Probably one of the cooler phones we saw on the show floor at CES was the Neonode N2. This is a phone that's been available in Europe for a while, and now Neonode is making a play to bring it into the U.S. by the second quarter. It is available unlocked from European stores for about 350 Euros, and the representatives we spoke to said they are hoping to sell it for about $299 through a U.S. carrier.
It is teeny tiny itty bitty small, small, small. Did we mention that it is diminutive, small of stature, and minute? Now that that point is drilled home, this is also one nifty piece of hardware. It is a simple black block with a grip-y black paint finish. It is also very light. The extreme pocketability of this phone means you can really take it anywhere. There are very few buttons. Only a volume toggle and power button are on the left of the phone. Otherwise you need to use the touch screen to interact with the N2.
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Rather than use a touch screen LCD like the iPhone, Neonode instead opts for an older, infrared-based technology. Essentially, an IR field is floating just above the screen. When you press the screen, you interrupt the field and it activates the corresponding button below. The most interesting part of the UI is that rather than simple touch gestures, you use up and down, and side to side sweeping gestures to access the phone's different menus. This is a lot of fun. The phone provides you with guides to show you exactly where you sweep for different actions. The N2 provides haptic feedback, so you know when you've pressed buttons to dial numbers or compose messages.
The N2 also has a silver joystick at the bottom. The joystick is used only for select applications, such as the SMS composition screen. It helps you move the cursor around for faster editing. You also use it for browsing the web and zooming around web pages.
The N2 offers a lot given how small a package it is wrapped in. Quad-band GSM/EDGE, stereo Bluetooth, 2 Megapixel camera, video playback, web browsing, SMS and MMS. Really you'll find everything you'd expect in a mid-range feature phone.
We shot some video of it so you can really get a sense of how it works.
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