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How Small Can a Cell Phone Get?

Techstination feature for Friday, October 17, 2003

How small can a cell phone get? Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Lots of consumer love tiny cell phones... but the smaller they get... the more difficult they often are to use. Your eyes and your fingers can tolerate only so much miniaturization. Siemens has come up with a clever way to shrink a phone down with the SL56. It weights less than three ounces... is less than 2 inches wide and is just over three inches high. The trick is having a keypad hidden behind a slide up front. Bernt Klein is Siemens' general manager for mobile phones in North America... .

"It's a new design concept. It's not a clamshell or a candy bar phone, it's a slider phone. That means you have a very small dimension phone. Very lightweight and you have the full functionality of a so called candy bar phone. The phone, in a closed fashion, is extremely small. But you have the possibility in just receiving calls and accessing the menu and do all sorts of things even without opening the keypad."

The phone runs on GSM networks... and can serve as a mini-PDA as well. On the downside... it does not include wireless Bluetooth connectivity... and that keyboard can be tough for larger fingers. Klein says the device is designed for the fashion conscious... and no one phone style seems to satisfy everyone...

"You know, it's like the watch industry."

The SL56 sells for about 250 dollars. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.