I wandered over to Victoria this evening take a look at what would be big for Christmas this year from Carphone Warehouse (silly name, good shop). It ranged from the ‘meh’ to the ‘wow’ so here’s a quick overview in pictures. The event was organised as a ‘home’ with each vendor in a different room…
Netbooks were very much in evidence – being supplied free with the various subscription 3G data packages. In addition to the existing range including some Eee models from Asus, an Acer Aspire One and an Advent 4211 a new model from Fujitsu was on show. Spec wise there was little separate it from the pack but styling and finish were impressive… Everyone agreed there would be a ‘bloodbath’ in this sector in the next few months with Dell, Lenovo and Toshiba all also due to announce products.
The Samsung stand was one of the best with the Omnia – a Windows Mobile 6.1 iPhone-a-like (that’s mine on the right of it for comparison) – launching today and the very impressive i8510 – one of Samsung’s first Symbian handsets – also on show. The i8510 give Nokia’s best a run for their money – expect to hear more on this… my wallet is itching! I’ve already got Ewan excited see here.
Next up was Nokia announcing an exclusive (until Christmas) white 5310 handset via CPW for the launch of their ‘Comes with Music‘ offering which is first to launch in the UK. This gives a code for unlimited downloads from the Nokia music store which is very cool. Even better is the fact you can keep the tracks after your year-long free subscription expires, but some of the answers about transfers to upgraded handsets and renewing subscriptions were worryingly vague – Nokia best have some good answers before those years start expiring! Also on show were a number of the newer handsets including the N96 which, in my opinion, is looking lamer and lamer everyday as a flagship model (sorry Nokia).
Next up were our new best friends at SonyEricsson (the same chap in fact) who had his X1 out again and couldn’t answer any of the hard questions about when it would actually be released. He did say some nice things about the show though so there is some hope for them
The new Jawbone headset we reviewed a few months back is now available in gun-metal grey and gold…. Meh.
Motorola had their Z10 out which impresses with its unusual form factor and video playback if nothing else, but also had their ‘budget smartphone’, the A810 on display – at around £90 on PAYG this is a Linux-based mini-tablet intended for people who want smartphone features at a lower cost… The interface and screen size are all much poorer than the best smartphones available, but at this cost I think they may have a good compromise. Also impressive was the ZN5 – a 5 megapixel cameraphone with Kodak branding and xenon flash (something that helps Nokia’s N82 shoot such great pictures). This has a WiFi photoframe accessory that is set to automatically show pictures the phone uploads to Kodak’s online photo site (via a Shozu-like feature) and multiple frames can be added.
LG were also present but apart from a nice table setting didn’t have much new to announce. Disappointingly the PR there didn’t know about the LG blog so I gave up and moved on. Nice table though…