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Create an avatar and speak Japanese with NTT DoCoMo

Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo shows up in New Orleans with some of its latest technologies in tow. CNET takes a closer look.

Memorizing the Gettysburg Address for school? Do it with an avatar of Abraham Lincoln. Kent German/CNET

NEW ORLEANS--After you've covered the big news and handled the new phones, it's always fun to walk the CTIA show floor and seek out the weird and wonderful. There's usually plenty of sights to behold, and you always can count on NTT DoCoMo to lead the way.

The Japanese carrier's booth this year was smaller than usual, and it lacked a collection of high-end "only in Japan" phones, but it showcased some pretty cool technologies that I haven't used before. Some were practical and another was just for fun, but they provided a welcome distraction from spectrum policy and carrier keynotes.

My favorite was the instant translation app for Android phones that let me speak perfect Japanese. It may not be ready for prime time yet, but I liked the idea having a phone conversation with someone I couldn't understand. The 3D avatar generator drew a big crowd of gawkers, and I love a super battery charger that could power my phone in 10 minutes.

Check out the gallery for a closer look. And be sure to see CNET's full coverage of CTIA 2012.