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January 2009 Roundup

31st January 2009

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Palm

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.

 Palm Pre
Palm Pre

Nokia

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 Nokia 2700 Classic takes most of the elements of the 6300 and remixes them into a very inexpensive package. Finally, the Nokia N79 Active takes the existing N79 and gives it a sporty twist.

 Nokia 6208 Classic
Nokia 6208 Classic

 Nokia 2700 Classic
Nokia 2700 Classic

 Nokia 6303 Classic
Nokia 6303 Classic

Nokia 6700 Classic
Nokia 6700 Classic

 Nokia N79 Active
Nokia N79 Active

Motorola

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.

 Motorola MOTOSURF A3100
Motorola MOTOSURF A3100

 Motorola VA76r Tundra
Motorola VA76r Tundra 

 Motorola W233 Renew
Motorola W233 Renew 

Sony Ericsson

The "Walkman" range of phones became even more bloated with the announcement of the Sony 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.

 Sony Ericsson C510
Sony Ericsson C510

 Sony Ericsson W508
Sony Ericsson W508

 Sony Ericsson W715
Sony Ericsson W715

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.

 Kogan Agora
Kogan Agora 

 Sciphone G2
Sciphone G2 

 T-Mobile G2
T-Mobile G2 

HTC

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 O2 XDA Guide which was announced very late in December.

 T-Mobile MDA Basic
T-Mobile MDA Basic

 HTC Touch Viva
HTC Touch Viva 

 HTC Touch Cruise 09
HTC Touch Cruise 09

 O2 XDA Guide
O2 XDA Guide 

Other manufacturers

Hyundai 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 they seem.

 Hyundai MB500
Hyundai MB500
 

 Telstra T165i
Telstra T165i

 Logic Bolt
Logic Bolt

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!

 Mobile World Congress

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