If you can't be in Singapore for the annual CommuniAsia show, CNET brings you all the highlights, including the Nokia N9 and Sony Ericsson's new Xperia handsets.
Kent GermanFormer senior managing editor / features
Kent was a senior managing editor at CNET News. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he reviewed the first iPhone and worked in both the London and San Francisco offices. When not working, he's planning his next vacation, walking his dog or watching planes land at the airport (yes, really).
Each June, cell phone manufacturers from across Asia journey to Singapore for the annual CommunicAsia show. Though not quite as big as Mobile World Congress, CommunicAsia still offers plenty of wireless sights. And as they've always done, our colleagues at CNET Asia were out in force in their home town to cover the latest and greatest gadgets. Their full package will show you everything you need to know--including their top cell phone picks--but we're happy to offer the highlights here.
Despite its new focus on Windows Phone 7, Nokia pretty much stole the show in Singapore when it announced the Nokia N9. Running the MeeGo OS, the handset has a curved design, a 3.9-inch AMOLED display, an 8-megapixel camera, near-field communication (NFC), HSDPA, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and assisted GPS. The N9 will come in three colors--black, cyan, and magenta--and will offer storage of 16GB and 64GB.
Since we're across the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco we haven't had the opportunity to handle the phone, but CNET Asia Senior Writer Aloysius Low was able to do that for us. He said that the handset felt great and the touch screen looked fantastic. He also noted the few physical controls and the attractive interface.
The Card phone is appropriately named. At 3.36 inches long by 2.2 inches wide by 0.27 inch thick, the handset could slip in your wallet right behind your Visa card. It's also very light at 1.3 ounces.
Outside there's a hard plastic shell in deep purple. The feature set includes only the basics, but the quad-band support makes it a world traveler. You'll need an additional charging dock, but it retails for only $70.
A Bluetooth phone
The Mini Bluetooth Phone from Xmobile may look like a tiny cell phone, but it's actually a cleverly designed Bluetooth headset. So as Senior Writer Darius Chang puts it, the gadget "allows you to make phone calls without looking like a geek." And if that's not enough, the keypad and tiny display will let you dial numbers and see who's calling. Available only in China for now, it costs just $70.
Affordable ZTE tablets
Chinese manufacturer ZTE announced the Light Tab 2 V9+ tablet for a worldwide launch in August. It's priced at $400 and offers a 7-inch, 1,024x600-pixel touch screen and a fast 1GHz processor.
Other features include support for 3G and Wi-Fi (the V9A models also supports WiMax), Android 2.3, 8MB of RAM, two cameras, Bluetooth, GPS, an FM radio, 512MB of internal storage, and an external memory slot that accommodates cards up to 32GB.
Sure, a satellite phone phone may cater to a niche market, but there's no denying that it will help you stay in touch from just about anywhere.
The ISatPhone boasts a rated talk time of 8 hours and a durable design built to resist dust, water, and shock. It's rather large (6.7 inches long by 2.1 inches wide by 1.5 inches deep) and it has a whopper of an antenna, but satellite phones have never been small. It's also pricey at $600 plus a $7 monthly subscription fee.
If you need an Android phone that can withstand the elements, you might consider the Titan from China-based company Tech Faith. It runs on Android 2.3 and is "IP67" certified, which means you can subject it to a lot of abuse and it will keep on ticking.
For example, it can take a swim in 5 feet of water for up to 30 minutes and survive a fall of 6.5 feet. The rubberized shell keeps out dust and its feature set includes HSDPA connectivity, a compass, a barometer, an altimeter, a pedometer, Wi-Fi, an FM radio, and two SIM card slots.
Huawei kicked off the show by unveiling its MediaPad tablet. Sporting a seven-inch display and a slim (0.4 inches) and lightweight (13.7 ounces) design, the device runs Android 3.2.
Other details include Micro-USB and HDMI-out ports, a dedicated power connector, two cameras, Wi-Fi, HSPA+ support, and two speaker grills. Check out Editor John Chan's hands-on for the full scoop.
He compares the Xperia Ray's slim profile with that on the Xperia Arc and gives the fitness-centric Xperia Active a good shake. The Xperia Txt is all about messaging, of course, with a standard design and a physical keypad.