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The 411: Dumb phones and calendar syncing

Every two weeks, CNET editor Nicole Lee answers your questions about cell phones and cell phone accessories in The 411.

Welcome to the 411, my new Q&A column answering all your questions about cell phones and cell phone accessories. I receive plenty of questions about these subjects via e-mail, so I figured many of you might have the same questions, too. At times, I might solicit answers from readers if I'm stumped. Send your questions and comments to me at If you prefer to remain anonymous, let me know in the e-mail.

Does the LG Vu offer calendar syncing? Corinne Schulze/CNET

Maybe you can help. I'm not supertechy. I'm a mom who loves her Palm Pilot, but it's dying on me. I recently bought an LG Vu, and I love it. Problem: I simply want to phase out my Palm and put my calendar and phone book into my LG Vu. I would like to store it in the computer, just in case I lose or break my phone, then I won't lose my whole calendar. Can this be done? I'm reading conflicting things. I'm a working mom, so I'm too busy to use the I phone and get e-mails all day. I just want one device to use as a phone, store about 300 numbers, and use as a calendar...and I want to back it up on the computer. Please offer any words of wisdom if you could. -- Shirley, via e-mail

I already answered this on Dialed In, our weekly cell phone podcast, but I wanted to repost it here in case anyone has a solution to Shirley's question. As far as I know, there's no way to sync up the calendar on the LG Vu with the calendar on the computer--the LG Vu is not a smartphone, and is just not meant for that kind of personal information management. The only thing I can think of is to get a new phone with calendar syncing capabilities--since you're already a Palm Pilot user, you might be comfortable with the Palm Centro, which has the same operating system as the Pilot. If any of our readers have a better solution, please let us know. Thanks!

Hi, is there a Verizon phone with e-mail that has a low SAR? The RIM Blackberry Curve 8830 is 1.46 - pretty high! Thanks -- Bill, via e-mail

Yes, there are a few e-mail-enabled Verizon phones with a lower SAR (Specific Absorption Rate). Bear in mind that the effects of cell phone radiation aren't conclusive just yet, but if you're concerned, you can check out our cell phone radiation chart for the SARs of all the phones we've reviewed. For Verizon, the Samsung Saga is a Windows Mobile handheld that only emits 0.687 watts per kilogram, and while the RIM BlackBerry 8830 might have a high SAR, the RIM BlackBerry Storm only emits 0.87.

The T-Mobile G1 is e-mail-friendly Corinne Schulze/CNET

I read your comparison about the G1 and iPhone. I do have some questions about the G1 as I am a T-Mobile user. I now have the Blackberry 8900. I like it but wanted something with a bigger screen for Internet access. Currently I have the "grandfathered" $10 unlimited blackberry e-mail...and love that. If I get the G1 is there a plan that includes unlimited e-mailing, and internet and additional texting. I know that a lot of the T-Mobile plans will say "unlimited e-mails" but it ends up that the e-mails are counted at texts and if you only have 400 texts a month and get a lot of e-mail...then you basically have a bad plan. Also, how easy is this phone to sync with my AOL e-mail address? I was told by our local T-Mobile store representative that it's easy and if I wanted to check my work e-mail, I could easily go online to my work site and get my e-mails. I live on AOL so I really need the e-mail to work for me on this phone. Any advice would be great! -- Stacey, via e-mail

I'm not sure where you heard that e-mails are counted as texts. If you're sending an e-mail via a text message, then yes, it's counted as a text. But if you're using the T-Mobile G1, you would presumably be using a regular e-mail client to send out e-mails, which will affect your data usage, but not your text message usage at all. I know the distinction seems confusing, but that's just how the cell phone providers have decided to categorize it.

And yes, it's easy to set up your AOL e-mail on the T-Mobile G1. You can ask your T-Mobile representative for details, but you can do this on your own. Just go through the E-mail Setup tutorial--you'll be prompted to enter your e-mail address and password--and that's it. If you want to get more technical, you can also enter POP3 or IMAP account settings if you know them.