Pharos Science & Applications, Inc., better known for its GPS devices and navigation services, recently made a splash in the cell phone market with the introduction of a sleek Windows Mobile phone that offers a key advantage for business users: It can connect to the 3G high-speed data networks of both AT&T Wireless and T-Mobile.
For heavy Web and e-mail users who often travel overseas, a phone’s ability to connect with two major types of data networks can be an asset. The multiband GSM phone also has hybrid navigation software that can provide turn-by-turn driving directions without being connected to the cell phone network—a nice feature in areas where cell phone connectivity is weak.
Unlike most cell phones, the Traveler 137 is sold unlocked and without a contract, thus allowing you to use it with any compatible GSM phone provider. The lack of a link to a carrier to provide a hardware subsidy leads to its stiff $600 price. However, a $250 rebate is available to new T-Mobile subscribers who sign up for a two-year contract through Pharos (www.pharosgps.com <http://www.pharosgps.com/> ).
The 1700/1900/2100MHz GSM phone comes with a 3.5-inch, 65,000-color touchscreen, Windows Mobile 6.1 (upgradeable to version 6.5), Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless networking, a 3-megapixel digital camera on the back for photos and videos and a 0.3-megapixel camera on the front for videoconferencing, a digital music and video player and an FM radio tuner.
The aGPS (assisted GPS) receiver uses data from both GPS satellites and cell phone towers to pinpoint your position on a map using the included Pharos Smart Navigator software.
The 4.9-ounce phone is about a half-inch thick and comes with preloaded links for news, weather and other information on the Web and has a microSD slot for removable memory cards.