The Apple iPhone will not be released in Australia for at least another 14 months Apple executives in London have admitted, and when it does it will not be a 3G phone as was first tipped unless battery life for talk time is improved. Speaking at the London launch of the iPhone on the 02 Network, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs slammed 3G phones for having limited battery life.

In Australia where Telstra has the world’s fastest 3G network, the move could work against Apple as several vendors are tipped to launch 3G touchscreen phones similar to the iPhone that will be cheaper to purchase and cost less to run. Among them are Samsung with their F700 handset which will have a 5 megapixel camera with autofocus, HSDPA  support, a 3.2-inch color display with the unusual resolution of 440×220 pixels, MP3 music player and a full sliding hardware QWERTY keyboard. But it is not compatible with the Wi-Fi  wireless Internet network unlike the iPhone.

Other phones offering touchscreen include the HTC Touch. HTC, which partnered with Microsoft to launch the first smartphone running Windows Mobile back in 2002, has changed tactics with its latest offering ‘Touch’. The Touch is designed with an emphasis on sleek looks, ease-of-use and most significantly, touch-based, rather than push-button control. Weighing just over 100g, the phone sports a 2.8-inch touchscreen, which with the flick of a finger will slide or rotate through the key functions, namely contacts, multimedia, and applications such as email.  When the phone was first launched a few months back, HTC CEO said he had not yet looked at Apple’s iPhone to see how the two compared but said that the Touch is more “fine tuned to the mobile operator and overall is a huge improvement on the previous Windows Mobile experience.”
HTC’s John Wang added at the time, “We are happy Apple agrees with the direction we are taking towards touch-screen operation.”

Then, there’s also the new LG Prada Phone. Italian fashion house Prada has teamed up with LG to unveil the Prada Phone (KE850) – a touch screen mobile phone which eliminates the conventional keypad altogether.
The two companies say they have worked closely together on every aspect of the product – from handset development, attention to detail, to design and technological innovation.
The company claims that its Prada Phone introduces the world’s first advanced touch interface making the overall usage experience a highly tactile one. An extra wide LCD screen maximises visual impact, says LG, allowing the user to benefit from several key features of the phone, including the 2 megapixel camera featuring Schneider-Kreuznach lens, video player and document viewer capacity.
Slamming Apple’s move not to support the 3G network Vodafone, whose chief executive Arun Sarin, has said that the first version of the iPhone will not run on 3G mobile networks, thus offering only the slower web browsing speeds of 2.5G unless customers are in a wi-fi hotspot. Mr Jobs, however, said Apple had decided against incorporating 3G for now because it drained battery life. “The 3G chipsets work well apart from power. They’re real power hogs. Most phones now have battery lives of two to three hours,” he added.

“Our phone has eight hours of talktime life. That’s really important when you start to use the internet and want to use the phone to listen to music. We’ve got to see the battery lives for 3G get back up into the five-plus hour range. Hopefully we’ll see that late next year.”

Ben Wood, director of research at CCS Insight said: ”Jobs knows people are going to buy iPhone whether it’s got 3G or not, it’s a lifestyle device and a fashion item.

“If you put 3G into it, it could cost $20 to $40 extra for Apple to make each one just to placate network operators who have invested billions in networks. Doing it this way also allows Jobs to stand up in a year’s time and say ‘now the time is right for the 3G iPhone’.”

Apple is expected to award a German iPhone distribution deal to Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile and a French deal to France Telecom’s Orange later this week.

Asked to respond to talk that he had angered European mobile networks by playing them off against each other before picking partners Mr Jobs said: “It’s kind of like getting married. We dated a few people but didn’t get married to them. I guess there are a few upset girlfriends out there.” Apple Inc. will sell the iPhone in the U.K. with mobile-service provider O2 Plc, the first step by Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs to capture a share of the wireless-phone market outside the U.S.

The 8-gigabyte handset will go on sale in the U.K. on Nov. 9 for 269 pounds (A$630), including tax, Jobs said today at a news conference in London. O2 is owned by Madrid-based Telefonica SA, Europe’s second-largest telephone company.


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