As the holidays approach, we're thinking about more than gift shopping and spiking the eggnog; we're thinking about CES, which looms soon after New Year's Day. Though cell phones tend to play a supporting role at CES, I guarantee that we'll see a few new handsets debuting. Of course, Apple always shuns the event for its own Macworld--it runs the same week as CES--but most of the major players will be in Sin City. Since most announcements are shrouded in secrecy until the show opens, we don't have anything firm to report just yet. But if we had a crystal ball, this is what we would see:
If there was a trend in 2008, it was touch-screen phones. Including the uberhyped iPhone, we saw a mass of touch models, particularly during the latter half of the year. They included smartphones like the
Though camera phones have taken a back seat to music phones over the last couple of years, they're now back with a vengeance. Recently, we reviewed three high-end camera phones: the 5-megapixel Motorola ZN5, the
Messaging phones took off in a big way in late 2008. And when we say messaging phones, we're talking about handsets built for texting rather than complicated smartphones. Indeed, we saw eight such handsets this fall and we don't expect the trend to stop anytime soon. Look for more messaging phones at CES in a variety of styles.
With the releases of the
On the Android front, Sony Ericssonthat it will be coming out with Google Android smartphones in summer 2009. In Las Vegas, we'll be picking the company's brain to see what it has in mind. We'll also talk with HTC, which plans to have a whole portfolio of Android devices by summer. We also should see developments with the Android platform itself, including new applications and features.
Due to the relatively recent hands-free driving laws sweeping the nation, we'll see even more Bluetooth accessories than ever. We'll see headsets of all shapes and sizes, and in-car speakerphones will take off, too. We also think stereo Bluetooth will be a standard in most, if not all, headsets.