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New Nokia Phones Bring Voice, Data Together

Sporting a new chipset allowing simultaneous voice and data transmissions, Nokia officials announced Friday a new digital wireless phone for European and Asian countries.

Unfortunately for U.S. customers, taking full advantage of the phone is still wishful thinking, as wireless carriers are still years behind the rest of the world in 3G wireless phone technologies.

The Nokia 6650 is a first-of-a-kind phone combining global system for mobile communications (GSM) and the wideband code division multiple access (WCDMA) protocol on one chipset. This duo makes it possible for users to talk on the phone while accessing the Internet or sending a file.

Also included on the phone is a camera that can capture up to 20 seconds of video (with audio); that, tied into WCDMA, gives users the chance to talk on the phone with a friend, take a picture of an event happening in the caller's view, send the photo immediately to the receiver and talk about the picture in real time.

Software support includes a program that allows users to synchronize data between the phone and a PC, similar to that used by PDAs. The phone also comes with Bluetooth support, which will let it "talk" to other Bluetooth devices, regardless of the name brand.

"The launch of the Nokia 6650 is solid proof of our capability to build highly sophisticated, yet user-friendly phones for more complex and demanding operating environments using new radio standards, like WCDMA," said Anssi Vanjoki, a Nokia executive vice president in a statement Friday.

While the first phones begin shipping in the next couple months, carriers in the U.S. are still working on a way to get 3G technology out nationwide.

The only two wireless carriers of note who provide a GSM-technology service are AT&T Wireless and Cingular, though their networks are still based on 2.5G technology.

Verizone Wireless and Sprint both used CDMA2000, a standard popular in the U.S. but relatively unused in Europe and Asia.