CES 2010: Live Report

CES, the largest consumer electronics show is underway in Las Vegas, Nevada. PhoneArena is here to bring you the latest news and information on the new devices and services announced during the event.



After every other US carrier adopted Android in its lineup, AT&T will finally be getting their first piece of Android goodness in the form of the Motorola BACKFLIP that got announced at CES. Actually, starting this quarter, the BACKFLIP will become available in almost all parts of the world – North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia, so hopefully users around the world won’t have to wait too long before they can enjoy this handset’s fairly untraditional form-factor. Basically, when the phone is closed, the screen is on the front, while the keyboard sits on the back, so you have to flip the keyboard backwards to have it operational. You can check our hands-on video with the Motorola BACKFLIP below in order to see how it’s done.

Our first impressions from the Motorola BACKFLIP arethat it would really appeal to consumers who would purchase a compact,yet capable smartphone, equipped with a full QWERTY keyboard. Inaddition to the 3.1-inch HVGA touchscreen, the BACKFLIP provides theuser with an alternative way of navigation, which is kind of strangereally – through a trackpad on the back of the screen.To tell you the truth, we can hardly see it being of much use, whichkind of explains why we haven’t come across this feature so far. TheQWERTY keyboard is okay – it’s neither striking, nor uncomfortable. Onething that bothered us however was the unpleasant cheap feel the phonehas to it.

Software-wise, at launch the Motorola BACKFLIP willhave the 1.5 version of Android, but fortunately, there will be anupdate to v2.1 later. On top of the OS, you’ll find MOTOBLUR (theinterface’s logo can also be seen on the back of the keyboard, so theyare kind of openly vaunting this now). If you are not acquainted withthe manufacturer’s social-centric interface, you can always check ourreview of the Motorola CLIQ.

As said, the Motorola BACKFLIP is scheduled for launch sometime this quarter, so expect our review of it soon enough.

Hands-on with Motorola BACKFLIP:

HTC Nexus One

After years of speculation, last week the rumors came true and the Google Phone was announced, officially known as the Nexus One.  The device is heavy on specs with the 3.7" AMOLED display immediately stealing our hearts.  As always, what really counts is brains and the Nexus One's 1GHz Snapdragon processor is what really sets this device apart.  Other important points of interest are a 5 megapixel autofocus camera with flash and the Android 2.1 operating system.  In Europe, we've already seen devices with 1 GHz processor and large display. In the US, there are other phones with similar specs- the Droid also has a 3.7" display and runs on Android 2.0.1, the Moment has an AMOLED screen and 800MHz processor and the Hero/Droid Eris both have 5 megapixel camera- so what makes this phone so special?  Well first off is that it will be sold exclusively though Google, though carrier subsidies will be available to new and qualifying customers.

So what about the device itself?  What first strikes you is the enormous screen on such a thin device; the Nexus One measures just 11.5mm thin and the 3.7" display dominates the front. According to HTC, the aluminium frame, which is connected to the chassis made it possible to make it so thin and sturdy. It is similar in feel to the iPhone, but the combination of wide and thin, combined with the plastic casing, makes it slipperier than we'd prefer.  It is also top-heavy which only adds to the phone's propensity to jump out of your hand.  The basic design is very similar to Sprint's Hero, which our normal-sized hands prefer in terms of feel.

Powering the device on quickly made us forget about the awkward feel.  The AMOLED display is one of the best we've encountered, and some of the Live Wallpapers actually introduce depth to the interface (think 3D, but it doesn't move with you.)  This thing is blazing fast, noticeably moreso than the Droid. The 1GHz processor is really felt and it flies through the new 3D animations.  Android 2.1 is a nice upgrade from 2.0, but nothing groundbreaking.  We do find ourselves missing HTC's Sense UI and multitouch implementation in the browser.  The Google Phone looks to be a lock for best Android phone to date, but does it have enough to take on the mighty iPhone?  Check back soon for our full review to find out!

Hands-on with HTC Nexus One:

HTC HD2 for T-Mobile

T-Mobile customers surely have a reason to celebrate now as they know their carrier will be officially getting the HTC HD2. We spent some time with the HD2 for T-Mobile and not surprisingly, found it is literally unchanged when compared to the European model. In this case however, that’s not a bad thing at all, since the HD2 is one of the most spectacular smartphones we have ever seen. By packing some really powerful hardware, it manages to deliver a truly great experience. Customers of the other carriers can only envy T-Mobile’s users for that one. Check our HTC HD2 Review, or take a look at this article, if you want to see the 4.3-inch smartphone compared to the Apple iPhone 3GS.

HTC Smart

As strange as this may sound, we are here with the HTC Smart, HTC’s first featurephone. So, um… how’s it going, Smart? Guess it’s not very cool to be the simplest guy in the family? Hey, wait a second, the HTC Smart may not be particularly bright, but it is capable enough to be running the manufacturer’s Sense user interface. By doing that, the Smart will be delivering the HTC experience to the entry-level segment, which would be well-received by users who do not wish to pay for all the extra smartphone features, but would still enjoy an up-to-date looking software. And that basically is the HTC Smart, a Brew MP based featurephone, designed to be affordable and sexy. Fortunately, it is said that the new Brew platform is fairly light, so the handset’s modest hardware should be good enough to deliver a smooth experience. The Smart will be available in Europe and Asia this Spring. AT&T has also said it plans to offer Brew MP based phones, although it’s uncertain whether the carrier will get the Smart at some point.

LG Lotus Elite

The original LG Lotus become available from Sprint back in 2008. Its 2nd iteration, the LG Elite was announced today. We liked the original Lotus and gave it an 8.7 rating in our review. We are not going to go in detail and explain every subtle difference but will give you major stuff which is the touch-sensitive front display. Everything else is about the same (not counting the increased weight, the three new shortcut keys and the 32GB external memory support).

The external display has grown in resolution and size in addition to its touch capabilities. The whole idea is of course to use the phone without the need to open it all the time. That’s why only the most important functionality is accessible through the front display. There are several different screens which can be switched by swiping your finger from left to right or vice-versa. Speed Dial, Contact, Call History and Picture viewing are some of the available options (each one can be turned on/off).

The other not so major updates are redesigned hinge, D-pad and the keys around it.

If you liked the original Lotus, you will definitely like its revised version. We’ll hold our judgment until we get our hands on a final version and do a proper review.

Hands-on with LG Lotus Elite:

LG GT540

LG, just like almost any other mobile phone manufacturer slowly but steadily starts to push out more and more Android OS based devices. After the debut of the GW620, which we already previewed, here comes their second Android phone.  Don’t expect it to be anything special or extraordinary in terms of specifications. What attracts the attention is its design – with very round edges and metal like trim around the corners.  The controls are a combination of two touch sensitive buttons (back and menu), while the home, call and end are regular ones. 

Specs-wise, there is not a lot to talk about – 3 mega-pixel camera and … that’s about it. Again, LG has put more emphasis on the design, then on the specs.  Still it looks like an interesting phone, so stay tuned for its review.

Hands-on with LG GT540

LG GW990

LG Rumor Touch

The LG Rumor Touch is the 3rd model of the Rumor series. As the name implies, instead of a keypad on the front, the phone will feature a touch-sensitive screen, which will use resistive technology. Naturally, the UI has been optimized for use with fingers. The actual screen size and resolution are increased as well to accommodate the touch interface (3 inches and 240x400 pixels resolution). Other hardware upgrades include EV-DO rev.0 data and 2 mega-pixel camera.

The software has undergone some refreshing as well. The main menu is now a list of all available options (of course customizable).

A new software feature is the Favorites option. It pretty much consists of four screens, where you can position and arrange the photo thumbnails of your favorite contact the way you like it. One screen could be your personal contacts, the other your business ones, etc. Pretty nifty.

The LG Rumor Touch will be available later this quarter.

Hands-on with LG Rumor Touch:

Palm Pre Plus

The Palm Pre Plus… finally, the exciting webOS smartphone is coming to Verizon, just as we had heard throughout last year. The question about what that “Plus” actually adds to the device sounds pretty natural right now. Hope you won’t be disappointed to hear that the new stuff is just twice as much storage space (now 16GB) and some minor design touches, namely the Pre Plus lacks the button below the screen and comes with a conductive Touchstone back cover. In the beginning, the Palm Pre Plus will ship with webOS 1.3.5, but will later get an OTA update to version 1.4, which will bring video recording and editing capabilities.

Hands-on with Palm Pre Plus:

Palm Pixi Plus

Palm’s second webOS device will also find its way into Verizon’s lineup, starting January 25. The Palm Pixi Plus adds just a single feature to its Sprint twin, but what a feature it is – Wi-Fi! Definitely a must have for every self-respecting smartphone, be it high-end or not. There will also be optional Touchstone back covers in different colors like pink, blue, green, orange and black.

Hands-on with Palm Pixi Plus:

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