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(ARA) – It’s a pretty safe bet that at least someone on your holiday shopping list wants an electronic gift. And don’t be surprised if they’re asking for a smartphone; 2007 has been the year of the smartphone, with many new innovative smartphone options coming to the market this year.

Sales of electronics will rise 7 percent to $48.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007, the Consumer Electronics Association predicts. Demand is definitely driving supply, and you may be dizzied by the smartphone options available.

Buying a smartphone can be overwhelming – there are a lot of different options, and each phone combines a lot of different features. So before you head out to your local big box electronics store, here are a few things that might make it a little bit easier on you:

Taking It to the Next Level

*Features like text messaging, photo capture and sharing have all been doable from simple cell phones for years. But smartphones take those functions up a notch by increasing the quality of the experience, and making these features easier to use. For example, typing out a text message on the full keyboard offered by many smartphones is significantly easier than tapping out a message on a 12-key phone.  

Staying in touch with your friends and family is obviously one of the main advantages to a smartphone. Going beyond text messaging, look for a smartphone that will also provide wireless access to your personal e-mail accounts, such as Yahoo!, Gmail or AOL. Some even include an instant messaging application that allows you to chat with your buddy list on the go, giving users a variety of different ways to stay in touch.

* Stay organized on the go. Look for a phone that offers a great calendar, address book, even a task list that syncs to your home or work computer. That way you can stay organized wherever you may be.

* Another great thing about smartphones is that the networks they run on are getting faster and faster. So now, smartphones allow you to browse the Web at broadband speeds to find directions, restaurant reviews, or movie times. And with the larger screen of a smartphone, the Web has never looked better. When looking for a smartphone, ask about network speeds and their impact on the browsing experience.


* The look of the phone should fit your personal style. Look for exciting new colors – such as Palm’s Centro which is available in ruby red – and a design that makes a statement about you when you use the phone.

You Don’t Have to Break the Bank

Until now, most smartphones have cost almost as much as your average American brings home in a single week’s paycheck. Prices upwards of $500 have kept a lot of consumers out of the market. Now, however, you can buy a smartphone for less than $100, a price comparable to what you might pay for a quality traditional mobile phone.

Palm, pioneer of easy-to-use mobile products, has just introduced a smartphone that costs just $99.99 after carrier and Palm rebates. Available in stylish red or black, “Centro is definitely not your boss’s smartphone,” says Stephanie Richardson, product marketing manager at Palm. “Today, people are using their smartphones not just for calls and e-mail but as a way to organize their social lives. With a variety of messaging options, a great Web browser, and other fun things like a camera and MP3 player, Centro is designed to better manage your social life.  

Centro is available in stores and online. To learn more, visit or

Courtesy of ARAcontent