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CTIA 2011: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

As usual at CTIA there were a lot of smaller manufacturers mainly from China that play the second or even the third fiddle on the market. Some of them are large companies like Huawei, ZTE and Konka and some are tiny aggregators "producing" phones at "their" factories, and others were some companies that only experts know about that produce a lot of the phones later sold under famous brands. Today we talk about some of these manufacturers and a few interesting show details.

Blu

The booth of this American company was bigger and better placed than the booth of Nokia. Blu is of a particular interest to our Russian readers Ц the company will be netering the Russian market this summer, so you will see much more of it soon. Many models offer attractive design (I'm not talking about the girls in the booth here, although they did too), quality materials and more. The most interesting model to me (unfortunately, not in terms of the design) was a dual SIM Android phone called Magic 2. The release is scheduled in a month Ц I can't wait, a dual SIM Android is my dream.

BYD

A manufacturer of batteries, cars and some other trinkets decided to step into the phone market Ц the result is pieces of junk with awful screens and, as strange as it may seem, with bad batteries. Samsung is releasing a 10.1" tablet with a 6800 mAh battery while the biggest manufacturer of batteries includes only a 4750 mAh battery. Also the presented tablet can operate under Android, Windows 7 and even MeeGo! Why MeeGo?!

Haier

One of the biggest appliances manufacturersis trying to get back into the American phone market after a few years. We had seen the first robins of spring at CES, but this time it was the whole flock. Judging by the phones they were showing I understand why the company had to quit this market and what will likely happen to it again Ц a few dozens of unremarkable models you would not remember or desire (again, I am talking about phones, not girls).

Huawei

The tongue-tongue-twisting-name company presented (as it is customary these days) a few Androids, including the S7 tablet. Unlike its fellow Chinese companies Huawei is up to the job Ц the design of the phones is nice and the screens are excellent. However, the presentation did not go so well Ц the phones were seated on glowing rests that would fall apart if someone tried to pick up the phone. Well, you have to learn to creep before you leapЕ

Kyocera

These folks really made my day! Despite the showcase opening with a design abstrusity and a mass of ordinary mediocrity, a dual screen Android called M9300 Echo still caught my eye. I do not understand why they called it Echo Ц it's not like it the screens reflect each other Ц they either display their halves of an image or work independent of each other. Look at the pictures and the video Ц it is really cool.

PCD

Sometime ago a bunch of major carrier managers decided to leave their managing and launch their own business of pushing phones of unknown manufacturers (or known but small) to their old buddies still working for these same carriers. So this is where minor manufacturers come for a favor now. For over thirty years of this activity the company has been changing its name and the owners and very soon due to the aging it will also renew the management. Will PCD survive? We will see. But so far this is where you can get phones by Sharp, protected Casios, invisible phones and other stuff you won't find anywhere because no one wants it and even (believe it or not): Kin 1 and Kin 2. Despite the fact that Microsoft has stopped their production they are still there under a different brand. Now this is what I call true gritЕ

ZTE

An ordinary galore of ordinary Androids that makes you yawn. The only noteworthy thing I could find was that the company designers are big fans of good old hardware buttons. I could not help but mention this fact because I am a huge fan of real buttons myself.

Like WhateverЕ

At CTIA you can find not only phones and phone accessories manufacturers but also companies somehow related to mobile communications in general. For example, you can find antennas and generators produced by a company like Caterpillar or, interestingly, even by the faucet manufacturer Kohler.

Some showcases were quite unusual.

Unfortunately, due to the tragic events, DoCoMo, that usually brings a few dainties from the Japanese market, was not present at the convention this year. The empty space of their showcase was filled with flowers and a poster with condolences and an SMS number for donations to the Red Cross.

And finally, I could not help showing you the ice bar in the Peabody hotel that hosted Mobile Focus Ц a closed event for the press in a Hawaiian style.

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.

Michael Savuskan (msav @ mobile-review.com)
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Translated by Robert Mugattarov (mugattarov@gmail.com)

Published — 31 March 2011

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