Technology keeps callers well connected

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Forget the cell phone of yesterday… just take a look at what is available today.

Today’s phones will connect you directly to the Internet, at speeds faster than a regular dial-up computer. They let you send pictures, e-mail, make phone calls and play games. In addition, many of them do it in color.

Sprint’s PCS Vision features telephones by Samsung, which are available at many outlets, including the local Sprint store, as well as Radio Shack.

One of the neatest new features is the ability to snap a digital photo with a tiny camera, plug it into one of the picture-capable telephones, and send it on its way. Messaging is another use that is taking off. The latest array of telephones allows users to download screen savers, games, and even Hallmark greetings from the Net.

The games are at least as good as the color Nintendo Game Boys, and include action games, casino games and puzzles.

Being able to individualize your ringer is another trendy feature. You can take your pick of Disney songs, movie or television themes, and you can also download pop or rock songs. The ringers are often accompanied by screen savers, which now may feature logos, sports or even cartoons.

However, outside using the phones for actual telephone calls, the most exciting use is being able to be online virtually all the time. Anything you can receive on your laptop or desktop computer, you can get on your telephone.

Sprint also has its PCS Business Connection Personal Edition that looks similar to a handheld personal data assistant, complete with a small typewriter-style keypad.

Service plans run the gamut. A common plan sharing 4,000 minutes between two phones for about $90 per month for the first three months. After that, the plan is $99.99 monthly. It includes four megabytes of web space. Because you must pay for web storage space, costs vary. Use more space, pay more. Use less, pay less.

For more information, visit a Sprint store or retailer, or go the Sprint’s website at www.sprintpcs.com.