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May 2010 Previews, Premiers of the Month

If April was a calm month, then May turned out to be very quiet. There were almost no new releases, no news that could attract attention. Given that, every model met the eye, though there were no breakthrough devices. But we managed to find some curious items.

Statistcis

Overall new models 7

How To Read It

The price in Euro is shown for the European markets, for the US market it is usually safe to use the same number in dollars, but, of course, prices may differ, sometimes drastically.

The article structure is very simple: the Manufacturers are sorted in alphabetical order, you can quickly go to the manufacturer who interests you the most by clicking a link on top of the page. When describing a particular model we will be showing its approximate price when it appears on the market. Another factor is the grade models receive. I want to especially underline that this is a subjective grade formed from our understanding of a model, manufacturer, resources invested or not invested into its marketing. The grade can have a few variances, lets look at them all:

  • Bestseller – the model that excels in various ways (it could be the price, not necessarily specifications or features). Models marked as Bestsellers deserve a lot of your attention.
  • Player – notable devices typical for their class. These are mass market products that make up the bulk of sales in particular market segments.
  • Contender – phones in this category did not grow up to be a Player, but have a number of attractive traits (cost, for example, but cost could also be a negative factor, turning a Player into a Contender), they can lack many of the functions standard for this or that class. As a rule, devices made by the 2nd and 3rd echelon manufacturers end up here as well as overpriced phones from the main market players.
  • Technologies for Technologies Sake – niche products interesting thanks to their technological solutions, but not designed for a mass audience. Nokia 7710 is a good example. Judging by capabilities the phone is interesting, but its size and the speed are overweighing its pros and make it a niche solution.
  • Not for Everyone – also niche solutions that are different thanks to design or unique, but not necessary functions. Intended for a small group of customers who buys such things as means of self expression.
  • Mainstream Product – phones aimed at everybody and nobody in particular. No bright traits, majority of phones on the market.
  • Outsider – phones that, contradicting any sense, get to the market and do not attract customers one iota. Dead products not showing any sales numbers.

Acer

Acer Stream

  • Announced – May 27, press release
  • Release date: August
  • Approximate price: from 500 Euro
  • Position in model range: above Acer Liquid E
  • Rating:  Player

The first look

The device, based on Snapdragon platform with 1 GHz CPU, is the direct sequel of Liquid E, moreover the phones got its own user interface, which is in no way similar to HTC Sense, but very comfortable to use. It can be easily turned off in the menu and then you will have a standard Android interface.

The device has a 3.7AMOLED touch screen and works on Android 2.1 OS. It also has 512 MB of RAM and 2 GB of ROM, supports HSDPA, Wi-Fi b/g/n and Bluetooth data transfer standards. HDMI slot can be considered to be another advantage.

Acer Stream comes with 5 MPx camera with Auto Focus that can shoot HD video with up to 720 definition. There is also a microSD slot (it supports memory cards up to 32 GB). Unusual solution for Acer is the customization of interface, instead of standard Android UI tools the device now has different panels, ability to look through used applications and also support of UPnP and DLNA, similarly to LumiRead book reader that was announced the same day. The phone is 11.2 mm thick. Inside they managed to find a space for a FM-transmitter. In order to improve the sound of speakers Dolby Mobile sound enhancement technology was implemented. The device supports DivX/XVid video formats right from the box.

This is a very pleasant model, which, priced right, can become a serious competitor to the other manufacturers models that have already been announced.


Just5

Just5 CP11

  • Announced – May 21, press release
  • Release date:  August
  • Approximate price: from 100 Euro
  • Position in model range: above Just5 CP10
  • Rating:  Not for Everyone

Review

It is another addition to the senior phone segment. Unlike previous models this one has pop-out screen. The feature that is unlikely to be popular among grandmothers and grandfathers. As for the rest, it is a very interesting model, a kind of mistake correction.

Judging by the price, Just5 CP11 turns out to be a niche model. But if in case of the previous model it was fair to say that it will be bought equally by (or for) senior people and simply as the second phone for calls only, then in case of CP11 only the latter description is applicable. And problem is not in the price, which is too high for a very simple model with monochrome display and monophonic speakers. There is another problem. The device has three competitors: Just CP09, CP10 and pre-released Texet TM-B100. The last one resembles CP09 in every way including price tag. Compared to these phones CP11 looks interesting only because of its pop-out screen, but how many people will decide to buy their grandparents a phone with such a feature? Not many, I think. This is exactly why unlike previous models CP11 is a phone not for senior people, but for those who will use it as the second phone to call. The sales will tell whether it is true, but I think that it is.

The device is interesting from the point of view of mistake correction. CP10 had not very comfortable buttons, they were taken from CP09. Previous models used small inconvenient slot for the battery charger (it is hardly comfortable for the seniors to aim at it), in case of CP11 they added recharging cradle into which the phone can be placed easily. Finally CP11 has considerably larger screen than CP09 or 10. Altogether if the manufacturer will take out the wow effect of pop-out screen and make their new phone, for example CP12, the same as CP11 but with a normal big screen, it would be indeed the advancement of senior phone series. Just5 CP11 is the image model of this new category. It remains unclear how it will be met by the audience and will this segment have any further development.


HTC

HTC WildFire

  • Announced – May 17, press release (information was leaked the day before in Germany)
  • Release date:  July
  • Approximate price: from 220 Euro
  • Position in model range: above HTC Smart, opens the line of HTC Smartphones
  • Rating:  Player

The first look

The thing is that to my mind this is one of those few HTC Smartphones that is not overpriced from very beginning, the value for money with the Wildfire is good, even for the white market devices at the sales start. It is cheaper than HTC Hero, the price is comparable to the Tattoo, but the Wildfire is better than both in every way: presence of metal parts in the body, reliable optical trackball, big diagonal size of the screen, fresh Android and Sense. In the lower and middle price segments of Android platform the HTC Wildfire can cause a furor.

The thing is that unlike other manufacturers who cut here and there when they develop cheap devices, HTC cut the expenses only with one element display. Yes the Wildfire screen is far from perfect, only 240x320 pixels. But even here they kept capacitive display and multitouch. The working speed is on the same level as in Desire or Legend, the same with interfaces. It also has the same camera, the same Android version and the newer Sense. Among possible competitors there is Samsung i5700 but this device is technically worse in many important specifications (it has less RAM, lower camera resolution, no FM radio, smaller diagonal size of the screen); moreover, it is sold with the basic Android version, that is why with the same or lower price tag it cannot be called a direct rival of Wildfire.

So at the end we have the first truly affordable Android smartphone, with all the chances to become a massive bestseller. Phone with an easily comprehensible interface, set of features and specs able to satisfy the majority of users.


Nokia

Nokia X2

  • Announced – May 6, press release
  • Release date:  August
  • Approximate price: from 110 Euro
  • Position in model range: opens musical model range, above Nokia C5
  • Rating:  Player

Nokia announced the released of the new X-series phone Nokia X2. The start of sales is expected in August 2010, approximate retail price in Europe will be 110 Euro.

A candybar Nokia X2 is equipped with 2.2 QVGA display, at the same time it weights 81 gram, the thickness of the phone is 13 mm. Just as the older Nokia X3 and Nokia X6, the new device is designed for the music playback and aimed at users who prefer to combine functionality of the phone and music player in one device. New Nokia X2 has two stereo speakers, dedicated buttons for instant music access, FM radio and supports microSD memory cards up to 16GB. Among other features there is 5 MPx camera that can shoot video.

The device has the Bluetooth 2.1 module for wireless stereo headsets and through the 3.5 mm audio jack the owner can connect his own headphones. Fast file transfer is available via USB 2.0, comfortable management of music files is exercised through Ovi Player PC client and Windows Media Player 11.


Samsung

Samsung C3300

  • Announced – May 20, press release
  • Release date:  June
  • Approximate price: from 110 Euro
  • Position in model range: lower than Corby and C3510, the cheapest touch screen device
  • Rating:  Player

Samsung decided not to slow down the pace with which they release cheap touchscreen phones and immediately introduced another device with the Touchwiz Lite 2.0 UI to the market. It allows user to have up to 7 desktops with full screen widgets and intuitive 3x3 menu with Cartoon UI interface for young audience. The owners will be able to listen to their music by plugging in their headphones into 3.5-mm jack or by using two external speakers. Built-in memory can be expanded by memory cards up to 8GB. Also touchphone is equipped with 1,000 mAh battery. Samsung 3300 allows you to listen to the favorite music in background mode while using browser or other applications. Affordable Samsung C3300 will be released in late July with an approximate price of 110 Euros.


Versace (LG/ModeLabs)

Versace Unique

  • Announced – May 20, press release
  • Release date:  June
  • Approximate price: from 5 500 Euro
  • Position in model range: unique
  • Rating:  Not for Everyone

Versace fashion house in cooperation with ModeLabs and LG introduced the new mobile phone under its brand. The model is called Unique, it will be available in June. The device looks exquisite: it is enclosed in a square ceramic body, finished with 18 karat yellow gold or stainless steel. The back of the phone is covered with handmade leather with Versace logo on it.

Unique has 3 touchscreen cowered with solid sapphire glass. The phone supports 3G networks, has a media player and a 5 MPx camera with a flash. In addition, it uses Dolby Mobile sound enhancement technology. According to Versace CEO, Unique is not only an innovative product from technological perspective, but it is also an upscale fashion accessory. The device will be available in several colors including black, brown, violet and grey. It will cost from 5 500 to 15 000 Euro.


Vertu

Vertu Ascent 2010 (Vertu X)

  • Announced – May 12, press release
  • Release date:  June
  • Approximate price: from 5 500 Euro with aluminum body, 6 500 Euro in titanium
  • Position in model range: replacement for Vertu TI
  • Rating:  Not for Everyone

Vertu introduced its new Ascent 2010. It is a device in classic form factor with 2 16M colors QVGA screen protected by sapphire glass and with a numeric keyboard made of stainless steel. It works on S40 platform and is available with 8 or 32 GB of built-in memory. Moreover, the 8 GB phones have aluminum body with a grey or orange rubber or a brown leather finish. And the 32 GB device body is made of titanium and decorated with black or red leather.

Full review of Ascent 2010 will be published in few days.

Do you want to talk about this? Please, go to our Forum and let your opinion to be known to the author and everybody else.

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
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Translated by Alexander Alatortsev (a.alatortsev@gmail.com)

Published — 04 June 2010

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com

 

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