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CTIA 2008

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Moto Z9 Sprint Instinct Sprint PTT Kyocera Nokia  

Apr 1, 2008, 8:00 AM   by Eric Zeman & Rich Brome
updated Apr 3, 2008, 8:40 PM

Our coverage of THE big US cell phone show. Hands-on with new phones from Samsung, Kyocera, Nokia, LG, Sanyo, Motorola, Playboy, Sharper Image, Clarity, HTC, ZTE, Velocity, Sony Ericsson, and a tour of Windows Mobile 6.1.

Motorola's Z9 is essentially a slider version of the RAZR2 V9. The styling and features are very similar. AT&T has a North-American exclusive on the Z9, and they will be offering it in the same "mahogany" color as the RAZR2 V9 they currently offer.

The Z9 does add a few tricks, such as video sharing and GPS that supports navigation services (LBS). This will be AT&T's first video sharing phone that isn't a Samsung or LG. This is also AT&T's first feature phone (non-smartphone) to support navigation software.

Motorola Z9  

First impressions of the Z9: it's a big phone. Like the RAZR2, it's a bit wider and taller than your average phone. Unfortunately, it doesn't manage the same impressive thin-ness of its clamshell cousin. It feels large in your hand, and a bit heavy as well. It's not "thick", but by modern standards it's not especially thin, either. You'd think that with only one QVGA display - instead of two like the RAZR2 - they'd be able to shave some thickness; apparently not.

If you can get past the size, though, there's a lot to like. It feels solid and very high-quality. The slide mechanism is excellent. The screen is huge and lovely. It's as much of a finger print magnet as it looks, but the same can be about most stylish phones these days.

The keys look like trouble, but they're surprisingly easy to use. The little chrome bumps are just pronounced enough to not miss, yet low and smooth enough to not be uncomfortable. The size of the phone is an advantage here: having the keys so spaced out goes a long way toward making them easy to use. Even the odd-looking soft keys and d-pad did not give us any trouble in our first few hours of use.

The 2 megapixel camera seems to produce decent photos. It's certainly above-average quality for a Motorola. A very bright LED flash helps in low-light situations. Unlike some smaller LED flashes, this one is actually useful. The camera UI is excellent, providing easy access to all key functions. It works in either landscape or portrait mode, depending on whether the phone is open or closed, respectively. The viewfinder is always completely full-screen, and photos are always captured and stored exactly as seen in the viewfinder, with no unexpected cropping.

Z9 screens  

The user interface is Motorola's older "Synergy" platform. It will look familiar to any long-time Motorola user, but Motorola has continued to tweak and enhance it. The graphics don't like nearly as dated as past Motos, and many menu actions are now accompanied by some kind of nifty animation. The main menu has a fade-in effect, and some menus and alerts slide or zoom on and off the screen. A very speedy processor means menus are extremely snappy; everything happens pretty much instantly.

All in all, the Z9 leaves a mostly positive first impression. It's a powerful phone with no obvious flaw in its implementation. The one catch is the size and weight. It will fit fine in just about any pocket, but the weight won't let you forget it's there.

On the flip side, the size does allow for a huge display and well-spaced keys. The interface also features very large text in all areas, in an easy-to-read font that is anti-aliased (smoothed) for extra clarity. For those looking for the largest keys and display text possible, the Z9 will be worth a serious look.

About the author, Eric Zeman & Rich Brome:

Eric has been covering the mobile telecommunications industry for 17 years at various print and online publications. He studied at Rutgers Newark and University of Kentucky, and has a degree in writing. He likes playing guitar, attending concerts, listening to music, and driving sports cars.


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Apr 22, 2008, 1:25 PM

Nokia N810

Hey did anyone get a chance to view this phone at CTIA? Xohm, what was it like? any information would be great

Apr 2, 2008, 5:09 PM

Instinct UI Question

So the "home" screen on the m800 Instinct is just the menu, like the iPhone? So the user CANNOT apply any sort of wall paper, let alone change the color of the UI itself.

I'm really wondering why Sprint was so afraid to include the Samsung TouchWIZ UI that just launched in Korea. Now that would have been really innovative compared to this bug-ridden build from the ground up (WHY??) fisher-price looking user interface.

It is my opinion that they should have let Samsung design the UI themselves, not outsource it to a 3rd party company. BAD idea.
The problem is that Sprint has all kinds of apps and services that they need on the menu. Any time Sprint has tried to apply their requirements to a manufacturer-designed menu, (which would be all of their non-entry-level phones in the past few years,...
one of the best phones to be available in the market.
T Mobster

Apr 7, 2008, 10:23 AM


Let me start off by saying I'm proud of Sprint and Samsung for coming up with the Instinct. This phone seems very profitable. Competition is what made America great at one time. IF YOU BUY AN UNLOCKED iPHONE YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO W/E HELL YOU WANT WITH IT AND IT SHOULDN'T BE RELOCKED. OTHERWISE DON'T CHARGE PEOPLE SUCH A HIGH PRICE FOR THESE WORTHLESS SOON TO BE OUTDATED DEVICE.
Before you know it walmart will be peddling Apple's iphone on shelves for $75 due to the fact so many better devices came out because people didn't want to wait for an unlocked iphone or the price to go down and the iphone has become yesterday's news. I hope the Samsung instinct is a big success that allows people way more freedom to tinker with it then Apple doe...
John Quick

Apr 4, 2008, 2:20 AM

Sony phones?

Any news from Sony Ericsson?
No. They were showing off the Xperia X1, but that's not really new.

They still haven't launched the Z750 that they announced at last year's CTIA, so they didn't really have much credibility to launch new models for the US.

Apr 4, 2008, 7:43 PM

Samsung Glyde

Was the Samsung Glyde available at all? I'm curious to see what that phone will look like. If it is, could you post a video of it?
It was not on display. If it were, believe me, we would have covered it! 😳

Apr 2, 2008, 3:23 PM

Samsung Soul

Samsung brought the new Soul (U900) to the show and they claim it is a GSM QUAD band (vs the tri band they brought to BWC 200😎. I am hearing that it will not be available in the U.S. anyway. Has anyone out there herd anything about this phone coming to the U.S. or if it can be purchased as an unlocked QUAD band?
That's pretty much what we were told... They did say that it has been upgraded at the last minute to be quad-band, but not to hold our breath for an official US release. I'm sure it will be available unlocked online, though.

Apr 5, 2008, 10:59 AM

Joby Zivio???

Anyone have any updated info on availability of the Joby Zivio bluetooth headset?

(their website for ref: http://www.joby.com/products/zivio/ )

It seemed to make a splash when announced a few months ago, but I can't find any news of it from CTIA. Zivio was supposed to be available this spring (according to the company), but still nothing but dead air out there in the marketplace and in the media.

Anyone have any current info on the Zivio?

Apr 3, 2008, 7:28 PM

Windows Mobile 6.1

Does anyone know if they will when they will start adding phones to the list of devices that can be upgraded"
I used to have a Shadow and now I have a Dash and I am dying to get that UI back from the Shadow without actually owning another one. Thanks
It's pretty much up to the carriers.

Apr 3, 2008, 11:33 PM

Isn't Sharper Image Bankrupt?

What's with the phones?
Maybe they are just going to become a brand name as opposed to all of those ridiculous stores selling 3000 dollar massage chairs, lol.

Kinda like when sega stopped seling gaming machines, but they still make games under the sega brand name.

Apr 1, 2008, 5:19 PM

Again T-Mobile fails to deliver

Everything seems to be AT&T, Sprint, Verizon. Nothing ground breaking for T-Mobile. Really sad. What is wrong with them as a company? Are they scared to show and talk about new devices?
Their focus has always been on affordable voice service for consumers. They leave the really high-end and enterprise stuff the other guys on purpose.
They're a foreign company that rely on over seas calls and haven't change in years. They now just follow AT&T on their technology in the US.

Sprint is actually the most innovative in the US. The "test" or use new phones and always try out new ser...
T-Mobile is too busy worrying about Engadget using its trademarked magenta color on its web site. 🤣
I agree it seems Tmo is always behind the curve of new Tech phones! I know it is becasue there 3G network is not ready. I stay with them for 2 reasons! 1) There customer service is great! In person or on the phone. I have a Sprint line and it is ...

Apr 3, 2008, 5:04 PM

Hey Rich... LG Phones

Rich, did LG bring any slim sliders (other than the Glimmer) that rival the LG KF510 that was unvailed at MWC 2008. Seems like Europe gets the cool phons and we get the cheep plastic phones. A KF510 would be killer in the US! 😎
We covered all of the new LGs. The Vu and Glimmer were the slick ones. No, no new sliders you haven't heard of.

Apr 2, 2008, 3:09 PM

Video Calling

When will carriers start offering Live Video Calls??? ... Never?
AT&T already does...

http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-phone-service/servi ... »

Granted it is one way only for video, but I hear it's pretty cool.
Probably never. Who really wants it? Sure it's nifty, but is it actually useful to anyone? I don't care to see the people I'm talking to, nor do I care for them to see me.

AT&T does offer video sharing, where you can show someone what you're lookin...

Apr 2, 2008, 1:54 PM

Where is the video?

Be sure to check out our video that shows a live demo comparing CDMA-iDEN with CDMA-CDMA and iDEN-iD 😕
Ah... that's what happens when you write this stuff at 3am after a long, exhausting day. 🤭 The video is shot... we'll post it tonight. Sorry!

Apr 2, 2008, 5:58 PM

VZW's enV2

...looks pretty ugly on the outside. The extra-huge keypad is a real turnoff, it looks like it's made for the elderly.
I kind of like it...

I'll wait to see it in person tho, because I'm concerned it's still a little on the big side. I wish they would put a hold switch on it, too. I can't stand candybar soft keypad locks.

Apr 3, 2008, 11:17 AM

oh snap!

In the samsung instinct video. When the lady said "photo's, shopping" I thought I heard "photoshop" i had to back it up and listen again. lol
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