The Nokia E71, see my review, is one of the best QWERTY smartphones on the market and everyone who holds it wants it because it feels so solid and is extremely powerful and functional. I think the E71x should be a popular handset with AT&T when it launches this month for only $100. Two Nokia Eseries devices, the E75 and E55, were announced in February at Mobile World Congress so my goal at CTIA last week was to hunt these two down and get some hands-on time. I found the Nokia E75 in black and red, but the E55 was nowhere to be found and one person at the Nokia booth told me this device was cancelled so I am still trying to find out what the status is regarding its existence. I was able to secure an E75 to evaluate and have been using it exclusively since last Thursday. Check out my image gallery for photos of the hardware and some software as well as my YouTube video below of the device in action.
Smartphones and Cell Phones
It seems everyone in business has a smartphone today to keep connected to the office and enjoy their time away from the office. Matthew Miller provides you with news, commentary and in-depth reviews of the latest in mobile phones sporting iOS, Android, Wi
Matthew Miller started using a Pilot 1000 in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since.
I have now written up my thoughts on the iPhone 3G vs. Palm Pre and iPhone 3G vs. HTC Magic so now it is time to move on to the RIM BlackBerry flagship product, the Storm. The BlackBerry Storm is currently the only RIM device with a touchscreen and thus fits in perfectly with our look at touchscreen focused devices. It also runs the latest version of the BlackBerry OS, version 4.7. I laid out what we know of the iPhone 3G with 3.0 OS operating system in my first article so I won't repost all of that content here. I will run through each section for the BlackBerry Storm and then offer my personal thoughts on how it compares to the iPhone 3G with 3.0 OS update on the last page of this feature.
Since I didn't have a chance to see the Palm Pre in person and there are no review units out yet, I couldn't really pick a favorite in my first Clash of the Touch Titans article. Last week I was able to see the Pre in person and get my hands on it a bit. I shot a video of the Pre in action showing some 3rd party apps and overall user experience. I will say that the experience and some of the functionality look quite amazing. However, I was able to also get my hands on and enter text using the Pre keyboard and found it to be a major disappointment that may be the Achilles heel of the device. I find the onscreen keyboard on the iPhone to be much better than the Pre keyboard. So far we have only seen keyboard input as being the only way to enter text so you always have to switch to portrait mode to do this and my first impressions were not good. In the photos I saw before I actually touched it I thought it would be more of a Treo 800w or at least Treo Pro keyboard, but it is much more similar to the Palm Centro keyboard with rubber sticky keys/bumps set on a flat panel. The keyboard felt pretty cramped and I am sure I could get used to it over time since I do have magic thumbs, but Palm was always known for excellent Treo keyboards and to not put one of these types on this new flagship product may be an issue for many people.
Are you someone who has a ton of Palm OS apps and do not want to lose them if you upgrade to the Palm Pre? Palm previously said that Palm OS apps would not work on WebOS directly, but did leave it up to 3rd party developers to come up with a solution. As you can see in the video on PreCentral.net you will be good to go with the Palm OS emulator called Classic. Classic PalmOS emulator is from the folks at MotionApps and it actually looks pretty incredible. Applications run fast and may even be faster than what you see on many Palm OS devices today.
I spent some time with the folks at Quickoffice yesterday afternoon and had a chance to see their new Quickoffice for iPhone application in action. It has been submitted to the App Store and should be out next week. I have just three words for you when it appears in the App Store, GO BUY IT. There are some good applications on the iPhone, but I think this may be the best one yet and for someone who wants to actually get some work done it is awesome. It will be priced at $19.99, which is cheap for the product you are getting.
In addition to meeting up with friends and developing relationships with mobile application developers, carriers, and manufacturers my favorite part of these trade shows is getting hands-on time with products. I was able to try out several that interest me, including the Samsung OMNIA HD, Nokia E75, Nokia N86, HTC Snap, HTC Touch Pro2, and HTC Diamond2. You can check out my image gallery and thoughts on these devices below. The order of my coverage below is from my personal favorite to least favorite.
I have been disappointed by the lack of Android hardware news at CTIA, following the lack of news at Mobile World Congress, and am starting to wonder why it is taking so long for manufacturers to get on the Android train. There was one shining bit of news though that had me purchasing another application on the Android Market this morning. DataViz announced Documents To Go Standard and RoadSync beta for the T-Mobile G1 and HTC Magic. You can check out their new products and download both from the Android Market.
The one device that I have not yet had a chance to see in person was the Palm Pre and all of that changed at the Mobile Focus event last night. Kevin Tofel and I were able to corner Matt Crowley, Palm product line manager for the Palm Pre, and he ran through some things on the Pre for us. I asked particularly about 3rd party applications because I haven't yet seen any in action. He showed us Fandango, NASCAR, and Amazon Music on the camera and then we also heard more about Pandora. Check out the video below to see these apps in action and then a walk through some of the other main features of the Palm Pre.
The T-Mobile Dash remains one of my favorite smartphones of all time and after I get home from CTIA I am going with my wife to pick up a new all black one for her for $50 at T-Mobile since she broke another one. She LOVES it and won't go to another device, even after several of my failed attempts. That may change though if she saw what I get to see this week here at CTIA. HTC announced the Snap Windows Mobile non-touchsreen device that is the true successor to the T-Mobile Dash/HTC Excalibur. One key feature of the Snap's new QWERTY keyboard is the offset arrangement of the keys since QWERTY thumb keyboards really should not have their keys all lined up as most of them are, but offset to make text entry more accurate.
We knew the BlackBerry App World launch was coming soon and rumors had it for 1 April. While in a conversation with fellow writers at the Showstoppers event an email appeared on my phone that the BlackBerry App World was available and ready for installation. I pulled out the RIM BlackBerry Curve 8900 and quickly installed the new application suite to give it a run through. Check out several screenshots in my image gallery and the video below, as well as my more in depth thoughts on this new application store.