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One for all

One ring to rule them all? Forget that: Go for one phone to rule us all instead. Hitachi has a solid contender in the device convergence realm.

Someday, there will be only one device. Forget the commuter bag bulging with a cell phone, MP3 player, laptop, digital camera, and PDA. In the not-too-distant future, it’s easy to imagine that all this capability will be crammed into a single device that will cause actual tears to flow when you realize you left it on the bus. Although the Hitachi SH-G1000 PCS phone isn’t weep worthy quite yet, it does manage to pack a surprising amount of features into one gadget.

Looking like a Palm on steroids, the SH-G1000 has a sizable screen with remarkable resolution. That’s quite a boon, since you’ll be spending so much time looking at it. After all, it allows you to leave the laptop at the office and transfer everything onto the handy device.

It’s loaded with standard Windows applications, including Outlook, MSN Messenger, and Media Player, and other software titles can be loaded from Sprint’s PCS software store. The built-in keyboard reduces graffiti fatigue andÑperhaps most shocking of all–you can actually type using it without hitting multiple keys and cursing the miniaturization of technology.

Beyond its office use, it has a digital camera that takes moderately good photos, a speakerphone that’s slightly tinny-sounding but workable, and a version of Internet Explorer. But wait, there’s more! In addition to all this, it’s also a phone. This function is actually one of the SH-G1000’s slight downsides. To anyone used to a small, trim cell phone, putting this against your ear is akin to trying to call Agent 99 on your shoe. It’s a small quibble, however, since the breadth of features more than make up for feeling clumsy, and using a headset solves the problem neatly. So enjoy toting a lighter bag, but be careful on the bus.

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