One of the bigger brand announcements of the week came from Sagem and Puma. The two companies teamed up to deliver the Puma phone, which offers users into the whole "sport" lifestyle a phone to call their own.
As a handset, it's nothing spectacular to look at. In fact, it looks like the Palm Pre, but without the slider. The screen looks good, especially with the red and black Puma coloring that's used on most screens. There are several hardware buttons, such as send/end and back, below the touch screen. The felt a little wobbly on the unit we played with. Its rounded shape means it slips easily into/out of pockets, and it is certainly compact.
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Nearly the entire back surface of the phone is a solar cell. It collects energy from any light source (sun, incandescent, fluorescent) to power the phone. Sixty minutes of sunlight gives you 15 minutes of talk, 35 SMS messages, or 2 hours of music playback. It's not really attractive, but I really like the idea of using solar energy to power phones.
The user interface was completely custom designed from the ground up. In reality, it's a vehicle to promote the Puma brand. Everything about what the UI offers ties back to the things an active, Puma-loving person is going to want to do.
There are a lot of sports-related applications on board, such as a pedometer, a GPS-equipped bicycling app that will map and record routes and a really neat stopwatch. The Puma also has plenty of lifestyle apps, such as the camera, music and video playback, social networking, and of course quick and easy access to the Puma World site/store.
Who knows if or when it might ever reach the U.S. market, but it's an interesting exercise in using brand power and community to sell a phone.
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