The CTIA Wrap

On a few occasions, I managed to sneak away from my work responsibilities and roam the CTIA floor. I also chatted up several mobile gurus I enjoy – including Sascha Segan (PC Mag), Bonnie Cha (CNET), and Ed Hardy (Brighthand). While the show was maybe 1/3rd the size of the Orlando event and there were fewer product launches/announcements, here are some of the cool, new phones I played with (in no particular order):

HTC CDMA Touch (Sprint)
I hadn’t held a Touch (GSM variety) since June, so I forgot how small this device is and that it feels great in the hand. I’m still not entirely sold on the touchscreen-only method of interaction (think iPhone), but HTC has stepped it up with the new CDMA Touch in adding 2 finger friendly typing overlays. An HTC rep also showed me a Touch Dual variant with a SureType-style keyboard – which is more my speed, though US launch plans haven’t been disclosed.

Nokia N95 8GB (GSM)
This phone looks sharp. And I’m not just saying that because I worked Nokia’s booth. Instead of naming it the N95 8G, it’d be more accurate to call it the N95+ or even the N96 — in addition to the that extra storage, the screen is noticeably larger, the buttons tweaked, and the shell has a sexy piano black finish. I didn’t catch all the details, so I’m not sure if it’s 3G in the US.

Samsung Blackjack 2 (AT&T)

Samsung took the very nice Blackjack (I own one) and made it better. Instead of continuing the keyboard cleverness (which didn’t work for many), the Blackjack 2 numeric keys are sequential. They also crammed a GPS unit into this slim Windows Mobile 6 phone and produced the most subtle scroll wheel I’ve ever encountered – it both looks and feels great. I’m only bummed that the photos I thought I took aren’t on my memory card.

Samsung i760 (Verizon)
I love this phone (pictured above). It looks sharp and is one of the more sprightly touchscreen WinMo devices I’ve encountered. (The CDMA Touch also seemed quite responsive.) They did a nice job designing the i760 in a relatively compact form while providing a large touchscreen with physical numeric keypad on the front and a sliding qwerty keyboard underneath. If I had to complain, the small stylus and storage (push it into the side) didn’t do much for me.

Nokia 5310 (GSM)
I haven’t had a small, non-smart phone in quite some time and, frankly, I don’t even look these days. However, this is another phone I fell in love it. The 5310 currently sells in Europe as a music phone, and what I most appreciate is the solid metal build quality and (obviously) that small form factor. Depending what price this lands at here in the states, I’d like to pick one up as my weekend phone (when I try to avoid email).

Unfortunately, I didn’t take many pics (and I missed seeing the new iMate Ultimate phones entirely) but I’ll give ya what I got. Hover your mouse over the thumbnail for a description, click for a larger view:

5 thoughts on “The CTIA Wrap”

  1. I’ve been really looking forward to playing with the HTC Touch when it launches next month. I haven’t been able to find any pictures of the typing overlays. Were you able to play with this for any length of time? What was it like?

    Thanks for a good blog.

  2. Ian, There were two different virtual keyboards. One was essentially a larger version of the WinMo keyboard and the second was a virtual phone keypad. Seemed like you could use it for either predictive text (T9-style) or multi-tap. I only spent a few minutes with it, but the T9 method was the most finger friendly. Given my short time with the device, it’s hard to say if I could give up the stylus and/or not miss a physical keyboard. However, it’s definitely improved over the original GSM Touch interface I saw. In Sascha’s PC mag review he mentions a SureType-style virtual keyboard which wasn’t present on the unit I looked at. Maybe the display model I checked out (Sprint table at Mobile Focus event) had an earlier software build on it or maybe the phone needed a reboot?

    I’ve realized I read much more email than I send from my devices, so the Touch might be OK for me. Especially with a nice Sprint SERO plan. Hmmm.

  3. i have an htc 8125, and i’ve tried the “full screen keyboard” from spb which would work great with the touch, since it has no built in keyboard. fwiw, i want the touch, because it DOESN’T have a kb. it has windows mobile (unlike the Iphone), and that i want. so, hopefully, my carrier(att)will bring it, or i’ll grab an unlocked when the prices come down a bit.

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