately are interesting new phones that take advantage of the greater bandwidth and Web access that carriers are offering on their way to 3G. Color screens, better audio, downloadable ringtones and animation, and larger phonebooks can all create a richer phone experience for just a few dollars more. It's as much about add-on Net services as the physical phone, because the new handset generation takes advantage of a broader menu of offerings downloadable from the Web. Phone models are usually closely associated with a service provider. For example, the $180 (all prices street) Samsung N400 works with the new PCS Vision service from Sprint. It comes with a color screen, a speakerphone and support for a $100 add-on PCS Vision Camera from InfoHand. Sprint's PCS Vision has a PCS Business Connection component available for secure access to corporate data and e-mail. This is geared toward larger businesses, but could be an option for midsized companies with a mobile work force.

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