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Last Updated: Friday, 29 June 2007, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
Apple iPhone faces serious rivals
Rory Cellan-Jones
Technology correspondent, BBC News

Rory Cellan-Jones compares iPhone rivals with Tom Dunmore, Editor in Chief of Stuff Magazine.
It's been the subject of more hype and hullabaloo than any other mobile phone - but the iPhone won't be available in Britain until late 2007.

In the meantime the industry is torn between pushing rival phones and lobbying Apple for a share of the action when the iPhone does finally cross the Atlantic.

Charles Dunstone, chief executive of Europe's largest phone retailer Carphone Warehouse, has already played with the iPhone - and is anxious to reassure Apple that it would look great in his stores: "It's beautifully designed, it feels fantastic, it's wonderful to touch.
Apple iPhone

"It's not as advanced as some of the phones here - but what you do know is that it will work beautifully, it will be a total solution," he said.

Apple has not yet named the network which will be its European partner for the iPhone.

Vodafone is one obvious contender, but T-Mobile is thought to be pushing hard, and surely Orange would a good match.

Apple will strike a hard bargain, but Charles Dunstone says the networks in Europe will be eager to do a deal: "They know that people will leave other networks to join yours just because they are so desperate to use the phone."

But phone manufacturers aren't just sitting and waiting for the new arrival to storm their market. They claim they already have phones that are just as good looking as Apple's baby and even smarter.

HTC TOUCH

The new HTC Touch is probably the nearest equivalent.
HTC Touch

It is a small, good-looking touch-screen device where a couple of swipes of the thumb or finger take you through the menus.

But when I spent 24 hours with a handset, it was a frustrating experience.

Beyond the initial menus, you are back in the world of Windows Mobile - and that means tapping away with a stylus at tiny on-screen instructions.

Walking down a dimly-lit street trying to use Google Maps, I found it so slow I was soon reaching for an old-fashioned A-Z.

Worst of all, I struggled to make a phone-call.

LG PRADA

LG's Prada phone is, surprise, surprise, aimed squarely at the fashion end of the market.

It looks good, is pretty simple to use, but lacks many of the functions of a really smart phone.

When it was launched in February it was touted as an iPhone rival but its thunder is already being stolen by newer arrivals.

NOKIA N95

Nokia will be particularly keen to prove that it has more than the iPhone can offer - and this is its hottest model right now.

It has 3G and GPS - two things Apple's phone cannot offer. Its five megapixel camera also trumps the two megapixels in the iPhone, and it has buttons rather than a touch screen which many users may find easier.

But whatever the technical limitations of the iPhone, Apple's track record as the creator of products which inspire the devotion of customers cannot be discounted.

Charles Dunstone says the eyes of the industry are on the iPhone: "We're all going to watch with fascination what happens over the next 30 days in the US market."




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