Sprint's ( S) ambitious new Windows-powered PPC-6700 smartphone feels like a warm deck of cards. I mean that in a good way, of course. Who wouldn't want all that dense heat packing your pocket with an abundance of entertainment and utility? The 6700 plays your music, takes your pictures, checks your email, connects to the Net, runs Microsoft Word and makes calls. Not all that goes off without a hitch, mind you, but this is one seductive step closer to the all-in-one mobile gadget dream. Two words to ponder here: mobile Google ( GOOG). Before we jump into the beguiling features, let's step back for a moment and take in all the important superficial stuff first. Raise your hammy hand if you've had it with shiny silver plastic phones. I'll take fake wood or even ebony microsuede -- anything to get a break from yesterday's faux metal. Luckily, the brilliant touch screen lets you forget the phone's a fashion holdover. The 240 x 320 pixel, 65,000-color screen is indeed stunning. So why do I feel guilty wishing the liquid crystal display was bigger? In cell-phone real estate, the 2.8-inch screen is a luxury loft but in PDA terms, you're looking at a cramped studio apartment. The screen is notably smaller than its would-be rivals Research In Motion's ( RIMM) Blackberry and Palm's ( PALM) Treo. To compensate, however, the PPC-6700 smartphone -- manufactured by Taiwan's High Tech Computer -- has a full QWERTY keyboard that slides out from the bottom. Great idea. Thumb typing is an acquired talent that's a lot easier to acquire on a familiar keyboard. The 6700 has an ample keypad, but if I could make one change, I'd opt for gel buttons instead of the shallow dimples between the keys. My thumbs got lost a lot, requiring a lot more hunting than pecking.
Even though AT&T tried a last-minute bribe of promising 5,000 new U.S. jobs to help gain support for the deal, the Justice Department filed a complaint to fight the combination of the nation's No. 2 and No. 4 wireless carriers.