There was a time when the best thing your phone could do was send black and white pictures ingeniously created by arranging letters and punctuation marks in a text message to look like a cat's face or -- better still -- a stick man holding, er, a stick.
Times have changed and phones have bounded forward. They're so advanced today they laugh in the face of stick men and crush them to death with their multitude of multimedia weaponry -- it's hardly a fair fight.
No, crap phones are history, but new super phones are ten a penny, so which is the right one for you? Here we have a look at four of the hottest phones about to hit the market. Click through for a closer look at these handset honeys. -Andrew Lim
Nokia N96 This is Nokia's most feature-packed phone yet and houses more features than most laptops. If you want it all, this is a good place to start. Boasting GPS, Wi-Fi, HSDPA, DVB-H, 16GB of onboard memory and a 5-megapixel camera, it's difficult to fault this bad boy.
Design-wise it's definitely slicker than its predecessor the N95, but it's still fairly chunky and not a good option if you have tiny pockets (or weak arms). That said, its size does allow for a large screen, which is fantastic for viewing pictures and videos on. The N96 will be available around August.
Samsung G810 Nearly as full of features as the N96, the Samsung G810 packs GPS, HSDPA, Wi-Fi and a 5-megapixel camera with xenon flash -- a must-have if you plan on taking pictures in low light. It also runs on Symbian S60 3rd edition and has a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you can plug your cans straight in.
Unlike the N96, there's no DVB-H or 16GB of memory, instead you get just 130MB onboard and the option to expand via microSD. But if you can live without the massive memory and DVB-H for mobile TV, which at the moment isn't available in the UK anyway, this is a substantial offering and worth investigating. The Samsung G810 will be available around April.
Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 Unlike anything Sony Ericsson has done before, the Xperia X1 takes its smart phone portfolio in an entirely new direction. The X1 is a Windows Mobile touchscreen device with a slide-out Qwerty keypad and a proprietary UI that lets you access apps in a finger-friendly way.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 has a jamboree of features, including a 3.2-megapixel camera, stereo Bluetooth, Windows Media Player, 3D game support, FM radio, Internet Explorer, RSS feed reader, Wi-Fi, GPS, HSDPA, a microSD slot and 400MB of internal memory. Compared to the other devices it stacks up well, but be warned -- the Windows Mobile 6.1 interface might not be as user-friendly. No exact date has been set for launch, but we think it will be out late 2008 or early 2009.
LG KF700 LG blew us away with the LG Viewty and we were keen to see what it would come up with next -- enter the LG KF700, a touchscreen phone similar to the LG Prada, but with a slide-out keypad. Packing the largest screen of all the four, the KF700 definitely looks impressive -- but is it as good on the inside?
There's HSDPA and a 3-megapixel camera, but that's about it in terms of headline features. That said, it does look very attractive and we have it on good authority that a Viewty 2 is in the pipeline, so don't give up on LG just yet. It'll be out in mid-March and LG has yet to disclose pricing.