First the earth cooled. And, then the dinosaurs came, but they got too big and fat, so they all died, and they turned into oil. And, then the Arabs came and they bought Mercedes Benzes. And they bought cell phones, which were about the size of my head.
Then, cell phones got a little smaller, a little more portable, and didn’t require their own power generators that you had to store in the trunk of your car.
And then something wonderful happened, and it was called…
StarTac.And we liked StarTac, and the world was good for a time.
But then StarTac became TimePort, and quickly got pulled from the market because everyone wanted to buy really narrow non-flip phones from a country that few Americans can tell apart from its neighbors (one of whom makes really good cheap furniture but only sells it in humongous stores that are guaranteed to have excessively long lines on the weekend, but I digress).
And then for a long time, things were bad. One might call it the dark ages of cell phones.
Until those people who made StarTac got their collectives heads out of their collective rears, and all of a sudden had the coolest looking phone on Earth again. Hello Moto!
But at 3GSM, here’s some phones I saw:
I don’t know the actual name for this phone other than the “VK” label on it and it sells in Europe and Asia and we will never, ever, ever see it here in the US. But it’s VERY small and very cool. The picture is almost misleading since I don’t show anything with context, but suffice it to say it’s about the height of the Razr, yet thinner and clearly narrower. Didn’t get to see it working, so I have no idea what operating system it runs or frankly if it even works, but it was sure “nano-like”.
Here you can see 3 phones from Newgen, a company I’ll cover a little more in a day or two. These phones are all about the size of a lady’s compact, and were very interesting to look at. This company is trying to come to the US with these units, so there is a glimmer of hope out there!
Another phone from Newgen, this time I think it’s pretty obvious how small it can be! The phone on the far left is next to a Sliver and a Razor (which looks ridiculously huge in comparison). It’s smaller and thinner than both. It has no name, and the unit I was shown was a pure prototype, so it may never even exist. But then again, it might have a million users in China by next week, and we’d never know the difference…
Another very interesting phone, this comes from NeoMagic. I’ll write in a lot of detail about this one, as they have a GUI concept that I thought was fairly compelling. The entire UI uses a touch screen with a built-in vibrating ‘alert’ as a physical feedback mechanism. Very interesting, definitely worthy of more discussion.
Personally, I think we’re reaching the limit of what can be built and still be usable. I, for one, cannot use a Razr. The keys are too small and my grubby fingers are too big, not to mention the incredibly poor GUI Motorola insists on using. I also won’t be happy with something super-tiny if I can’t feel it vibrate in my pocket (and not just for fun, that is).
I’ll take a Razr-sized phone with a revamped keypad (I need distinct buttons) and some better GUI features (I dare say WM5.0 would be my choice right now). Either that or just go ahead and build it into my shoe.