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Next Generation Of Cell Phones Offer Bigger Selection Of Services

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Most people just talk on their cell phones, but the next generation of digital phones offers much more.

Bluetooth gives phone users more freedom at home, in the office or car.

"I can take my phone and toss it on my desk, place my Bluetooth call in my ear and make voice commands to answer the phone, call phone numbers or if someone calls, just say, 'Answer', and the phone will answer," said Keith Shank, of Ericsson.

Using Bluetooth-equipped phones and PDAs allows users to surf the Web screen wirelessly using the larger PDA screen. Users will also be able to look at weather radar on their phones when storms approach.

"The Nexrad radar that it shows is actually in color, so you can see the intensity of the storms," Shank said.

Digital phones are also becoming cameras.

"I can take the phone and take a picture with it and send it by e-mail to any location you want," Shank said.

With more power in the wireless networks, experts claim video is on the way.

"The bandwidth will come with growth of our networks. Can we do streaming video today? No, we cannot, but again, that's where our future is headed," said Mike Holland, of AT&T Wireless.

The new technology could be a real help to people in trouble.

"Folks on the EMS team can give advanced care based on streaming video that's coming from the scene of an accident," Holland said.

Cell phone companies offer similar advanced services. Some charge for extra minutes while others charge for the amount of information received. Advanced service packages cost from $5 to more than $20 dollars a month in addition to the contract fee.


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