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Q: The new camera phones are really hot. Do you think it’s wise to invest in one? Is it really practical for business use?
L. Walker, Houston

A: Although I’m generally wary of every new, cool gadget to hit the market (there are so many these days), I have to admit the new camera phones have piqued my interest. The T68i from Sony Ericsson (, for example, is a nifty gadget that features an optional camera attachment that lets you take and send images, and add photos to phone numbers in your contact list. And the Nokia 3650 ( features a built-in digital VGA camera and video recorder that lets you capture video-only clips.

These are cool features, but are they really practical for business? While I think pictures may be fine for the consumer crowd, I’m more impressed with the phone’s other features. The T68i, for example, is a Bluetooth-enabled, GPRS device that provides wireless connection. With an MMS account, you can send and receive multimedia messages and e-mail, features I find more practical than being able to send images of my mug to coworkers and friends. The Nokia 3650 tri-brand cell phone is another cool gadget, featuring not just a built-in camera but also support for Bluetooth as well as MMS capabilities–in addition to the usual cell phone fare of e-mail, mobile Internet, and infrared connectivity.

Still, I’m sure that as technology progresses (and as image quality improves) we will develop practical uses for those cool cameras.

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