Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Mobile Device Conference 24/02/11

I attended a conference last Thursday and got to listen to some key manufacturers talk about their new releases and get hands on with some very cool new kit.  Here are what those manufacturers were talking about and showing off!

Sony Ericsson are making XPERIA their brand focus, and I love the strapline of "The real game never stops".  They talked a lot about Gingerbread and unique selling points around graphics/audio for games, UI changes, power management improvements and multitouch, they also made a big point of saying that unlike with some Android phones that are sold by some operators, that they intend to allow updates straight away, this will be good it if happens!

There were some cool techie mentions: Bravia Mobile Engine which looked gorgeous on the XPERIA ARC (also comes with HDMI output cable in the box) they are claiming it is 33% brighter than amoled, the Exmor R which I had never heard of before but is a camera sensor chip which does give some impressive low light conditions photography again proved when they let us play with the XPERIA NEO and the other feature they were stressing is HD voice and better noise cancelling technology to give crystal clear conversations lest us forget these are also phones *grin*.

The phone I was most excited about getting my hands on was the XPERIA PLAY, still has reasonable smart phone spec like 5mp camera etc, but also boasts 60fps and of course the playstation certified controller - I only had chance to have a quick go of crash bandicoot, but yeah it plays pretty well and I would desperately want one if I didn't think the price point is going to be slightly too prohibitive for surely the key audience which would be teens (and ageing gamers like me, but we have so many other phones we need too! ;-) )  They are remastering some PS titles and there will be EA and other native games as well as the Android Marketplace.  Multiplayer support for up to 4 over wifi and like many people are mentioning, DLNA connectivity.

I like Sony's approach of concentrating on a few very good quality and highly targetted devices, I think they will do very well, and as I have a lot of fondness for Sony (K800i was one of my fave phones ever) I am so pleased to see they are a contender again for 2011.  The ARC is gorgeous it really is, beautiful screen and very slim, I'm not so fussed on the NEO but the camera is very cool, the PLAY is just one of those things you are going to want if you love gaming like I do!

HP/Palm unfortunately didn't give the most interesting presentation ever but they have big plans to get back into the mobile device space, they have set themselves the target of 10% marketshare in 2012!  They have some cool technology too, talking about 'Instant On' and printer/phone/tablet/pc integration, their portfolio runs webOS.  They have some cool accessories as well, the touch stone charging for example.  They talked about the quality of the Pre2, the showed us the Veer which is tiny and they say they think a barrier to entry for people who dont have smartphones is how big they are, they may have a point but I personally wouldn't want a phone the size of a credit card hehe, the Pre3 is larger and they are claiming the fastest processor on the market (sure I've heard many different phones claim that?!).

The TouchPad they are pitching as a productivity tool and making much of having word/excel/powerpoint create and edit ability via quick office, and 'touch to share' functionality that goes between the tablet and your phone, or printer, or phone to tablet - so when you are at home and you get a call you don't have to hunt for the phone as it gets routed to your tablet.  They are also trying to be thought of as cool, I hadn't even heard of Beats audio (proving to me yet again I am definitely not down with the kids) but they are using that in their ad campaigns, from what I gather it's very funky and expensive headphones and the like!

Samsung probably gave the most fun talk and they cleverly had a competition giving a phone away as a prize, alas I didn't win!  In my opinion though they have far too many models for too many of them to make a lasting impression, I think there were about 20 they had on their list.  Their pitch is 'Covering all bases' by producing devices with Android, Windows Phone 7 and also their own Bada.  They have hired a new content manager to grow the number of apps on Bada and they see it as a lower priced entry into the world of smartphones which is of course a good thing!  The Omnia7, WaveII and GalaxySII all look good to me.  Funnily enough it was the Tocco Icon which excited me the most, it looks pretty much exactly the same as the original one, but as I know we sold loads of these I'm hoping the same will be true for a new generation wanting a cheaper but good touchscreen phone :o)

Nokia did a strange talk, at the time I found it interesting, but later I wondered why they bothered coming.  No real news and they plan to spend a lot more money on advertising the N8, it's a nice phone but there were issues with glitches etc which they claim to have sorted, so maybe it will become more popular again.  They said that Symbian is their focus for 2011 (even though we all know they will be doing WP7 next year!) and did show some nice changes coming in an update in June which makes personalisation more easy and new widgets, icons and status bar.  They said they still intend to do a Meego open source product this year at some point.  I love the lower end Nokia phones, in particular the C3 is a great price and a great phone.  One thing I did learn from the horse's mouth is the naming convention, C: community/connectivity, X: social media/youth, N: top end entertainment and E: enterprise solutions - so there you go.

Motorola were very interesting, they are now a new spun off company called Mobility and they are 'All-in with Android'.  They had the Xoom there of course, the world's first tablet running the Honeycomb variant of Android that is designed for tablets - I had a quick play, looks nice.  They made a lot of the Atrix, the most powerful smartphone (their words :D) with dual core processer but also quite interestingly a dedicated antenna for download, quarter HD, better power consumption, largest battery.

What was most cool for me though was their accessories and converged approach, they see a phone like the Atrix becoming your 'hard drive' almost.  The Lap Dock is very cool, looks like a very thin and light latptop, but basically you chuck your phone in the back and then can use the bigger screen and keyboard.  Similarly the HD Dock allows you to use your phone/tablet on your TV/big screen and also lets you charge.  These solutions also access a '2nd OS' on the phone that is really good, you can still also use your phone like 'android in a window' but additionally and its a bit hard to describe, but basically looks a little like an apple tv or similar net box, so that you have really easy and clear use to combine your phone and telly into an entertainment centre - you can watch media that is stored on your phone and if you pull the phone out it remembers where you were up to - same for browsing and all other apps.  Hopefully these things will be generally available mid Summer after an Orange exclusive runs out!

They also showed of the Gleam, which believe it or not looks very like the V3, and they quoted some daft number that still use their v3 in the UK and havent found anything else they like better - a really cheap price point hopefully and available in some lovely colours, I particularly like the red which also glows and lights up on the outside, I think these will be popular!  Small mention for the Pro which is hoping to be the first 'business' Android phone.

Acer were sorry to say the most boring presentation, the kit looked ok, but nothing special really.  We were shown the E210 which looks like a BlackBerry, Liquid Mini which was reasonable looking and if the price is right might be ok as an entry level phone, the A801 was massive really freakishly tall proportioned and very heavy, just don't get it!  The tablets were all named after artists, the Picasso is well made and lots of ports and sounds like it will be priced the same as most high end 10" tablets, the Van Gogh is the 7" version.  The Dali is their Windows 10" and I'll be interested to see how well these do, not many windows tablets being talked about, they have also put a software layer on it to make it look and work better on tablets.

I've written this in the order that I saw them, but it's interesting that what ended up impressing me the most was last, so... saving the best till last *grin* >>

LG, Life is indeed Good *grin* They started off with their marketing thoughts and I was very pleased to hear that a lot of their energy is towards what they call the 'Techo Chic' which sounded just like me until they said that 25-34 was the typical age range ;-)

The 2X, strapline 'Power of two' which I love, is very much pitched as being very fast and good at multitasking, no lag, full HD mirroring, 8MP camera and 1.3MP front facing for better vid conferencing, DLNA, 1080p, shipping with Froyo but upgradeable to Gingerbread - looks very nice!

The 7, again looking very nice and running WP7, the first time I've had a WP7 phone in my hand and seriously thought hmmm I could want this!

The most exciting though, the 3D, I WANT THIS PHONE!!!! It's dual core, dual channel and dual memory (which they did explain but I've forgotten what it actually means, trust me it's awesome hehe), 720p for 3d, 1020p for 2d, but of course the cool thing is 3d without glasses and also 3d recording.  They first of all had it playing through one of their shiny tellys and we had the 3d specs on, impressive enough, but then when they showed vids on the phone screen itself, well I couldn't quite believe my eyes!  I wear contacts and have an astigmatism so perhaps not the best vision in the world, but it was a very weird and cool effect I could see.  A little like magic eye maybe in that your eyes are trying to understand what is going on, but I didnt have it in my own hands unfortunately... but even from just my quick peek I am very impressed with the effect and very much want to own one.  The thing that has me the most excited though, is that I can record 3d films!! I want to do this! YouTube 3D and who knows, maybe I will now see the point in buying a 3D telly so I can watch daft clips of friends bands and my cats in 3d *grin*.

So there you go, lots of exciting new phones coming out over the next few months and I can't wait to get my hands on them again and start selling, supporting and most of all using them!

Happy to hear any thoughts or questions.

Much sparklyness your way

Ariel xxx