In a marketplace dominated by big smart phone companies, it's rare to see a very small company try to go for it on its own. There are, however, a few brave souls who think they can take on the might of the multinationals, including a Swiss company called Zenum.
Over the past couple of months, Zenum has created an online buzz about a device codenamed the Zenum Opus Operis. Bloggers everywhere were drooling over the Opus's sexy case and Qwerty keypad, but few had managed to actually see it in real life.
We've been lucky enough to get a hands-on with it and from what we can see so far, it's not bad at all. The Zenum Opus, as it is now known, runs on Windows Mobile 6 Professional, features a 64mm (2.5-inch) touchscreen and a full Qwerty keypad.
At first sight it bears some similarities with Nokia's wedge-like smart phone, the E61, but there are some notable differences. For starters it runs on Windows Mobile 6, which means you have access to programs such as Windows Live and Messenger, among many other features.
On the back there's a 2-megapixel camera that can shoot still pictures and video and is protected by a silver cover. Around the edge of the handset there's an attractive silver border that differentiates it from many of the all-in-black handsets out there.
The Zenum also has a touchscreen, which means that rather than having to navigate through every section via fiddly buttons, you can just tap the screen when you need to. Other useful features include infrared, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity and an expandable miniSD slot.
The full Qwerty keypad is relatively easy to use, although the keys do feel a little squashed together and there's no scroll wheel or pearl-like trackball to navigate, instead you need to use the four-way navigation key or the touch screen, which may annoy some users.
Overall we're quite impressed with this offering from such a small company and our only niggle is the lack of quad-band GSM connectivity and 3G -- but this, we're assured by the people at Zenum, is coming in future models.
The Zenum will be available in September for about £481 from eXpansys. -Andrew Lim