• iPhone Frenzy Sweeps U.S.

    iPhone Frenzy Sweeps U.S.

    Apple’s new killer product, the iPhone, has hit the industry like a tornado. The U.S. went into iPhone frenzy last Friday, with images of eager customers queuing for their iPhone on the first day of sale carried in all the U.S. media. The iPhone essentially combines a cell phone with Apple’s successful MP3 player, and also has a touch screen. Some reporters hailed the phone in quasi-religious tones as "Designed by God" and "Jesus' Phone."

    Others pointed out that the phone has fatal weaknesses. The New York Times said the iPhone “does things no phone has ever done before [but] lacks features found even on the most basic phones.” One big problem is the battery. The iPhone, as well as the iPod, has a built-in battery, so to exchange it the phone must be sent to Apple: users cannot buy a supplementary battery. The battery wears out after 300 to 400 recharges, when users have to send the phone to company headquarters and wait at least a week to get it exchanged.

    Then there is the touch screen. Any typing is done on the screen rather than a keyboard, and users have to switch between screens to enter a comma or a period, which makes writing text messages rather cumbersome. Another problem is the price. The 4GB iPhone costs US$499 (about W470,000), and the 8GB version $599 (about W580,000).

    Already some customers are getting bored with the hype. What are their alternative options? According to Business 2.0 magazine, the best bet among 10 available options is LG Electronics' Prada Phone.

    The Prada Phone, released in February, also has a touch screen, and its strength is that it is designed for easy use of music and video player and camera. The second-ranked option was Nokia's N95, with its 2.6-inch screen, GPS function and 5-megapixel camera. Then came Motorola's Razr2 and Helio's Ocean. Samsung Electronics' t409, which only costs $50, ranked fifth. Sony Ericsson's W580 and Cisco's namesake iPhone, which generated some trademark problems, came next. The top 10 were rounded out by Taiwanese company HTC's Touch, which appeals by being smaller than a business card, Samsung Electronics' Wafer, and LG Electronics' Muziq.

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