CTIA Fall 2006
Sep 15, 2006, 8:21 PM by Eric Lin & Rich Brome
In Depth coverage of CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment 2006 in Los Angeles. Hands on with the Treo 750, Casio G'zOne, HTC S620 and Hermes, BlackBerry Pearl, Nokia E62, and more.
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HTC was showing off all their new phones, but of the four recently announced, only the Excalibur (now called the S620) is due to come to the US any time soon. The S620 is surprisingly small. Pictures do not do it justice, and it is packed with features.
What it is not packed with is the JOGGR that was supposed to let you scroll through text simply by running your fingertip down a touch strip on the side of the screen. HTC tells us the first version didn't work as well as they had hoped. Instead there are touch-sensitive volume up and down keys in place of the full touch scroll strip. The company is hoping to improve the touch-scroll technology for use in future products.
Even though HTC had to remove one of the most unique features, there are still a few unique surprises in store. For example, the S620 finally eliminates the need to keep hitting the Alt key to type numbers or punctuation. Instead you simply hold down a key for a second to type whatever its alt character is.
With the launch of the Q, Motorola set the bar for Windows Mobile phones as far as packing features into a small, slim phone. But the S620 actually beats Moto at their own game. The S620 might not have an iconic name, or the iconic looks, but it has Wi-Fi and a keyboard that beats the Q's hands down.
Eric felt the keys on the S620 were a bit small (see the picture of his thumb mashing a couple of keys) and way too soft, but he was still able to type with better than 90% accuracy. Rich really liked the keyboard and thought it was small but perfectly usable. Either way it is a big improvement over the Q's tiny, stiff pucks.
It should be noted the S620s we were using had a T-Zones logo that the company had made attempts to obscure. This lends further credence to the rumors it will launch on T-Mobile sometime this fall.
The other HTC phone that is definitely coming to the states was code-named Hermes, but launched by HTC as the TyTN. The final TyTN design has cleaner lines and more keys than the original Hermes prototypes seen in the spring.
Cingular is due to launch their own version with a slightly curvier design more reminiscent of the original Hermes - but with the extra keys - this October.
Called the 8525, it will best the new Treo 750 in terms of wireless options, offering quad-band GSM, tri-band HSDPA (the 750 will initially only have WCDMA), Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. Although it has not been confirmed, it is very likely Cingular asked HTC to remove the video-calling camera and key.
Although it is not due to launch in the US, we spent some time with the P3300 GPS phone. HTC explained to us that the trackball and scroll wheel combo are meant to simplify using the device for navigation. You can use the trackball to move around the map quickly and the scroll wheel to zoom in and out without have to change modes or press buttons. The trackball is exactly like that on the BlackBerry Pearl, and the scroll wheel is unique in that it physically spins around the trackball.
HTC's new phones clearly show attention to design and detail that the company's previous efforts did not always exhibit. The company is not just strengthening its design, but also its brand. While HTC will continue to allow carriers to re-brand their devices, they are cutting off other companies from doing so. I-mate, UTStarcom and others will no longer be re-branding HTC's handsets as their own for resale. Although HTC will continue using its own Dopod brand for select Asian channels, its is killing off its QTek brand completely.
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HTC TyTN / 8525 / JasJam (Hermes)
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Memory Card Slot, Hardware Text Keyboard
Did LG display the VX9900 or talk about possible launch date?
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LG showing the VX8600
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http://www.extremetech.com/slideshow_viewer/0,1205,l ... »
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T-Mobile Dash (HTC Excaliber) question
Nokia N73 to have WIFI?
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T-Mobile S620 vs. T-Mobile MDA
What about Pantech
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T-Mobile has a booth, though, which I will check out in a minute...
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