iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






CeBIT 2002: Day 2

This day I spent walking around the booths of different telecommunicational companies; there were a lot of interesting new stuff which I was able to try. Keep in mind that here I leave out complete characteristics (the detailed data will be available later on our site), I will speak just about what impressed me much and the most interesting peculiarities. So, let's drop in Hall #26.

Alcatel showed off its new model Alcatel 715 which is the first business-class phone of this company. Thus, apart from a large screen and excellent ergonomics it has three ways of synchronization of the calendar and Phone Book data with a PC. You can use a cable, an IR port or the SyncML technology. The vCal and vCard formats have a good support - a user of the Alcatel 715 can send a business card or an entry from its organizer to another phone or PDA. It's interesting that in some modes (organizer, games) the screen turns by 90 degrees so that information can be displayed in the better form. In the organizer, for example, we thus can look through a list of day's events ordered according to time.

The phone is going to appear at the beginning of the summer at about 350 euros. By the way, on the photo you can see one of its developers.

Here is the extract form the press-release of the Alcatel One Touch 715:

With its striking 70's retro-chic design, the One Touch 715 boasts a shamelessly large, high resolution display screen (100 x 150 pixels, blue back light with four grey scale quality), taking visual communication, whilst on the move, to a new level.

Capable of holding ten lines of text, the screen can be viewed in portrait or landscape, with a zoom option. The One Touch 715 allows for the downloading of complex icons, photographs and full screen animations, as well as advanced messaging features including EMS release 4.0, ring tones and animated icons. Alcatel has even catered for those with a musical ear by incorporating 16-instrument polyphonic ring tones. The One Touch 715 comes with advanced services including WAP 1.2.1.

Those few executives with time on their hands will find the generous screen improves game play. It also encourages interactivity with a "high score exchange" and the option to participate in a two-player network game.

The One Touch 715 integrates a powerful organiser. With the capacity to hold up to 800 contact files, schedule up to 1000 appointments and list up to 60 tasks on the to-do list, the One Touch 715 has space for even the hardest worked professional. In conjunction to this capacity it is PC and Over the Air synchronised (SyncML), comes with a calculator and Euro currency converter and has a world clock harmonising time zones on an integrated world map. With the ability to store photographs in contact files allowing a caller's face (or an image the user associates with the contact) to appear on the screen when making or receiving calls, the user may, if they wish, have a bit of fun.

Like any good business aide the One Touch 715 responds well to its master's voice. With this in mind it will take up to 20 voice commands, take a dictated memo up to 60 seconds and be able to voice dial up to 20 contacts.

For purposes of speed and effectiveness, the One Touch 715 has an infrared interface and serial link, comes with a Vcard and Vcalendar exchange and is PALM and Windows CE devices compatible.

Model 512 was also shown off; it differs from its predecessor 511 in its own memory. The junior Alcatel 310/311 has a wide range of covers. Truly, personalization becomes very popular nowadays.

The Sendo's stand also showed various covers for the phones of this mark:

No cardinally new phones were unveiled, but the displayed ones attracted the visitors very much.

For junior model of the two new ones, GD67, Panasonic provided for changeable image on the back cover. The cover is, in fact, transparent and you can insert your own photo. At the display they shot visitors and then cut out photos with a special device. This is very similar to the Siemens A40, where the appearance of the photo changed with colorful paper put under the glass cover.

The phone is the first of Panasonic to have a color display (256 color). It also sports a 16-voice polyphonic ring. The phone is expected is summer.

The other model belongs to the class of devices with a built-in camera. By the way, this clamshell can shoot when opened (then you shoot the environment) and when closed (then you shoot yourself). Shots can be sent as MMS to other phones supporting this technology.

Here they demonstrated on a PC the difference between a 3-tone ring and 8- and 16-tone ones. I hope after the display we will be able to get it for our site.

Also, they showed off the current line including the GD96 and GD76 which will soon hit the streets.

At the Siemens' we noticed few new products - Siemens M50 was, in fact, the only one, but there is nothing we can say about it as it differs from Siemens C45 only in added J2ME and GPRS.

In another hall we noticed Pocket Loox. It isn't too fast, but it is comparable with a Pocket PC2002 (ARM 206 MHz) PDA; and undoubtedly, it outscores the Siemens SX45. The Pocket Loox has an Xscale processor working at 400 MHz.

The burden of the display was a possibility to send EMS and MMS messages. This year can be called a year of MMS. The phone makers now stake on handsets with color displays, a polyphonic ring and functions supporting multimedia messages. These phones remind much of 3G which were so much spoken about. And they will be a bridge to the new networks and new terminals.

Well, the companies have just only this link to rely on, as the prospects of the 3G networks are still vague, and at best the commercial exploitation will start at the end of 2004. Today the interest in it is fading, but the advertizing of the services is quite obtrusive. For example, two years ago 3G networks and GPRS were on everybody's lips, and now it's of little interest as there are not many services provided... But let's return to the display.

Sony Ericsson Mobile played safe and staked on the T68i.

Other phones were not so easy to reach. I mean P800 and Z700; nevertheless, I managed to get them. The latter one has every chance to hold much favor. The drawback is, as usual, a problem of phones with JogDial: the software sometimes hangs and the only thing that cures it is taking out of the battery. The sample they showed had a non-commercial software version. But I suspect that in the commercial one the error will also take place, maybe just not so often. I wish it didn't as the phone is one of the best in ergonomics.

The children's smartphone you can see below is based on the WinCE 3.0, supports all its functions, and has a color touch display (65,000 colors). The sound comes only through headphones. There are three control buttons. The most of the software looks different from standard versions, for example, the browser is called Kids Browser. The MMC/SD slot enriches the devices; programs written for this OS version are supported. The phone is expected in May at 500 euros, and by the end of the summer the price if going to fall to 300-350 euros.

[ Part 2 ]

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