Another CES is in the bag, and we've successfully fled Las Vegas for San Francisco. Though fewer new cell phones debuted at the show than in the past couple years, we can say that the 2008 show was all about quality over quantity. Also, when compared with the last couple of years, we had some serious competition for the Best of CES award in the cell phones and smartphones category. But after it was said and done, the Motorola Rokr E8 took that prize. Its innovative morphing keyboard gave it the needed mojo to lap the Sony Ericsson W760 super world phone. It was a good fight, and we hope we'll see a similar high-pitched battle in 2009. Motorola also introduced a high-end video phone with the Moto Z10 and it gave us two new entry-level models with the W230 and W270.
Besides the W760, Sony Ericsson introduced two other new cell phones. The Z555 is a design-centric handset with a new "gesture-control" feature, and the W350 is a low-end Walkman model. Though Samsung didn't offer any new phones for North America, it did show some exisiting models it wasn't planning to bring here including the i450 and the SGH-G800 5-megapixel camera phone. Also sitting pretty in Samsung's booth was the company's Armani phone.
Nokia didn't have anything new, either, but we did see the Nokia 3110, which is made partially from renewable materials. Nokia also had a couple cell phone speakers in its booth, and Samsung showed speakers of its own. And over in the most far-flung booths on the show floor, Neonode was offering its N2 phone, and Haier offered the dual SIM-card HG-N99.
We managed to spot a few notable phones at the LG booth. We saw the LG AX565 and the LG Scoop, coming out for Alltel later this year. We also noticed a mysterious touch-screen phone that some representatives have hinted would be the new LG Vu. Of course, LG also showed off its Europe-only models like the LG KS20 and the LG Viewty, both of which we can't get in the U.S. just yet. Probably one of the most interesting things we saw from LG is the prototype model of a watch phone, which will have Bluetooth as well as text messaging.
Although there wasn't a ton of smartphone news to come out of CES 2008, it doesn't mean the show was a complete wash. In fact, we saw several noteworthy announcements and some interesting trends at the annual tech extravaganza. First, Nokia introduced a North American version of the coveted 8GB Nokia N95, which is available now unlocked for a whopping $749. Several Windows Mobile devices landed on carriers' doorstep as the Verizon Wireless SMT5800 made its debut and Alltel Wireless added the HTC Touch to its lineup. Finally, while not technically a smartphone, Sony released the revamped Sony Mylo Communicator 2, a Wi-Fi-enabled messaging and Web-browsing handheld for all the future smartphone owners of America.
There were almost too many Bluetooth headsets to cover at this year's CES, but we did find a few noteworthy new ones. Jabra, for example, debuted a very sexy-looking Jabra JX20 Pura, which is made from anodized titanium and designed by a renowned European designer. There was also the Jabra BT8040, which is one of a few mono headsets that has A2DP so you can listen to phone calls and streaming music in a single headset. As for stereo headsets, Motorola came out with the Motorola S9-HD, which is similar to the Motorola Rokr S9 headset from last year, but it is now enhanced with high-definition audio.
The most interesting headsets from the show, however, came from Invisio. The company debuted what it is calling the world's smallest Bluetooth headset in the form of the Invisio G5, a tiny little thing that comes with a portable charging case. It also showed off the Invisio Q7, a headset that has a patented Bone Conduction technology that can convert vibrations from your jawbone so that your caller will only hear your voice. We were so impressed with this Bone Conduction technology, that we nominated the G7 for best of CES.