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Toshiba Portege G900 and G500: Finger-friendly smart phones

If you're worried about keeping your data safe on your mobile phone then take a look at Toshiba's new handsets -- they come with fingerprint scanners so only you can access them

Toshiba isn't well-known for making high-end smart phones and the truth is that while its laptops aren't bad at all, its mobiles are far from inspiring -- until now, that is. Tucked away in a corner of one of the many giant halls at the 3GSM trade fair is the Toshiba stand, on which you'll find two of its latest phones. These phones, however, aren't like anything Toshiba has brought to the mobile table before.

First up is the Toshiba Portege G500 (pictured). It's a Windows Mobile 5.0 device that features a slider form factor, a 2-megapixel camera and HSDPA, 3G, EDGE, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and USB connectivity. Then there's the Toshiba Portege G900 that runs on Windows Mobile 6.0, has a large colour touch screen, slide-out Qwerty keypad, supports VoIP and also comes with a 2-megapixel camera and HSDPA, 3G, EDGE, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and USB connectivity.

So far they look and work like a variety of other Windows Mobile devices, and indeed there are some rather obvious similarities with certain HTC handsets. The difference, however, between Toshiba's new smart phones and anything else on the market is found on the reverse of the phones. When you turn either the G500 or G900 over, you'll see a fingerprint scanner that secures your phone against unwanted access -- a useful tool if you have confidential information on it.

Interestingly, though, the fingerprint scanner also doubles up as a touch-sensitive scroll interface that lets you scroll down emails, menus or Web sites simply by sliding your finger over it. While it may seem strange to have the scanner on the back, it's actually quite well placed because your fingers are on the back of the phone when you're holding it.

Information on UK availability is still a little sketchy but we'll let you know as soon as we find out.

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The fingerprint scanner/touchpad is on the back, which might seem strange at first, but feels in the right place once you pick up the G500 or G900 and start using it.

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The Toshiba Portege G900 runs on Windows Mobile 6.0, meaning you have access to Windows Live Messenger and Hotmail on the go. It also has a full Qwerty keypad, which is useful if you need to type out a long email. -AL

Update: We now have a full review of the Toshiba Portege G900 live in our Reviews channel.