TechGear: Three new phones rise to challenge Apple

The iPhone competitors just keep on coming

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AT&T and Verizon each launched a new phone this week that either emulates key functionality of Apple's popular iPhone or bests it with functionality not found in the iPhone. And rumors of a new BlackBerry could challenge the iPhone where it really counts.

AT&T, the same company that exclusively carries the iPhone, will start offering the Windows Mobile HTC Tilt phone tomorrow. The phone is a slider, meaning that part of it slides back to reveal a horizontal keyboard. But then the screen "tilts" up at an angle like a laptop.

The triband HSDPA phone has a 2.8-in., 320 by 240 touch screen, GPS, 3-megapixel camera with autofocus and 802.11b/g Wi-Fi -- and it connects to the Internet at 3G speeds.

It also features BlackBerry Connect, which lets people who work for companies with BlackBerry servers get push e-mail, contact, calendar, to-do and memo items.

Verizon's new phone is less feature-packed, but more iPhone-like. Its large screen and on-screen buttons are similar in concept to the iPhone's. But the LG Voyager, exclusive to Verizon, also sports a hidden full physical keyboard, exposed via a clamshell hinge.

The Voyager offers 3G data speeds, 2-megapixel camera, HTML Web browser and Verizon Wireless' V Cast mobile TV, video and music service.

The Voyager ships sometime this month. Pricing hasn't been announced.

Meanwhile, a blurry photo emerged today to accompany rumors of an iPhone-like BlackBerry phone called the BlackBerry 9000. Rumors say the phone's front will be all-screen and the buttons will be virtual.

It remains to be seen if any of these phones, or others, can put a dent in the iPhone's popularity or growing market share. But competition is certainly good for consumer choice.

Here comes dial-a-radio

A "radio on demand" service called CelleCast lets you dial a phone number -- (360) 335-6000 -- from any phone and listen to radio stations on your phone. Like TiVo, you can pause, rewind and fast-forward your way through the programming. You choose the stations and programs in advance, then just pick from the list from your phone.

Gateway unveils giant, 30-in. monitor

You can never be too rich, too thin or have too big a monitor. Gateway just unveiled its XHD3000, a 30-in. widescreen LCD monitor that doubles as a midsize big-screen TV. Best of all, the $1,699 display offers 2,560 by 1,600 resolution using something called Hollywood Quality Video. Trust me. It's good. The monitor supports all major video input technologies and features eight built-in speakers.

My Picks: Microsoft unveils new 'social' Zunes

Competing with Apple's iPods isn't fun, but somebody's got to do it. Microsoft hopes to win over customers with its wireless social networking features and innovative new touch pad. Will the strategy work? And read about a new device that helps you stop snoring -- a computer-connected pillow!

Mike Elgan writes about technology and global tech culture. Contact Mike at or his blog, The Raw Feed.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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