CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW: CNET editors cover the Next Big Thing
We came, we saw, we liked
By William O'Neal
(January 11, 2005)
Before this year's CES, we made some predictions about what we expected to see. While we were right on about some things, a few of our predictions just didn't materialize. We did, in fact, see some killer cell phones that rocked everything from EVDO support to exciting, new form factors, but all of the naysayers who have been bemoaning the demise of the PDA may have simply been looking in the wrong place. Could it be that the PDA may have simply changed form factors?
Smarter smart phones
PalmOne's Treo 650 owned 2004. With that in mind, Microsoft made a major showing at this year's CES with smart phones sporting Windows Mobile 2003 for Smart phones. Having held out hope for even smarter smart phones, CES 2005 was rife with them. We couldn't get enough of the Samsung i730. And while the Samsung i730 is bound to be 2005's flagship Treo killer, BenQ's P50 is another worthy device in this sector.
Video meets the cell phone
While the technology exists, it may be awhile before streaming video makes a serious splash in the American cell phone scene. We saw several phones (as well as some third-generation handhelds) that support EVDO for faster download speeds, but many of these phones aren't yet available here in the States. That said, though, we did see some phones showing off their video capabilities, which were impressive.
Camera phones that actually take decent pictures
When it comes to snapping pictures, you just can't beat a 2-megapixel camera phone. And that's where the Samsung A800 comes in. It operates on the CDMA network, boasts an expandable slot, has a cool sliding design, and is available here in the States. Of course, we saw several 2-megapixel camera phones that are available overseas, so it's only a matter of time before more land on our shores.
Motorola's Razr V3 is one of the sexiest cell phones available. But it's not the only cool-looking phone in town. Slider phones such as Samsung's N330 were popular this year, and we expect to see even more alternative form factors on the way.
Bluetooth for all
While the GSM crowd has been talking wirelessly with Bluetooth-enabled cell phones for some time, with the exception of a few select handhelds, the CDMA crowd has for the most part been left out in the cold. Things are definitely looking up. We saw several new Bluetooth-enabled CDMA phones that should be available soon.
Even though pundits have been predicting the death of the PDA, from where we're standing, it looks like the form factor is merely changing. From smart watches that operate on MSN Direct to Fossil's Wrist PDA Palm OS device, the handheld is morphing into new form factors.
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