This week in Orlando the wireless industry's hoi polloi and hoity toady will gather for the twice-annual CTIA exhibition (why the entire consumer electronics industry manages to squeeze its business into a single CES but the cellphone people need two shows is one of those "why is Kim Kardashian famous" mysteries — but I digress). I could postulate on what the major handset makers will do, but we'll know for sure in a few scant days — and so will you. Or, do a Google search on "Mobile World Congress 2011 new phones" to get a glimmer of the goodies likely to be launched this week. Maybe I've been doing this too long, but I'm getting a bit cynical about significant further cellphone innovations. Over the next six months or so, well be seeing more dual core phones to follow the Motorola Atrix (perhaps some that also will serve as the core for a laptop accessory like Atrix), and a lot more LTE phones, and a few of both — perhaps the iPhone 5, for instance. But there'll likely be no revolutionary technology breakthroughs at CTIA, which begs the question: Have we reached the cellphone Peter Principal? Are all the great cellphone breakthroughs taken? Let's discuss.
Citizens of China, prepare for your every move to be tracked by the government. The Chinese government says it's monitoring citizen's cellphones strictly for learning about traffic congestion, but is that really all it's tracking?
Only a month after the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc nabbed the record for being the world's thinnest smartphone — NEC comes along and kicks its slim butt to the curb by a whole 1mm.
Still rocking a Motorola RAZR or a Nokia 3210 dumphone? Wish you could get Facebook access on your non-smartphone? You can, because Facebook will soon be built-in to standard GSM SIM cards.
In the TV business, a hit TV show is said to "jump the shark" when it can no longer sustain the qualities that made it a hit in the first place, and so resorts to some sort of weird stunt in what is usually a failed effort to maintain fading ratings. This week, the cellphone business may have jumped the shark with two bizarre events. Last week, Sprint unwrapped the Kyocera-made Echo, a cell phone designed somewhat like a trundle bed. Echo looks like a thicker version of a regular slab cell, but the top 3.5-inch screen top flips up and over and clicks alongside a second 3.5-inch screen pancaked underneath to create a single 4.7-inch square screen with an eighth-inch bezel seam in the middle. One program can be run across both screens as if it were a single display, or each screen can run a separate, independent program. Then, today (Friday, February 11), and tomorrow, T-Mobile will give anyone who signs a two-year deal any phone in the store for free, including the carrier's $100 4G models. That's right — competition in the cellphone business has gotten to the point that T-Mobile has been prompted to actually give away its phones. These are unlikely to be isolated retail or product "jump the shark" incidents. We're sure to see more cell strangeness as the World Mobile Congress convenes next week in Barcelona, a potential Shark Week sans the Discovery Channel cameras, which we'll explore after our own jump.
Nokia's had a tough go of it the last few years, losing tons of market share in both the high end (to Apple and Google) and the low end (to Chinese manufacturers). Now, they're giving up on running their own mobile OS and are going to start selling Windows phones.
While most cellphone cameras are striving for more megapixels, a company called Pelican Imaging wants to use an array of 25 micro-cameras to not just take pictures, but also to apply HDR and even do 3D depth sensing.
In galaxy far far away, Obi-wan Kenobi once famously said, "these are not the droids you are looking for" — he's wrong, at least as far as INQ's Android-powered Facebook phone goes. Last month's accidental certification test leak revealed the INQ Cloud Touch, a smartphone with Facebook at its central core — now it's officially broken cover.
Softbank/a> already rules the streets of Japan as the only carrier of the iPhone, now the company hopes to lock in the preschool and senior citizen market with what may be the simplest phone in the world.
Most phones have one touchscreen. But apparently an upcoming phone from Sprint, the Kyocera Echo, will have two, according to a section of their website that has since been removed.