January 2009 Roundup
31st January 2009
Palm wowed most observers with the Palm
Pre, a clever smartphone that could possibly outclass
all of the competition. Combining an innovative approach
to user interface design, information management and
some sexy-looking hardware, the Pre caused quite a stir.
At the moment the Pre is only available for the US Sprint
network, but we predict that the worldwide version will
be announced next month.
Nokia announced four brand new handsets
during January, all forming part of their "Classic"
range. The Nokia
6208 Classic was the first major announcement of
the year: a touchscreen Series 40 device aimed at the
Chinese market that shows that you don't have to have
a smartphone to use touch. This was followed a few weeks
later by three significant phones inspired by the bestselling
Nokia 6300: the Nokia
6700 Classic adds 3.5G support, a 5 megapixel camera
and GPS; the Nokia
6303 Classic is a more modest improvement but with
significantly better battery life, and then the
2700 Classic takes most of the elements of the 6300
and remixes them into a very inexpensive package. Finally,
N79 Active takes the existing N79 and gives it a
Motorola brought three new handsets
to the CES show in January. The Motorola
MOTOSURF A3100 is an iPhone-class smartphone with
a touchscreen, GPS and WiFi.. but we could have done
with seeing this in 2008 rather than 2009. The Motorola
VA76r Tundra is a ruggedised 3G clamshell for AT&T
in the US. Finally the Motorola
W233 Renew is an attractive low-end phone that uses
recycled plastic bottles for its casing.
The "Walkman" range of phones
became even more bloated with the announcement of the
Ericsson W715 and W508
handsets. The W715 is a remix of two existing phones,
and the W508 is almost identical to another one launched
last year. The Sony
Ericsson C510 is an affordable "Cyber-shot"
phone.. but is it really necessary? Yes, these all look
like pretty good handsets, but they are confusingly
similar to other existing Sony Ericsson handsets
in many ways.
Android rumours and disappointments.
The Australian Kogan Agora was "indefinitely
delayed" and a rumoured
G2 Android phone turned out to be the Sciphone G2,
running a fake version of Android.. which is odd considering
that it's an open source OS. More rumour circulated
around the HTC
Sapphire / T-Mobile G2 suggesting that this will
basically just be the G1 without a keyboard.
HTC handsets tend to crop up with different
names on, and this month was no exception. The T-Mobile
MDA Basic is T-Mobile's version of the HTC
Touch Viva. The strangely named HTC
Touch Cruise 09 is identical to the
XDA Guide which was announced very late in
Mobile announced that it was coming to the UK, but
it's not certain what phones it will be bringing. In
Australia, the Telstra
T165i came to market - a phone that sacrifices looks for
practicality perhaps, but one that will suit many
potential customers. Finally, a device called the Logic
Bolt claimed to be the first phone to market with
a built-in projector, but the claims may not be all
What's coming in February?
The Mobile World Congress runs
from the 16th to the 19th of February, and this is always
the busiest time of the year for new releases. We expect
to see some new phones with QWERTY keyboards from
Nokia, a whole bunch of new Android handsets from different
manufacturers, plus significant announcements from other
major players. Watch this space!