Last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas proved to be much more about the future of 3D televisions than 4G wireless connectivity, but that is really no surprise. The big trends in consumer electronics seem to be e-readers, and if Plastic Logic has its way will branch out to the business market; flat panel LED sets that add a third dimension and equally flat speakers that produce big sound from small profiles.
But there were still some interesting announcements on the mobile front, which I’ll recap (with a bit of commentary below). Of course all of this was overshadowed by the potentially game changing Nexus One handset. However it pans out, 2010 will be an interesting year for mobile.
Dell Announced a Smartphone for the American Market
This really isn’t much of a surprise, unless you consider it a surprise that the phone already launched in China and Brazil will get a United States. makeover. Dell announced at CES that AT&T would be the exclusive carrier of its first Android-based smartphone released in the U.S. This follows the release of similar handsets for China Mobile and Claro Brazil.
The Mini 3 smartphone is designed for mobile Internet use and will take advantage of AT&T’s Wi-Fi locations, as well as its 3G network. Beyond these facts however, not much was announced about the upcoming Mini 3, which will be released in the U.S. in the first half of this year.
What Dell did share was some insight from a survey of about 1,500 mobile phone users who were asked key questions about smartphone usage. Here are some highlights:
- 82% of smartphone owners said they wouldn’t leave home without it
- More than half wish there were more smartphone options available in the marketplace
- 76% they would consider a new smartphone from a well-known technology brand
- 90% would consider purchasing a smartphone from a technology brand company as an alternative to a leading smartphone manufacturer.
We’ll let you judge for yourself what those final two points mean, but it could be keeping with what CEA President Gary Shaprio had in mind when he said innovation from the CE industry would help lead us out of this deep recession – he said the same thing in his 2009 keynote address, but in fairness what else can he really say. The point is that innovation is crucial, and as we’ve seen the Android OS has really shaken up the mobile industry.
Maybe this could explain why Palm’s latest handset failed to ignite and why Motorola is making a comeback with phones that are really – dare I say it – innovative? So maybe Dell is onto something, I mean it is clear when they say “from a technology brand company” they mean Dell, as an alternative to a smartphone maker such as RIM or Palm.
T-Mobile Announces HSPA+
Carrier T-Mobile announced that its current 3G network now reaches more than 200 million people in the U.S., and the company further announced that it is the first carrier in the U.S. to launch the “even faster” HSPA+ protocol. HSPA 7.2 already provides fast 3G data service and is enabled across the whole T-Mobile 3G network, but now the company has added the ubiquitous “+” to the mix.