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  • New GSM Cellular Mobile Phone

What does it mean for a phone to be "unlocked?" Put simply: It means you can use it on any carrier, as long as they support the type of wireless network as the phone. (Typically this means the GSM network, supported by Cingular/AT&T and T-Mobile in the U.S.) You'll also need a SIM card, which you can remove from your regular cell phone and put in the unlocked model. This is a very simple procedure, though you'll almost always need to remove the battery to get to the SIM card. Here are my picks for the best GSM phones that include a camera. (Note: the links may not always go to unlocked versions of the phone, but all are available in unlocked versions.)

Some cell phones are designed to use a Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card, or microchip that stores subscriber data. The SIM card is issued by a carrier and provides cell service by activating any phone into which it is inserted. A locked phone, however, will only recognize a SIM card from a particular carrier. If the cell phone is unlocked, it will recognize a SIM card from any carrier. The "lock" is a software setting that keeps the cell phone "loyal" to one carrier.

In areas like the United States where carriers offer free or deeply discounted phones with cell plans, the phones are commonly locked so that they will not work with other carriers. Carriers claim this is necessary to subsidize the cost of the phones. After a period of time, a carrier might agree to unlock the phone upon request, perhaps charging a fee. However, due to proprietary settings sometimes installed in locked handsets, the phones don't always function correctly with other carriers, even once unlocked.

From the viewpoint of the consumer, the practice of carriers locking phones and using proprietary settings defeats many of the benefits of SIM handsets. Complaints led to a class action suit filed in California in June 2004 by American watchdog group Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR). Ideally phones should be left unlocked, or at least unlocked after the initial contract expires.

One way to get an unlocked phone without proprietary settings is to buy it new from a third party vendor in its original, unlocked state. The downside is that the price is commonly close to full retail. Some consumers might find it tough to dish out big bucks for a phone that they can get for free with a plan. The advantage is that the third party unlocked phone should work equally well with any carrier that uses SIM cards.

Unlocked cell phones are in such demand that third party services will unlock your cell phone for a fee. This doesn't guarantee the phone will always work correctly, as proprietary settings might remain. There are also hacking instructions online to unlock many models of phones, but a phone that is unlocked improperly can be rendered inoperable.

Carriers operating on the GSM network use SIM cards. In the United Sates, this includes Cingular Wireless, now one with AT&T Wireless, and T-Mobile. Carriers that use the competing CDMA network do not yet use card-enabled phones. These carriers include Sprint PCS, Verizon and Virgin Mobile. The CDMA equivalent of the SIM card —- the R-UIM —- will be used by these carriers in the future. R-UIM cards are already in use in some parts of Asia.


New GSM Cellular
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Whether for making mobile phone calls worldwide, taking photos and videos, listening to music or sending multimedia messages – the SL75 is extremely versatile. The SL75 has a 1.3 megapixel digital camera with LED photolight and 5x digital zoom, a video player, MP3, MMS, email, as well as Bluetooth and USB on board. The 52 MB internal memory provides sufficient space for storing your multimedia treasures safely. Of course, the built-in organizer with personal number storage as well as a fashionable 3D graphic is a must. Photos and films are shown to vibrant advantage on the large, colorful display. Moreover, the SL75 is a treat for the ears too. A wide variety of ringtones in MP3 and various AAC formats ensure the sound is right. In addition, entertaining video ringtones bring tempos and rythms of the music alive. It is even possible to listen to music while passing the time playing mobile phone games or writing a text message to friends.

Network GSM 900 / GSM 1800 / GSM 1900

- Dimensions 92 x 48 x 23 mm, 78 cc
- Weight 99 g
- Type TFT, 256K colors
- Size 132 x 176 pixels
- Type Polyphonic, MP3, AAC
- Customization Download
- Vibration Yes
- Memory Phonebook Yes
- Call records 10 dialed, 10 received, 10 missed calls
Card slot No
- 52 MB shared memory

- GPRS Class 10 (4+1/3+2 slots)
- Data speed 384 Kbps (EDGE)
- Messaging SMS, MMS, EMail, Instant Messaging
- Clock Yes
- Alarm Yes
- Infrared port No
- Games Yes + downloadable

- Pure Silver
- Polar White

Camera 1.3 MP, 1280x960 pixels, video, flash
- Bluetooth
- Java MIDP 2.0
- MP3/AAC/MPEG4 player
- WAP 2.0
- T9
- Calculator
- Organiser
- USB port

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