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Motorola A840

 Motorola A840 Available now
25th March 2004

At first glance, the Motorola A840 looks a little like the Motorola V600, a stylish enough looking clamshell phone with a digital camera, so surely this is just another clamshell? But then, confusingly this is a Motorola A-series device like all the 3G phones they've produced.. so is the A840 a 3G phone?

Well, the answer is no and no. The Motorola A840 is something we haven't seen before in a mainstream production phone - it combines support for GSM and the CDMA standard - widely used in North America and elsewhere.

For travellers to the US and Canada, plus Southern and Eastern Asia, the inclusion of CDMA means that there will be widespread roaming access to mobile networks. This is useful particularly in the US where GSM access is patchy.

 Motorola A840 closed Technically the A840 is a quad-mode GSM 900/1800 and CDMA 800/1900 phone supporting GPRS and CDMA X1 data protocols. Being dual-band GSM isn't a handicap, because the countries that tend to require the frequencies supported by tri- and quad-band phones are also the ones with widespread CDMA coverage.

Motorola claim the switching is seamless, and since they've shown their competence with creating 3G and quad-band GSM handsets, then we thing the A840 looks extremely promising.

However, the Motorola A840 is no one-trick pony. It also comes with a 1.2 megapixel camera with a short-range flash and digital zoom, a respectable 176x220 pixel main display, Bluetooth, removable Tri-Flash memory, MP3 and video playback, advanced voice dialling, enhanced PIM (personal information management) support plus a whole range of other goodies that you expect with a high-end phone.

Pricing is not available at present - but we suspect that the A840 is going to be fairly expensive, making a market pitch to businesses and worldwide travellers. We estimate that it will be around 600/400/$700 at launch if bought without a contract.

Our verdict - there's a sizable niche market for this kind of product. It won't be Motorola's biggest seller, but it should sell well to those people who need this kind of functionality. We're impressed by this combination of features and think that Motorola deserve a big thumbs up for being so clever.

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Motorola A840 at a glance

Available:

Second half of 2004

Network:

Dual mode GSM/CDMA

Data:

GPRS/CDMA 1X

Screen:

176x220 pixels, 65k colours
plus secondary external display

Camera:

1.2 megapixels

Size:

Clamshell
Size and weight TBA

Bluetooth:

Yes

Infra-red:

No

Polyphonic:

Yes

Java:

Yes

Battery life:

Not specified

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