Phew. Yesterday was without a doubt one of the most exciting days in the history of the mobile with innovative launches everywhere you looked. Judging by the new range of handsets it really is worth hanging on until at least the early summer before grabbing a new mobi.
So after playing with all the key mobiles, until we were forcibly removed from the stands, here’s our top ten.
1 Nokia N96 – Boring choice as top phone, but it really does a look like a significant leap on from the N95. The build quality is sturdier, it has a more stylish finish and that 2.8inch screen is gorgeous. Poor battery life, iffy build quality and a GPS system that was a law unto itself, made the N95 a bittersweet experience for me. If Nokia can get those things right I’ll be at the front of the queue for this one come late summer. It is interesting to note that the Nokia N96s at the show ere very well developed for prototypes. You get the feeling that Nokia is taking no chances with the N96 and won’t rush it to market until it is ready for it. Seems like they have learnt a lesson or two from last time.
2 Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 – Shiny Susi’s fave new handset. She loves the iPod Coverflow influenced user interface and the handset’s neat design. She also gives SE a nod for going Windows Mobile (!?) and likes the integrated QWERTY keyboard. I am less convinced myself, but this is a still a very impressive mobi.
3 Samsung Soul – The pictures don’t do the soul justice. Its metallic body really is very striking and its context sensitive touch screen interface – by that I mean that when you change the application the mini touch screen under the main screen changes – is a very clever way of incorporating touch screen technology without compromising a handset’s design. Definitely one for RAZR upgraders to look at.
4 Sony Ericsson W980 – A really cute update of the Walkman phone, the W980 is a cool skinny-ish clamshell with a very smart looking front screen. It comes loaded with a pretty generous four Gigabytes of storage and a built in FM transmitter.
5 NTT Docomo Wellness phone – Ok so it is only a prototype but it does illustrate that in Japan, at least, makers are thinking beyond just adding as mega pixel or two to the camera to sell handsets. This one doubles a pedometer, it measures your fat levels and heart rate and best of all tells you how smelly your breath is. Clever stuff.
6 Motorola Z10 – This had its first outing at CES, but it gets on the list as it is making its European debut here in Barcelona. Susi has a soft spot for the phone and in particular its quality video capture and easy in-handset editing. I am less convinced by the kick slide, but this is still a breakthrough handset.
7 LG KF700 – The next step on from the Prada and the Shine the KF700 is another rather tasty touch screen based handset from LG. It isn’t quite as feature-rich as some of its rivals, but should appeal to Chocolate owners who are looking for their next upgrade.
8 Google Android interface phone – There are a number of prototype handsets at the show that are working with Google (and its open source chums) Android interface. We checked out the HTC style handset at the British processor maker Arm’s stand. While not quite a revolution the interface offers a neat and simple way of accessing applications. Check the video out.
9 Samsung F400 Acoustic – Without a doubt Samsung’s best music phone so far. Instead of revamping the twin sided models of last year the company has gone for Nokia N95 slide up/slide down design with the top housing a powerful and good quality Icepower Bang & Olufsen approved speaker. Samsung could have been a little more generous in the on board storage – just 130MB – but you can obviously ramp this up using a micro SD card.
10 LG Watch phone – Five years after its last appearance the watch phone is back albeit only in prototype form. LG’s version is a million miles away from the clunky watch handsets that Motorola and Samsung were touting a few years back. It has a striking customisable interface, an easy to use slide control and works with Bluetooth headsets. Maybe the future is wearable technology after all.