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CeBIT 2006. New smartphones and communicators.

Its been quite unreal to expect something totally new at this years CeBIT which started one month after 3GSM Congress which was full of new announcements of smartphones and communicators. Another reason for that was the experience of last years exhibition in Hannover, when Samsung was the only company that showed something new. Quite interesting model HTC Universal was presented as plastic mockup (T-Mobile was unable to show anything because Windows Mobile 5.0 which as OS for this device was not announced officially at that moment).

In the end CeBIT lost the new announcement competition against 3GSM, but the situation on the whole was definitely better than last year. We will not discuss those models that were already announced and presented at 3GSM congress again (HP iPaq 6900, Fujitsu Siemens T800, Wistron SP310, Samsung Kingfish III, Samsung i320, HTC Star Track, Asus P305), you can read about them in the corresponding article. Its interesting that all new products work under WM 5.0 OS.

Navigational communicators E-Ten G500 and Mio A700 were announced pretty long time ago, thats why we shall not include them into events list. Both models are located in our testing lab, so you can surely expect reviews in the nearest future.

For Samsung model i310s primary importance is another entry in the biography first phone in the world with 8gb built-in memory. The phone almost fully replicates design of i300, the differences are increased memory size, new OS (Windows Mobile 5.0 for Smartphone instead of Windows Mobile 2003 SE for Smartphone). And since the difference between WM versions for smartphones (unlike version for Pocket PC) is pretty unnoticeable, the only major difference is increase of HDD capacity. The stand by time for this model is a question that remains actual, since in case with i300 it could have been whole lot better than it was. Samsungs competitors are heading over to increase of built-in memory as well. Some choose hard disk drive, others prefer flash-memory.

T-Mobile officially announced MDA Vario II (platform used - HTC Hermes). Since HTCs main customers are operators who either already launched 3G network, or are planning to do so in the nearest future, the companys goal is to add support of UMTS/SHDPA into its new devices as quickly as possible. At a glance the model is 3G edition of HTC Wizard platform (its full review can be found on our web-site), however after closer examination it turns out that there are enough improvements: 300mhz, switch to microSD memory card format, real scrolling wheel, 2mpx camera with macro mode. This is one of the last models with thick case, almost all upcoming products will be presented in slim design.

The long-time anticipated model from BenQ P50 which was in development for over two years (a detailed review of BenQ P50 can be found here), has been released after all. It had BenQ brand on the front panel, thats despite the circulating rumors that it might be called Siemens P50. BenQ Mobile presented new model, BenQ-Siemens P51, in P50s case. With this announcement the company was able to shoot three rabbits with one bullet: biggest drawback was fixed (P51 works under WM 5.0 for Pocket PC OS, the old OS was limiting the devices possibilities), a feature that is being in high demand was added (built-in satellite GPS receiver), no money or time was spent on developing new platform, old design was used.

You could read and see first images of Asus MyPal P525 (codename Galaxy) in our predictions published in January. Now the model has been officially announced. Its form-factor is standard candy bar with simple keypad, although its quite massive. Asus MyPal P525 supports 3G networks, it has WiFi and Bluetooth. Interesting fact is that the company is positioning the model as VoIP solution in the first place. 2mpx camera with autofocus and business card recognition software should be highlighted as well.

The last product that I wanted to tell you about today is model M1a from Tatung. This is a company from Taiwan, a relatively freshman on smartphone market. At 3GSM Congress it announced budged smartphone Tatung M1. We reviewed this model, but it left us with negative impressions. It was not about products unfinished status, which is a fair excuse for a prototype, it was all because of extremely inconvenient keyboard and bad display. After realizing problems of the first model, analyzing the feedback, Tantung cancelled M1 and announced M1a which has logical improvements good keyboard and satisfying QVGA-display.

Thats it, there were no other new products on CeBIT 2006 in smartphone/communicator segment. We have to wait for Computex which promises to become especially interesting this year. Let me remind you that the exhibition will be held in June in Taiwan.

Anton Kotov (anton.kotov@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Alexandr "Lexx" Zavoloka (lexx@frag.su)

Published — 24 March 2006

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