|Mon Jan 15, 2007 - 6:07 PM EST - By Dieter Bohn, Marcus Adolfsson, Chris Kingree
Well CES is over and we're beat. It was Dieter's first CES and the effort of constant walking and talking has taken its toll. Nevertheless there's still a few photos and news bits that need ogling, so let's get to it!
Sling Media had a big booth at CES, to go along with their big announcement that there will soon be a Sling client for the PalmOS. Sadly, they aren't able to give an ETA, vague or otherwise, as to when the beta (or the official release) is going to be available.
That's a mighty big booth there, is it not? If you can't tell from the mass of heads at the bottom of the shot, let me tell you that the booth was very well attended. So well attended, in fact, that we had a dickens of a time talking to the official folks from Sling. That was probably better (for the Sling people, anyway), because we were pretty relentless about wanting the PalmOS version soon.
One amusing bit about Sling's display is the above photo - a Treo 650 used as an example of their mobile solutions. Technically, the new client ought to run on a 650, but Sling strongly recommends that you only use it on a device with a 3G connection; namely on the 700p (or on the already-available client for Windows Mobile devices).
Palm had a representative at Sling's booth - along with the requisite swag (mousepads, in this case).
Here's the Sling Client running just fine on the new Treo 750 on Cingular's network. I'm sure that Sling was thankful that Cingular had their 3G UMTS network up and running in Las Vegas.
Oh my, here's the big deal - the Sling Client running just fine on a Treo 700p on Sprint's network. There was no noticable difference in quality or speed on the 700p. Actually, the only real difference I could see were minor interface tweaks - including the fact that the PalmOS client didn't display the video's framerate. Let's hope that Sling left it out for some reason other than potential embarrassment over what the PalmOS client can handle.
I had to visit the TomTom booth one more time, as I had a bit of confusion: what the heck was the difference between the TomTom Go and the TomTom One. A big difference, it turns out. Both offer the latest version of TomTom Navigator (which you can get on any modern Treo) and act as Bluetooth speakerphones (Nice!). The TomTom Go, though, offers something more: A 20 gig hard drive - meaning you can easily add photos and music to it. Pictured below is their interface for music and photos. Seems pretty good, eh? Even better, if you have an iPod, you can even plug that little bugger into the TomTom Go and control the iPod via the TomTom!
First up, on the right we find the Spotwave Z1900 (Buy at TreoCentral), a signal-strength booster that works with pretty much any cell phone service - except, notably, Verizon. Verizon may be "all about the network", but apparently their network is so insanely patchworked and convoluted that it's difficult to support it.
The rest of the photos are from the "Best of CES" awards booth. Some may work with your Treo, some don't yet but definitely should. Let's talk about these gadgets next to the their photos.
|Next, I must mention the Sony MEX-BT5000 CD receiver for cars. Why is that? Because it's a Bluetooth Stereo from a reputable company with full support for A2DP and AVRCP. Using your built-in car stereo as your "bluetooth headphones" is such a no-brainer to me, I'm flabbergasted that there aren't more solutions out there. At $399, though, you'll pay for it.
|This is a neat little SD card from A-DATA Technology. It's a 2-gig card with a display right on the back of it showing you how much storage space is left - the display appears to be powered by an internal battery of some sort (it would have to be). It's a simple idea and perhaps not worth the extra cost (well, it's only $50 bucks, but still), but I like it.
|The last of the "best of the best of" I'll post here is this suitcase from Innovus Designs, which they're calling the "Eclipse Solar Gear Hybrid Notebook Case." It's a laptop case that offers solar charging, an auxilary battery, and a cooling system. Yes, it's overkill. Yes, it's not very ergonomic. Yes, it's overpriced at $399. But sometimes you're in a situation that calls for an industrial-looking metal suitcase that can be powered by the sun. There's just something Secret Agent about it.
Last week may have been all about the iPhone (TreoCentral's own live coverage and subsequent analysis was pretty extensive), but that doesn't mean that the phones that got overshadowed are anything to sniff at. First of all, of course, we had the Treo 750 on Cingular released just before CES (full review here). Secondly, we have these neat little jobs, below:
|Here we have the LG VX8400, the first of what Verizon hopes will be many MediaFlo-enabled phones. What now? MediaFlo is yet another entrant into the mobile-TV space, we found them over at the Qualcomm booth showing of this phone and talking about their special radioset that allows you to watch broadcast TV - sort of. What they offer is a set of two dozen or so channels (no On-Demand, sorry) that you can tune in to - though it's likely you'll need that 1991ish antenna sticking up to get signal. Verizon is calling it V-Cast Mobile TV (not to be confused with V-Cast, which is little downloadable clips, right?). In any case, nice idea, poor implementation. I just wish one of these mobile video solutions would just up and smash the heck out of the others - choice is nice, but we're drowning in choice these days.
|And here is another video phone, this one found at the HTC kiosk at Microsoft's massive booth. Available only on Modeo (which, in turn, is only availabe in New York City), the phone is easily the best-looking "Video Cellphone" I've ever seen. Again, though, you're stuck using some propriatary service with a limited feature-set, which makes Sling look better and better to me lately. This Modeo phone, though, it really does bring the pretty.
Nokia may not have great market presence in the US (especially compared to how well they are doing in Europe), but they had a huge presence at CES. Not only did they have a booth in one of the main halls, but they also had a gigantic stand-alone tent outside.
Those of you impressed with the iPhone's "full Safari web browser" may want to take a look at Nokia, though, as their latest web browser is based on the same code (webkit) and is just as nice.
Here is the Nokia E70. It's not brand new or anything, but the last time I saw this form factor was the released-in-the-late-jurrasic-period Nokia 6800, and this is definitely an improvement. I still am not a big fan of the form factor, but I am of the web browser.
Another phone to put in the "a form factor I'm not a fan of, but worth a look anyway" category is the Nokia 9300. Again, a full webkit browser and decent productivity apps. I really do like Symbian, I really do wish that it wasn't almost completely irrelevant in the United States. I used to be able to talk intelligently about why Nokia can't get a decent smartphone foothold in the States, but after playing with phones like this I forgot all those reasons and just wonder "Why not?"
Last but not least in Nokia's lineup is a form factor I do like: the Nokia E61. Playing with the phone, I was again blown away by the web browser (noticing a theme here?), but then I held it up next to my Treo 750v and suddenly felt.. underwhelmed. Maybe it's the width, maybe it's the lack of curves, but somehow the E61 feels way too utilitarian to me.
We'll end quickly here with the Samsung i760, a Windows Mobile Pocket PPC-Edition smartphone due out later this year on Verizon. Something about sliding the 5-way down to make more room for a standard 12-key dialpad just grabs me deep-down and tugs. The keyboard is a slider like so many of those HTC PocketPC phones I've grown to hate (Sprint 6700, T-Mobile MDA, I could go on). However, it does appear from holding the phone that one might actually be able to type on this thing one-handed. Plus, it's thinner and feels much better than any of those HTC monsters. They didn't have any working demos at CES, though, probably because this phone is meant to run Crossbow, the next version of Windows Mobile.
That's probably enough for today. Tomorrow we'll post some of the more amusing stuff from CES 2007. For now, my cold medication is wearing off, so it's time to go. Next up: CTIA 2007 coverage from TreoCentral in March!
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