Pundits have for some time suggested a least common denominator approach to the convergence of mobile phones, PDAs and increasingly feature-laden devices. “If you can talk into it,” they say, “it’s a phone.”

A new generation of products, from Handspring’s Treo to Palm’s i705, to Nokia’s 5510, are at once exploring new niches, and entirely new modes of operation — always-on email access, digital music players, hand-held gaming — at the same time boasting increased screen resolution and color displays.

Draw a line between these new capabilities and the launch of long-promised 3G networks [Verizon is now online, and Sprint pledges to be only months away] and you’ll find yourself at the intersection of something that is decidedly new and promising. No least common denominator here.

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