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Communication firms offer lots of options

Here's how some gadgets might perform in a crisis

Gadget: Nextel i90c Special Edition

Price: $249.99

Description: Phone comes pre-programmed with emergency software programs like a first-aid guide. Nextel's "DirectConnect" feature lets you use the phone like a walkie talkie with other Nextel customers.

Comment: If cell phone networks jam, the two-way radio feature could be useful because it bypasses the public phone system.

Gadget: BlackBerry 6710

Price: $400-$500

Description: Combines a cell phone, e-mail and organizer into a single gadget. The device works on T-Mobile and AT&T Wireless networks. Can be used in Europe.

Comment: Like most of RIM's new BlackBerry phone models, this one works on the same networks as cell phones. That means gadgets might jam if networks overload.

Gadget: T-Mobile Motorola C332

Price: $99.99

Description: Phones can send AOL Instant Messenger, which means users can interface with computer users.

Comment: T-Mobile offers shared "FamilyTime" with up to five phones on the same network.

Gadget: Nokia 1260

Price: $99.99

Description: A basic phone model that can make calls and send text messages. Available through AT&T Wireless

Comment: You don't need a pricey phone: virtually all phones made since the late '90s can send text messages. These might go through even when voice calls don't.

Gadget: RIM BlackBerry 950

Price: $249

Description: A classic handheld device with e-mail, calendar and wireless Internet. Operates on an older network, called Mobitex, that performed well on Sept. 11.

Comment: While the latest BlackBerry designs work on regular cell phone networks, some models, like this one, still use a data-only network. Other reliable models include the 850, 857 and 957 models.

Gadget: Good Technology G100

Price: $399

Description: A BlackBerry competitor that also works on the highly reliable Mobitex network.

Comment: The Mobitex network is available only in the United States. The District of Columbia government officials use the Gay.

The Wall Street Journal