This year you weren’t anyone if you didn’t announce a new smart phone, the majority of which are now powered (or based upon) the Android operating system. Being “Latest Gadgets” rather than “Latest Phones” meant that we only focused on the phones that caught our eye, rather than trying to provide a complete list of all the phones launched at this year’s show. So, without further ado, here are the ones that made us sit up and take notice (and not always for the right reason!).
Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc Smartphone
First up is the ‘visually brilliant’ Xperia arc. This is the firm’s first phone to feature a mobile version of the Bravia engine and comes with the latest version of Android. The phone comes complete with a HDMI output to view your videos and photos on your TV as well as ‘Sony Exmor R’ for mobile which helps with low-light photography. Being in a brightly lit exhibition hall didn’t give us much opportunity to test this particular feature, but we did have a quick play with the rest of the phone. Unfortunately our first impression wasn’t overly positive, we found the interface to be rather slow and the design of the phone (as seen in our candid snapshots above – click to enlarge) wasn’t anything to write home about.
The ‘Nexus S’ by Samsung/Google
Next up is the latest phone from Google, featuring Android 2.3, full integration (as you’d expect) with Google Mobiles Services and a Super AMOLED display. The phone’s design was perfectly acceptable and comfortable to hold. The feedback vibration when using the screen was reassuring rather than annoying. In terms of usability and speed – we initially found the phone to be extremely laggy and attempting to view a sample video resulted in a black screen. However, all of this was rectified by a Samsung employee who performed the classic ‘turn it off and on again’ routine. Having done this, we found the Nexus to be much quicker and more responsive than the ‘arc’. The Nexus S will also come with support for Flash 10.1 and HTML 5 to enable ‘full use’ of web sites.
Motorola, ever so modestly, introduced their new Atrix phone as the “World’s most powerful smartphone”. The Atrix comes with a dual core processor which promises faster, smoother graphics and web browsing. It also comes with the World’s first qHD display and a web browser that supports Flash – something which, unsurprisingly, all manufacturers are shouting from the roof tops in order to try and get one over on Steve Jobs and Co.
The unusual and somewhat intriguing (in our opinion at least!) part of the Atrix offering is what the firm calls a ‘revolutionary webtop application’. This is basically a latop/docking station for your Atrix which gives you a bigger screen and full-size QWERTY keyboard. The idea is that you have one of these “I can’t believe it’s not a laptop” devices at home and work and then carry all your files on your phone. Unfortunately the design of the laptop appeared to be very basic and it had a distinctly plasticky feel to it. Motorola aren’t known for their laptops (as far as we know!) and we’re not sure that venturing in to this field is the way to go. However, stranger things have happened – so we’re prepared to eat our hat if this turns out to be the future of mobile computing!
‘Revolution’ by LG
Like most firms, LG announced a whole range of new smart phones at this year’s CES, but again we’ve just focused on the one that caught our eye. In this case it was the ‘Revolution’ which will initially be available on the Verizon network in the US. However we imagine that we’ll see it at some point in the future in the UK but perhaps under a different guise or product name.
The main headline offering from the Revolution is its support for full HD streaming, playback and recording. This means you can wirelessly stream content from your phone to any compatible TV – and we were told this doesn’t just include LG sets. In addition to HD support, the Revolution comes with all the features you’ve come to expect, such as dual cameras for video calling, a 5M AF camera with LED flash, WiFi, Bluetooth, etc. A nice additional touch is that the Revolution comes with a wireless charger which we didn’t see in action but imagine will become more common place in the year to come.