Mobile World Congress: One Day, Sixteen New Phones

By  |  Monday, February 16, 2009 at 8:04 pm

cheatsheetPhones. More phones. Phones that look a lot like iPhones, except for the ones that don’t. Phones that may never show up in the good old US of A. Phones that are full of style, and ones that seem to be devoid of discernible personality. That, in short, was my Monday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where I spent the entire day bopping from press conference to press conference, learning about new handsets from most of the major manufacturers (as well as laptop titan Acer, which announced today that it’s getting into the phone biz).

I wrote about some of the day’s debutantes as I encountered them, but missed others. And while the show is teeming with journalists who are cranking out a surging sea of stories on all the announcements, I’m not sure if anyone’s trying to put as much as possible in one place.

So here’s a stab at a convenient, concise guide to nearly every new phone I encountered as of Monday evening (I left off a couple of far-off models which Acer mentioned only fleetingly and cryptically). Most of these phones have been announced only in GSM models, except for the two HTCs. Nobody revealed anything about American carriers today, although in some cases you might be able to make educated guesses.

The fact that a spec isn’t mentioned doesn’t indicate a phone doesn’t have it–in some cases, the manufacturers provided something less than full information, and I’m not trying to provide all the ones they did mention (all these phones have basic stuff like Bluetooth, and I stopped short of listing info like their dimensions and the media formats they support). If you know more about any of these models than I do, please speak up.

And one last note: Yes, I know that it’s increasingly tough to judge phones by their hardware specs. In the post-iPhone era, it’s the software that gives a handset much of its functionality and character. I didn’t get to touch most of these phones at all today, and certainly didn’t spend enough time with any of them to come to conclusions about the quality of their interfaces. But even today, specs and other basic facts mean something–and after the jump, I’ll give you plenty of ‘em to chew on…

Acer DX900

Acer DX900 SmartphoneVital info: 2.8-inch VGA screen; 3.2MP camera with autofocus and flash, plus frontside secondary camera for video calls; Wi-Fi; GPS; MicroSD slot.

Input: Touch, 5-way button.

OS: Windows Mobile 6.1.

Anything else? It can take two SIM cards at one time–say for personal calls and business ones.

The company says: “…dually perfect for your professional and personal life.”

Harry says: I’m not sure how many people need two SIMs, but at least it’s not the same ol’ same ol’.

Availability and price: Unspecified.

Read more at Engadget.

Acer F900

Acer F900 SmartphoneVital info: 3.8-inch WVGA screen; 3MP camera with autofocus; Wi-Fi; GPS; MicroSD slot, FM radio.

Input: Touch.

OS: Windows Mobile 6.1.

Anything else? Acer says it’s slim (12.85mm)

The company says: “…the perfect solution for stylish Internet connectivity anywhere.”

Harry says: If this phone has any truly distinguishing features, it’s hard to tell from the specs.

Availability and price: Unspecified.

Read more at Engadget.

Acer M900

Acer M900Vital info: 3.8-inch WVGA screen; 5MP camera with autofocus; Wi-Fi; GPS; MicroSD slot.

Input: Touch and slide-out wide QWERTY keyboard.

OS: Windows Mobile 6.1.

Anything else? Indeed. It has a fingerprint sensor and a flashlight.

The company says: “High-tech and reliable.”

Harry says: This one looks like it’s kin to the Glofiish phones made by E-ten, a company Acer acquired.

Availability and price: Unspecified.

Read more at Engadget.

Acer X960

mwc-acer960Vital info: 2.8-inch VGA screen; 3.2MP camera with flash, plus frontside camera for video calls; Wi-Fi; GPS; MicroSD slot.

Input: Touch, 5-way button.

OS: Windows Mobile 6.1.

Anything else? A “widget-based interface.”

The company says: “…an all-purpose tool for those who want multiple features without having to carry several devices.”

Harry says: What’s a widget-based interface?

Availability and price: Unspecified.

Read more at Engadget.

HTC Touch Diamond2

htctouchdiamondVital info: 3.2-inch 480-by-800 screen; 5MP camera with autofocus and frontside secondary camera for video calls; Wi-Fi; GPS; MicroSD slot; FM radio.

Input: Touch.

OS: Windows Mobile 6.1 with HTC’s TouchFLO.

Anything else? Software enhancements that organize all your communications with each of your contacts in one place. Oh, and it has HTC’s annoying USB headphone jack, unfortunately.

The company says: “…lets you focus on the people in your life.”

Harry says: HTC is one of multiple Windows Mobile licensees who was too impatient to wait for Windows Mobile 6.5 and has reworked the OS’s UI and functionality on its own.

Availability and price: Early Q2 2009 in Europe and Asia, and elsewhere later; price TBD.

Read more at Gizmodo.

HTC Touch Pro2

HTC Touch Pro2Vital info: 3.6″ 480-by-800 screen; 3.2MB camera with autofocus and frontside secondary camera for video calls; Wi-Fi; assisted GPS; MicroSD slot; FM radio.

Input: Touch and slide-out wide QWERTY keyboard.

OS: Windows Mobile 6.1 with HTC’s TouchFLO.

Anything else? “Straight Talk” speakerphone and features to make conference calls easier; also that HTC USB headphone jack.

The company says: “…radiates the level of professionalism to match your career ambitions.”

Harry says: Reminds me a bit of my AT&T/HTC Tilt, the phone I used immediately before switching to an iPhone.

Availability and price: Early summer across major markets; price TBD.

Read more at Gizmodo.

LG LG-GM730

LG LG-GM730 SmartphoneVital info: LG has announced little in the way of specs for this phone.

Input: Touch.

OS: Windows Mobile with Series 5 interface.

The company says: “…the most functional and easiest to use smartphone ever created.”

Harry says: If this is the most functional and easiest to use smartphone ever created, I’ll be impressed.

Availability: First half of 2009; price TBD.

Read more at Engadget.

LG Arena LG-KM900

LG Arena SmartphoneVital info: 3.0-inch 480-by-800 screen; 5MP camera with autofocus and DVD-resolution video capture; Wi-Fi; GPS; 8GB internal memory and MicroSD slot; 3.5mm headphone jack.

Input: Touch.

OS: LG with Series 5 interface.

The company says: “…an exhilarating audio and video experience.”

Harry says: Kinda reminds me of Samsung’s Omnia HD; extremely iPhone-like interface, despite the edition of not-especially-cool 3D aspects.

Availability: Europe in March, globally later; about $600.

Read more at Network World.

Nokia E55

Nokia E55 SmartphoneVital info: 2.4″ 320-by-240 screen; 3.2MP camera with flash; Wi-Fi; assisted GPS; bundled with 2GB MicroSD card; 3.5mm headphone jack.

Input: Phone keypad with predictive input.

OS: Symbian S60.

Anything else? Nokia claims up to 28 days of standby battery life.

The company says: “The smallest Nokia messaging device.”

Harry says: Looks kinda like Nokia’s answer to RIM’s BlackBerry Pearls (and non-touchscreen phones are looking increasingly retro).

Availability and price: Q2 2009; 264 Euros ($337).

Read more at Crave.

Nokia E75

nokiae752Vital info: 2.4″ 320-by-240 main screen; 3.2MP camera with autofocus, flash, and mirror; Wi-Fi; assisted GPS; bundled 4GB MicroSD card; 3.5mm headphone jack.

Input: Phone keypad and slide-out wide QWERTY keyboard.

OS: Symbian S60

Anything else? A number of features aimed at corporate users, such as on-board Lotus Notes support.

The company says: “The best e-mail device that Nokia has ever done. Period.”

Harry says: A sort of a descendant of Nokia’s Communicators, which were once the most laptop-like of phones.

Availability and price: Next month; $375 Euros ($479).

Read more at Mobile Burn.

Samsung Beat DJ

Samsung Beat DJ SmartphoneVital info: 2.8″ OLED screen; 3MP camera; MicroSD slot; GPS, FM radio; 3.5mm headphone jack; built-in Bang & Olufsen speakers.

Input: Touch.

OS: Samsung proprietary.

Anything else? Includes software for making and remixing music; the Beat Disc is similar, but has a slide-out phone keypad.

The company says: “Iconic.”

Harry says: One of the few touch phones here with industrial design that owes little or nothing to the iPhone.

Availability and price: Unspecified.

Read more at Engadget.

Samsung Blue Earth

Samsung Blue EarthVital info: Samsung hasn’t released much in the way of specs for this phone.

Input: Touch.

OS: Samsung proprietary.

Anything else? It’s made from recycled bottles, and charges off its own built-in solar panel.

The company says: “Designed to symbolize a flat and well rounded shiny pebble.”

Harry says: Nifty idea–I wonder how much of a hassle it is to ensure it gets its sun-powered charge?

Availability and price: Q3 2009; price TBD.

Read more at Telegraph.co.uk.

Samsung Omnia HD

Samsung Omnia HD SmartphoneVital info: 3.7″ 360-by-640 OLED screen; 8MP camera with autofocus, flash, face and smile detection that can shoot 720p high-def video; 8GB or 16GB memory plus MicroSD slot; Wi-Fi; GPS, FM radio.

Input: Touch.

OS: Symbian S60 5th Edition.

Anything else? It’s got some built-in video editing tools to complement the HD camcorder features.

The company says: An “ultimate multimedia powerhouse with HD brilliance.”

Harry says: I liked this phone, from what I saw of it–for everything about it that smacks of the iPhone, it’s got character of its own, and specs galore.

Samsung UltraTOUCHAvailability and price: Unspecified.

Read more at PC World.

Samsung UltraTOUCH S8300

Vital info: 2.8″ 240-by-400 OLED screen; 8MP camera with autofocus, dual-power LED, face and smile detection, and geotagging; MicroSD slot; GPS.

Input: Touch and slide-out phone keypad.

OS: Samsung proprietary.

Anything else? It can capture video at 30fps.

The company says: “Our elegant full-touch hero.”

Harry says: The Omnia HD seems a lot closer to deserving the name UltraTOUCH than the UltraTOUCH does.

Availability and price: Unspecified.

Read more at Slashgear.

Sony Ericsson “Idou”

Sony Ericsson "Idou"Vital info: 3.5-inch 16:9 screen; 12.1MP camera with flash; other than that, Sony didn’t spell out the specs very specifically.

Input: Touch.

OS: “Based on what will become the Symbian Foundation operating system”

Anything else? Part of Sony Ericsson’s “Entertainment Unlimited” initiative, which is both ambitious and vague.

The company says: “Encapsulates the future of mobile entertainment in the palm of your hand delivering visual communication like never before.”

Harry says: Potentially neat, and even at a show with lots of phones with beefy cameras, 12.1MP is kind of amazing.

Availability and price: Sec0nd half of this year (under a name other than Idou, apparently); price TBD.

Read more at Engadget.

Sony Ericsson W995 Walkman

Sony Ericsson W995 WalkmanVital info: 2.6-inch screen; 8.1MP camera with flash; Wi-Fi, GPS, bundled 8GB Memory Stick Micro card; 3.5mm headphone jack.

Input: Slide-out keypad with predictive text.

OS: You know, I’m not sure.

Anything else? It has a built-in kickstand and comes in three colors: Progressive Black, Cosmic Silver, and Energetic Red.

The company says: “Relieve boredom forever.”

Harry says: As an iPhone user at the moment, the main thing that intrigues me about phones like this is the decent-sounding camera. I wish I owned a phone that had one.

Availability and price: Q2 2009, selected markets; price TBD.

Read more at InfoSync World.

Whew! Any of these phones particularly impress you (or leave you cold)? Is there a potential iPhone Killer among them?

 
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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Jacob Saaby Nielsen Says:

    Bar the Idou, whose success depends on the user experience part (since the hardware is reasonably well designed, and technically very capable), they’re ugly as crap, the lot of them.

    It’s like selling milk at a dairy outlet. Christ, amazing that the vendors don’t get it.

  2. Russ Says:

    The Palm Pre will be THE phone of 2009 IMHO.

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