In the cell phone world, few trade shows are bigger than the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) show held twice a year, in the spring and in the fall. The spring event is the bigger of the two, and this year, it'll be in Orlando, Florida. At the 2006 CTIA in Las Vegas last year, we chose several products that we thought would be a big hit. Now, a year later, let's see how well our picks did.
Our initial impression: "...It's attractively designed in a sleek candy bar package. But more important, it has a lot of features, and it seems to do all of them well. With a 3.2-megapixel camera, the K790a's image functionality is impressive, with autofocus, a xenon flash, video recording and playback, a 16X digital zoom, and red-eye reduction."
Our hands-on verdict: It won our Editors' Choice award. With an amazing selection of features and great performance, the Sony Ericsson K790a is the best camera phone we've seen to date.
Our initial impression: "The SGH-T719 is the first flip phone with support for RIM's BlackBerry Connect e-mail capabilities. It's ultrasleek and lightweight (3.5 ounces), and it boasts a beautiful 262,000-color internal display. To complement its e-mail prowess, the handset features a SureType keyboard, much like the one found on the BlackBerry 7100 series, where two letters are assigned to each key and predictive-text technology aids with word entry."
Our hands-on verdict: If you don't need the features of a full-fledged smart phone but crave the push e-mail capabilities, the BlackBerry Connect-enabled Samsung SGH-T719 is a good place to start; just be prepared to be frustrated by the SureType keyboard.
Our initial impression: "Disney Mobile is a new MVNO running on Sprint's network, and it's designed for the whole family. The first two handsets, the LG DM-L200 and the Pantech DM-P100, come with a wealth of features, including a 1.3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, a speakerphone, and voice dialing... parents can set when the phone is used and which numbers it can call, determine spending allowances for both calls and messages, locate their kids with GPS capabilities, and send family messages."
Our hands-on verdict: We like the incorporation of Disney content in the form of wallpaper, ring tones, and access to Disney Zone, a Disney Web portal. It has excellent family-friendly features that parents would really appreciate.
Our initial impression: "Seniors want cell phones, too, but they have specific needs that should be addressed. In particular, they want simple, easy-to-use handsets that lack fancy features but have large displays and buttons to aid those with poor vision...GreatCall, a new MVNO aimed at seniors, introduced two handsets that incorporate much of the above. The Jitterbug Dial has large, brightly backlit keypad buttons, a basic interface, and a utilitarian design. Since it has a full keypad, the Dial is meant for users who will make calls regularly. Alternatively, for emergencies only, the Jitterbug OneTouch ditches the standard keypad in favor of three one-touch buttons that connect the user to a carrier operator, emergency services, and a user-programmed contact."
Our hands-on verdict: Both the Jitterbug Dial and the Jitterbug OneTouch are excellent cell phones for senior citizens, thanks to their large buttons and easy-to-use controls. We also appreciate the number of services GreatCall provides for its elderly customers.