How much work can you do on an iPhone?

The laptop-free promise of today’s next-gen mobile devices is put to the test. Can the iPhone 3G deliver?

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The iPhone’s Web browser is almost as capable as a desktop browser, and it does a great job of working in its confined screen real estate without stripping out the visual and functional richness of the Web. Once the Flash and Java issues are resolved, the iPhone browser will be on par with a desktop browser. Location services are likewise well implemented and easy to use, and the number of applications that take advantage of this capability in imaginative, handy ways is impressive.

Give your laptop a rest
The iPhone comes very close to being a laptop replacement for many basic business and field-service uses. Its file-handling limitations and lack of support for enterprise mail servers other than Exchange are the biggest reasons it can’t really replace a laptop. Some silly flaws like the calendar integration issues also get in the way.

You can’t do intensive work on it, such as writing proposals, creating budgets, managing production schedules, creating graphics, or developing apps, of course. But the iPhone can handle a lot of routine business tasks that let you put down your laptop for several hours at a stretch. It’s become part of my daily toolkit, one I enjoy using.

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