As geeks, (well, true geeks) all technology fascinates us. We’re brand-loyal to an extent, but just about anything piques our interest no matter who makes it. A robot spider? Way cool. Nanomachines? Hideo explains the concept very well in MGS4, and makes us aware of the amazing things technology can do for us. Toilets that report to our doctors concerning our health? Super, now he knows whenever we’re having a dump and suffering from indigestion at the same time.

But the tech that’s most interesting for geeks like myself these days is the gap between netbooks and cellphones that has created this amazing market for touch tablets and smartphones that cost more than a (cheap) second-hand car. In this market, Apple shines as the superior choice when it comes to an interface and OS that works very well for touch screens. Windows Mobile isn’t suited for this environment despite all the recent updates to it (Mobile 7 may be Microsoft’s savior). Its not as aged as Symbian S60 was (still is), but improvements are still necessary for it to work properly. In spite of this some companies are releasing it on smartphones, and its going up against the giants of the industry: Apple, Symbian and the heavy-hitting newcomer, Google’s Android.

Apple iPhone 4

Is it a tablet? No, its the latest iteration of Apple’s iPhone range. The iPhone 4 packs so much functionality that you might never need a tablet. A snappy 1Ghz CPU, what looks to be 512MB RAM, the best touch-designed OS in the industry, and access to the most profitable online app and music store in computing history make this a very tempting option. Yes, you can edit documents and type out a book, if you’re patient. Yes, it does fit into your pocket without looking like you’ve got a gun in it. Its manly, its got a aluminum bevel, and costs more money than sense. Some might say that not one other phone has bridged the netbook and cellphone market so effectively.

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Dell Streak

Until the Streak came along, that is. This might be the real deal, a phone that doubles, quite comfortably, as a proper mobile internet tablet. Nokia’s N900 might be the only thing currently able to lay claim to that title, but it has design flaws that make the device useless to anyone with larger than average hands. The keyboard is so small that you have to have two nibbly thumbs like Megan Fox’s one to type fast without making mistakes and I don’t know about you readers, but I think its just pointless. The Streak, with its 5″ LCD, Android 2.1 OS, and LED backlighting might make you want to part with your money (or testes, whichever you prefer) to own one.

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A sizeable shoe, the Streak, Blackberry's 9650, Sony Ericsson Xperia, and a Nokia N-series. Big mother, innnit?

Please beware, though, of how fast your dork rating will shoot up the minute you take out a small ringing book with moving pictures and start talking to it.

Nokia N9

nokia-n9Its still a concept, but that’s why I’m excited for this average-looking slider that almost immediately turns into a mini laptop. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the pictures. Now, go on, draw a 113.5 x 59.1mm rectangle. If you’ve actually done it, well done, because now you have an idea of how big and possibly comfortable this thing is, bearing in mind it still extends to reveal a almost full keyboard. It won’t sport the 680Mhz CPU of the Nokia N8, or the brand spanking new Symbian ^3 OS, but quite possibly could share the camera and build quality of the N8. The MeeGo OS, being Linux-based, has the strength to take on Apple’s OS 4, and might even shoehorn Maemo out of the smartphone segment.

Any of these three phones stands the chance of being king of the hill, which currently is Nokia. Symbian is still a tough nut to crack, and many have failed trying to rival the legendary devices. These three phones, backed by giants in the industry, may have a fighting chance, but they’ve got their work cut out for them