If you're still undecided about which smartphone to buy, a trip to China might benefit you as a manufacturer has combined the worlds of the netbook and the smartphone - with interesting results.
As revealed over on Technabob
, the BPhone is an interesting gadget which is equal parts tablet-style netbook and smartphone - and runs a variant of the Linux operating system.
Featuring a 5" 800x480 touchscreen - a massive size for a smartphone handset - at first the device appears to be nothing more than another bulky 'phone. That all changes, however, when you flip the screen around and reveal a QWERTY keyboard - turning the BPhone into a miniaturised netbook-cum-tablet.
With an ARM architecture Marvell PXA310 processor clocked at 624MHz, the Java-based user interface should run pretty well - and with Bluetooth, WiFi, and FM radio, and an in-built GPS module the rest of the specs aren't too shabby either. The handset is quad-band (850MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, and 1900MHz) so in theory it's good to go on any GSM network world-wide - and is supplied unlocked and ready to accept the SIM card of your choosing.
The compact form factor - although not quite
as miniaturised as the recently-released NanoNote
- does come at a cost, of course: the keyboard appears cramped, and while it'll be fine for short e-mails or SMS use it could well be a pain for prolonged work.
The BPhone is thus far a China-exclusive, although is available for import
at $569.99 (£383) plus delivery.
Do you think that this sort of hybrid device is the future of the smartphone, or are you struggling to see the point in a device which is too bulky to be a comfortable 'phone and too cramped to be a usable netbook? Share your thoughts over in the forums