The Nokia 6131 features NFC technology for making mobile payments with your handset. By touching the phone to a special reader you can pay for everything from a soda in a vending machine to movie tickets. The technology is common in Japan and Europe but trials are underway in the United States.
Caption:CNET Reviews staff
/ Photo: Nokia
Although full HTML browsers are common in many smart phones, they're also beginning to appear in more consumer-oriented handsets as well. The new Motorola Razr2 V9 offers a full Web-surfing experience instead of a limited WAP browser.
Verizon Wireless' VZ Navigator GPS application offers turn-by-turn directions, points of interest, and local maps. It's offered on a variety of Verizon handsets including the LG enV. Sprint offers a competing application, and we should continue to see more GPS services in cell phones.
Disney Mobile caters to the family market by offering cell phones for both kids and adults. Though the handsets offer a full range of features, parents can restrict how they're used. Parents can also track their child's location via a GPS online mapping service.
Tivo Mobile allows you to schedule recordings on your Tivo DVRs. It's now available on three Verizon Wireless phones, including the LG VX8300. In the future, you should be able to use your phone to watch programming saved to your DVR.
The Samsung SCH-U620 is one of two cell phones compatible with Verizon's V Cast Mobile TV service. Through a partnership with MediaFlo, Verizon delivers TV broadcasts directly to the handsets, with picture quality that is far better than 3G streaming video. Look for TV to come to more phones and carriers.
The iPhone will be one of the first phones to flip the display's orientation automatically when you tilt the phone on its side. Though the LG VX9400 can't do exactly that, its display orientation shifts from portrait to landscape mode instantly when you rotate the screen up. The VX9400 is Verizon's other V Cast Mobile TV phone.
Alltel's Celltop application is a good first step toward a better cell phone user-interface. Celltop puts interactive, changeable windows or "cells" on your phone's display that provide shortcuts to a variety of features, including your call log and message in-box.
At present, only a limited number of cell phones support Wi-Fi calling, but carriers are beginning to take the concept seriously. T-Mobile is prepping for the nationwide launch of a Wi-Fi service called HotSpot at Home that would let customers use the technology to make voice calls with handsets like the Samsung SGH-T709.
Though 10-megapixel camera phones are available in Korea, they're still pretty rare in other parts of the world. However, 5-megapixel camera phones like the Nokia N95 are becoming more common. They offer great image quality and just about all the features you'd find on a standalone camera.
We may not have Jetsons-style video calling just yet, but Cingular/AT&T is planning to launch its Video Share application this summer. It will allow you to stream live video to other supported phones.
Caption:CNET Reviews staff
/ Photo: LG
Camera phones with two separate shooters are still few in number, but the Motorola Razr V3x is an exception. The 2-megapixel camera on the front face is great for photos, while the VGA camera inside is used for video calling.