Inventive Prototypes Stretch Mobile Phones Bounds

By Jim Louderback  |  Posted 2004-03-24 Print this article Print

Pen phones, intelligent phones and a wave of clamshell designs flood CTIA Wireless trade show in Atlanta, with Siemens and Samsung standing out.

ATLANTA—At the CTIA Wireless trade show here this week, its all about the phones. Both the usual suspects and unusual newcomers rolled out new models for the world to see. As I looked over all of the handsets coming out, a few trends emerged. First, a move toward clamshell designs echoes users demand for them. Both Siemens AG and Nokia Corp. proudly rolled out their first clamshell units. Why clamshell? Because as phones get smaller and lighter, a fold-out unit is easier to hold and more closely matches where our ears and mouths are on our heads.
Were also moving beyond simple, small photo phones. I saw a number of phones with more than CIF- or VGA-size CCDs, with some well over a megapixel. But more than still images, video will begin to take center stage later this year.
More smartphones, beefy devices that combine PDA with phone, made their debuts, running on Symbian, Palm and Microsofts SmartPhone for Windows OS. My nod for creativity and volume, though, goes to Symbian for its phones. I didnt see a single new Microsoft-based phone and spotted only one new Palm device. The sweet spot of the market, though, appears to be intelligent phones, running J2ME or Brew, that are capable of downloading small games and other applications. I had dinner with Trip Hawkins, CEO of new mobile content company Digital Chocolate, and he gave me an interesting perspective on the market. Within two or three years, he predicted, there will be two billion application-ready phones in the world. These devices wont be smart phones but will be able to download and run applications. Thats a pretty amazing market. What follow are some of the more interesting phones, along with commentary on how they really work. Next Page: Siemens shows off a pen phone with handwriting recognition.

With more than 20 years experience in consulting, technology, computers and media, Jim Louderback has pioneered many significant new innovations.

While building computer systems for Fortune 100 companies in the '80s, Jim developed innovative client-server computing models, implementing some of the first successful LAN-based client-server systems. He also created a highly successful iterative development methodology uniquely suited to this new systems architecture.

As Lab Director at PC Week, Jim developed and refined the product review as an essential news story. He expanded the lab to California, and created significant competitive advantage for the leading IT weekly.

When he became editor-in-chief of Windows Sources in 1995, he inherited a magazine teetering on the brink of failure. In six short months, he turned the publication into a money-maker, by refocusing it entirely on the new Windows 95. Newsstand sales tripled, and his magazine won industry awards for excellence of design and content.

In 1997, Jim launched TechTV's content, creating and nurturing a highly successful mix of help, product information, news and entertainment. He appeared in numerous segments on the network, and hosted the enormously popular Fresh Gear show for three years.

In 1999, he developed the 'Best of CES' awards program in partnership with CEA, the parent company of the CES trade show. This innovative program, where new products were judged directly on the trade show floor, was a resounding success, and continues today.

In 2000, Jim began developing, a daily, live, 8 hour TechTV news program called TechLive. Called 'the CNBC of Technology,' TechLive delivered a daily day-long dose of market news, product information, technology reporting and CEO interviews. After its highly successful launch in April of 2001, Jim managed the entire organization, along with setting editorial direction for the balance of TechTV.

In the summer or 2002, Jim joined Ziff Davis Media to be Editor-In-Chief and Vice President of Media Properties, including, Microsoft Watch, and the websites for PC Magazine, eWeek and ZDM's gaming publications.


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