Windows Phone 7
With the introduction of Windows Phone 7, people are, once again, interested in Microsoft's mobile operating system. WP7 brings with it a complete overhaul of the user interface and additional features, such as the integration of Zune and Xbox Live. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait a while for it, as devices won't be ready to ship till the holiday season.
Samsung Galaxy S
Introduced at CTIA 2010, the Samsung Galaxy S is Samsung's latest Google Android phone, and it might be the best one yet. The Android 2.1 device boasts a brilliant 4-inch Super AMOLED screen and can play back video at 720p resolution. In addition, Samsung will work with content partners so you can download full-length movies, TV shows, and even books and magazines. The Samsung Galaxy S is expected to be available in the U.S. this summer and, rumor has it, all carriers will get it.
Motorola i1 (Sprint Nextel)
The Motorola i1 is the first push-to-talk Google Android smartphone due to launch on Sprint Nextel's iDEN network. It will support Nextel's Direct Connect services and, like a lot of Nextel's handsets, the i1 meets Military Specifications 810f so it can withstand dust, shock, vibration, rain, humidity, fog, and more. Other highlights include a 5-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, and the Opera mini browser. Pricing and a release date have not been revealed at this time.
Kyocera Zio M6000
At CTIA 2010, Kyocera introduced its first Google Android phone, the Zio M6000. To our recollection, it's the first U.S. smartphone from Kyocera, as well. The Zio runs Android 1.6, and offers a 3.5-inch QVGA touch screen, a 3.2-megapixel camera, and support for 3G EV-DO networks. It will be available in Q2 for $169 to $219 before carrier subsidy. Cricket Wireless is already onboard, and we hear Sprint might be, too.
Introduced alongside the HTC Legend, the HTC Desire is like the Nexus One but with HTC's Sense user experience rather than the standard Android interface. This means you'll get HTC's widgets, including a couple of new ones like revamped mail and agenda widgets. Also, in the browser, you can now do a long-press over some text to bring up a bar that allows you to select a word that you can then look up in the dictionary or on Wikipedia. The HTC Desire is available in Europe now, but will be headed to U.S. Cellular this summer.
Dell Aero (AT&T)
The Aero is Dell's first U.S. smartphone and AT&T's second Android device (after the Motorola Backflip). It's based on the Dell Mini 3, and it's definitely one of the smallest Android smartphones we've seen. We weren't huge fans of the Mini 3's user interface, but AT&T and Dell have created their own customized UI, which we hope is more intuitive. The Dell Aero is expected to be available from AT&T in the coming months, but there's been no word yet on pricing.
If the Dell Aero seems a little ho-hum to you, then feast your eyes on the Dell Thunder. Images and specs of this Android device (along with the Dell Flash and Smoke) were leaked early, and it's left us drooling ever since. If all pans out, the Thunder will feature a 4.1-inch OLED touch screen in a smoking-hot design, an 8-megapixel camera, and an integrated Web Hulu app. Like the Aero, it's believed that the Thunder might be headed to AT&T with an LTE version planned for 2011.
RIM BlackBerry Pearl 3G
It's been more than two years since the last BlackBerry Pearl came out, so to say that RIM's line of slim, consumer-friendly smartphones was in need of an upgrade is an understatement. Fortunately, we've got one now. The Pearl 3G brings such updates as an optical trackpad, dedicated media controls, and BlackBerry OS 5. There will also be two configurations: the 9100 model will have a 20-key SureType keyboard, whereas 9105 will have a 14-key SureType keypad. Details such as pricing, carrier, and release date have not yet been announced, but we do know that the BlackBerry Pearl 3G will support both T-Mobile's and AT&T's 3G bands.
Nokia makes great hardware, but the clunky, aging Symbian OS hasn't done the company any favors. Perhaps things will change with the Nokia N8, though. The N8 is the first device to run the revamped Symbian^3, which includes such improvements as a simplified user interface and enhanced multimedia capabilities. The N8 is due out in Q3, but another part of N8's success in North America will be cost and any carrier partnerships, which have not yet been announced.
We've now reached a point where we expect to see a new iPhone every summer, and this year is no different. However, the anticipation surrounding the next-gen iPhone has never been so high or dramatic given the saga of the lost iPhone prototype. Hopefully, we'll get all our questions answered June 7 when Apple CEO Steve Jobs gives the keynote address at WWDC 2010.