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By Peter Boston

Behind all the hoopla about the long anticipated release of the Apple iPhone, and the reports of people standing in line all night just to spend $600 to buy one, there are still a whole lot of other (better) smartphone choices out there.

The AT&T Cingular 8525 smartphone is one of them. For my money the 8525 is the hands-down business productivity handset champion. The 8525 has some bulk and is a little clunky to carry around. If your first consideration is a slim, easy-to-carry handset go with the Motoral RAZR V3xx, and KRZR K3. The latter are not productivity tools but they do share something in common with the AT&T 8525 - HSPDA.

HSDPA is the acronym for High-Speed Downlink Packet Access. Without getting geeky, HSPDA is 3.5G (G is for generation) protocol for mobile telephone data transmission. This new protocol provides download speeds on your mobile phone handset equivalent to the speed of the DSL line in your home. That means that with a HSPDA handset, like the 8525 or the RAZR V3xx, that you can surf the internet and download email attachments as fast as you can at home on your desktop computer. For many people that also means that smooth video and streaming music will be doable on your mobile handset. AT&T is offering an array of new video and music services to take advantage of HSDPA broadband speeds. The 8525's 400Mhz processor keeps the entertainment moving.

HSDPA is available in 134 markets with populations of 100,000 or more. AT&T is the country's largest cell phone service provider so when they say that they plan on expanding their broadband network we can believe them. Sprint and Verizon currently provide CDMA (an alternative broadband protocol) in more markets than AT&T. CDMA is not avialble overseas, however. GSM and HSDPA are.

Which brings us back to the 8525 smartphone. The 8525 comes equipped with WiFi which can connect to any of the thousands of WiFi hotspots across the country. If the WiFi connection drops out the 8525 will immediately connect with AT&T's EDGE data network, which is available everywhere in the US you can get GSM service. You can use your 8525 as a broadband modem that connects to PC and Mac laptops. Bluetooth 2.0 is a given. The point is that for connectivity the 8525 has you covered every which way. The iPhone, by the way, is not broadband (HSDPA) capable. Not yet anyway.

The 8525 has lots of other productivity features. The slide out keyboard is a real tactile keyboard. It lights up in the dark, which is very useful. You probably will not write a novel on your handset, but you could, or maybe you will just want to edit Word documents, and you can do that too.

The 8525 is a little more expensive than other AT&T smartphones, but AT&T runs promotions and sometimes offers refurbished 8525 handsets, which make this smartphone very attractive. Broadband connectivity, big screen, real keyboard, fast processor, the entire Pocket PC software library. There's more but you can see why the 8525 is my productivity champion.

phonepdagps.com offers cell phone, pda, and gps reviews, product descriptions, and online shopping for all major brands of handset hardware and mobile software.

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