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CEBIT-2007: Vendors, networks, carriers and just a bit of phones
Our beloved cell phones had a much less impressive representation at CeBIT 2007 than would like them to have. Some of the eminent vendors ignored the exhibition, and those who actually attended it had nothing new to showcase. Which comes as no surprise, though – the main “playground” for cell phone makers is 3GSM Congress, and this is the place to go if you want to see new offerings. In its turn, CEBIT is interesting for telecommunication solutions, equipment, content and other things that its participants show in Hannover.
As regards handsets, what is really attractive about this exhibition is the ability to have hands-on experience with models, examine the menu, and figure out whether it is what you have been looking for. This is where seemingly shiny all metal casings fall flat – while they look spectacular on the shelves, in real life they pick up fingerprints and grease instantly. The issue comes to the surface especially at booths – “specially trained” girl is always somewhere around samples, polishing them time after time. The thing that might relieve some is that when carrying such handset in pocket it cleans itself. But prospective buyers shouldn’t get stunned by sparking casing on the shelf; every coin has a reverse side.
In terms of practicality and resistance to smudge, exclusive gadgets finished in natural ebony are beyond competition. Regrettably, if that’s the case, “practicality” of the price is not something we would speak aloud of. A reasonable compromise that feels good in hands might be offerings with casings made of matt or soft-touch plastic.
Attracting prospective buyers with looks of a handset is getting even harder these days, since there are too many eye-candy mobile toys lying on the shelves. Looking for bevy of features, sophisticated consumer turns his sight to smartphones and communicators, whereas others are lured into booths with “eye-grabbers”. The method that always works out – demonstration of streaming video on display, even better – promising the ability to watch TV broadcast right on the handset’s screen. With inauguration of common European standard of TV broadcast this year, all questions shall be answered. In Russia this technology is far from making it to the market, but whether it is a pity or not – that’s a moot point. Always-there debates on harmfulness of radio-wave radiation for humans have already made consumers sick and tired, at that the question how tiny display might hurt one’s eyes hasn’t received proper treatment yet. Even though it is quite obvious that long sessions of looking at a bright objected placed close enough to the eyes does no good to them.
This year Sony Ericsson focused on drawing visitors with musical talents of its offerings. DJ on the stand, and Walkman-branded handsets on their honorable places in the centre. Other handsets were scattered all over the booth and weren’t so notable in this music fiesta. Combination of green and violet in suits of the booth-men looked quite good and reminded of something very familiar that we had seen so many times.
At ZTE’s booth we stumbled upon strange “modesty” of the company’s representatives – there were only two models showcased (both were clamshells), however my attempt to take a snap instantly caused them to take the phone out of my hands gently, yet decidedly. What choice did I have apart from fighting with cute girls for an image of a unique and top-secret (?) model by this respectable company! A short conversation with the booth manager ended up in the same fashion – not allowed! I got really intrigued, honestly.
Austrian Emporia with its booth was a bit of a disappointment for me. The company specializes in phones for aged people, and its quite interesting solutions were of some note last year. It’s a shame, though, that the new models (two units – the V28 and the V710) are due out in the end of 2007 and sport only a couple of facelifts. It seems that even without fresh additions to its range the company feels good, selling highly-tailored phones for 200 Euro and more. This indicates that this particular niche is still uncovered by major vendors – they are put off by relatively small number of models they can sell there. Though, some positive trends will emerge in the near future, but it is all another matter after all.
A few words on handset accessories. This is where designers and, well, “designers” displayed their talents – some things should be looked at with sunglasses on. Nevertheless they produce such gadgets and even manage to sell them, hence there is some demand for such exotica. Questionable aesthetic value is only a part of the problem (if you want it so badly – why not?), what really confuses is evident drop in usability – twice as heavy handset, when designers struggle for every gram is a disappointment. Ergonomics of buttons is not the top-priority either – your fingers push sharp pieces of glass. Such gadget would be better off with a special guide “how to talk without scratching cheek and harming ears”. Another point of interest – quality of the glue used, is there any guarantee that all these trinkets won’t fall off after a week of stay in a lady’s bag?
Handset’s winter outfit – various crocheted cases. We do recommend involving grandmas, whose handmade scarf/socks/hats are not in demand these days. Quite good-looking things, even with slightly odd name of the distributor. Woollen cases will also be of some use in winter – warm battery normally keeps charge for longer periods.
The “basic instinct” couldn’t have been overlook by accessory makers. What a great many of “erotic”, or better to say ridiculous and naive things there was! The first question that sprang in my mind was: “Someone actually wears that?”. The next one was: “Is there any point in bringing these things to a hi-tech exhibition?”. I suppose it was not only me who was asking the latter question, as at the moment when I was in the booth it was already being wrapped up in non-transparent blue fabric. Thus, readers of Mobile-Review have a change to see a kind of exclusive photo.
Published 30 March 2007
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