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In a sea of phones, two capture my interest

Ronn goes to the CTIA show in San Francisco.

Today I went to the San Francisco CTIA show, which makes the odd presumption that one show can be both an enterprise and entertainment showcase. I just went for the latest. Two cell phones immediately attracted my interest; Palm's Centro and Nokia's N95 8GB. I'll be testing them in the next week or two.

The Palm Centro doesn't look like a Treo. Much.
The Palm Centro doesn't look like a Treo. Much. Palm, Inc.

The Palm Centro from Sprint has gotten so-so ratings (CNET gave it a 7.0). The most ubiquitous complaint has been the tiny keyboard. Certainly that's true, but perhaps it's diminished expectations: my first impression is quite positive. It has a comfortable feel, a packed menu, fine call quality, and produces pictures better than I was led to believe. At a low $99 price (with contract), we may have something here.

The N95 may be smartphone of the Year.
The N95 may be smartphone of the Year. Nokia, Inc.

The Nokia N95 8GB has had very good early reviews, and it's easy to see why. It's light, yet includes a 5-megapixel Zeiss optics camera, GPS, a large screen, is HSDPA and Wi-Fi ready, and of course has incredible memory capacity; that's why the phrase "8GB" is in its name. It ain't cheap at $699, but on first impression it has me liking it even more than I thought I would--even more than the iPhone. Could this be smartphone of the year? Both look to draw attention; watch this space for more specifics.