CEBIT report

The CeBIT show in Hannover has become the biggest single showcase for the ICT industry worldwide – more than 6,059 exhibitors from 77 countries, on target for a whopping 400,000 visitors across the secven days. It’s more of a PC and gadget fest than a phone show, but we’ve picked out some highlights.
 
Samsung P100: Multiway messaging
Samsung had a lots of phones on show, most of them seen before at 3GSM, but it did come up with the a real innovstion in handsets — a ‘messaging phone’ called the P110 with a novel multiway swivel action.

It opens like a (rather large) clamshell to reveal a very full keypad but with number keys arranged conventionally and highlighted in white.

You can then twist the screen on to its side, so you have something that looks like a video camcorder. And slide the screen round the edge on to the long side of the keyboard, use it in landscape mode, and you have a full QWERTY keyboard with a widescreen display.

The point seems to be that it’s easy enough to make a Communicator-type QWERTY PDA with flip-back display, but that form factor doesn’t make for a comfortable conversation when you hold it to your head to use as a phone. The clamshell approach aims to get round that.

The P110 will come with email, instant messaging, and Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP – but no 3G or WiFi, only 25MB of user memory and no memory card slot, and a surprising;ly low-spec VGA camera.

Best-looking of the more conventional smartphones was probably the new Glofiish X800 from E-TEN, a name that deserves to be better known over here as a challenger to the HTC Windows Mobile hegemony. The X800 is a pretty skinny device (15.8mm) and includes 3G/HSDPA and WiFi, a nippy Samsung 400MHz CPU running Windows Mobile 6, built-in GPS, a 2mp camera on the back and a VGA video telephony camera on the front, microSD slot, Mini-USB, and Bluetooth.

A lot of spec, but matchable – until you check out the lovely 640 x 480 display. This offers up to four times the resolution of previous E-TEN handsets and bests most of its PDA-format competitors, especially for veiwing pictures and video in fine detail.

 
 
SanDisk Premier: onboard extras 
SanDisk Mobile Premier is a new line of "performance-oriented" microSD memory cards specifically for the mobile phone market. As well as providing user storage (1Gb and 2Gb capacities) with high-speed data transfer, the cards feature SanDisk’s TrustedFlash technology , which allows network operators to sell premium content that can be downloaded directly to mobile phones and stored on the cards.
 
 
Plantronics Discovery 665: superfine audio
Plantronics expanded its Bluetooth headset portfolio with three new models. The impressive one is the Discovery 665, the first DSP-technology headset which automatically optimises audio quality for both caller and listener – improves call clarity at both ends, adapts to any changes in the surrounding soundscape, "removes the need to seek out a quiet location to answer an important call".

Plantronics has also developed a new in-car charging and storage system which includes a clever visual indicator for incoming calls.

SRP will be around £70.

We spotted a free version of ThinPrint GmbH’s Cortado Microsoft Exchange-based push email service for mobile phone users includes a personal Cortado email address, which comes with a professional spam filter, virus protection, a web-based Microsoft Outlook environment, and a 20MB email account. Users who want to keep using their current email address can continue to do so, and still push messages to their mobile phone.

Cortado uses IMAP push technology for its free accounts, instead of the ActivSync which it uses for standard accounts. ThinPrint says this is because nearly all current mobile phones are compatible with IMAP – 835 handset models at present.

The other interesting feature is the way Cortado involves no special downloads for mail handling. Instead it always uses the standard mail functions available on the phone, thus ensuring complete integration – for instance, with the standard new-message indications.

Users who want ActivSync and other value added services can switch to a paid-for Cortado account at any time. Info at www.cortado.com/free.

Bluetooth specialist Parrot used CeBIT to launch a number of new products – among them the MK6100, a hands-free car kit with the capability to play MP3 files on a car’s speakers from any Bluetooth A2DP such as a mobile phone.

 
As well as audio streaming, the MK6100 features two other Parrot innovations: a new ultra efficient noise reduction technology called ‘beamforming’ that claims "exceptional" voice quality while phoning, and a text-to-speech function that speaks phonebook listings to the user.

Like all Parrot car kits, the Parrot MK6100 automatically synchronizes the names and phone numbers in your mobile with its phone book. When you receive a call, the name and the number are displayed on the screen.

 
Parrot MK6100: hands-free with MP3 
Parrot also showed the 3200 LS-COLOR PLUS, the upgraded version of its hands-free car kit with colour screen and the latest generation of DSP technology for audio clarity. The screen immediately displays the name, number, and even caller photo for an incoming call; it can be easily removed for security purposes when leaving the car.

The 3200 and MK6100 will both be available towards the end of Q2, SRP E189 and E199 respectively.

The networks didn’t have much new to say – the local biggie, T-Mobile, was smarting from parent Deutsche Telekom’s poor end-of-year results – but Vodafone did create a small stir by demonstrating a FMC/FMS app with VoIP calls on a mobile using Skype and IM using Windows Messenger. The menu application looks very similar to that on 3’s X-Series offering. , Vodafone demonstrated the launch application for a combination of IP services including MSN Messenger, Skype and AOL IM.

Vodafone is calling the whole thing ‘Starfish’ but hasn’t yet decided to launch anything – those voice revenues are obviously just too attractive to lose – and Vodafone said its testing was limited to Germany.

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