Siemens Shows Off Prototypes
I expected to see a lot of cool prototypes at CTIA, but alas, only German company Siemens opted to bring an engineer and stuff from the labs. What they showed, though, was pretty cool.
This prototype shows how a virtual keyboard can be added to a phone. On the upper part of the unit, a red light beams a virtual keyboard onto a table. At the bottom of the phone, a laser sweeps along the surface, looking for a finger to break the plane. With the built-in camera and laser and with the proper calibration, its pretty easy to type in words and commands. Dont expect to touch-type, thoughits hunt and peck only. No estimated ship date, but its pretty cool.
Siemens claims it has made a breakthrough in wireless tracking. Click here to read more.
In addition to prototypes, Siemens showed off some neat, new handsets as well, due out later this year.
I was particularly fond of the SX1, which you can purchase now on the Web for $499. This smartphone, along with all of Siemens phones, only runs on the GSM network. It does e-mail, browses the Web and connects to your PC to swap addresses and phone numbers. Based on the Symbian operating system, its nice and small.
This hip, little phone, the CF62, is Siemens first flip phone. Its got a cool feature for alerting you when a call comes in: A series of white lights running around the outside of the unit blink when someones calling. Users can program their own blinking sequences to indicate certain calls or just for fun.
The CF62 also has a unique antenna design. Instead of protruding straight up, it wraps around the top, like a handle. The phone is due out in the third quarter. Its an attractive, small phone. No camera, but its sure to be a hip attention-grabber when it ships.
The CX66, on the other hand, includes both still and video imaging. Its also small but includes 11 megabytes of shared memory and a VGA camera. It supports MMS and a Java-based, 3D gaming engine that looked pretty cool. I saw it actually rotate tiny vehicles in 3D.
It also will be available in the third quarter of 2004. Although Siemens would not release pricing information, expect both of these phones to fall in the middle of the market between $200 and $300. As GSM phones, they will likely be available for T-Mobile, Cingular or AT&T Wireless.
Next Page: Samsung delivers small, sassy devices.
Yes, its a phone in the shape of a pen. Actually, it really is a pen. Inside this prototype is a laser that tracks movement and a handwriting recognition engine. Want to call home? Write the number on a piece of paper using the pen, or presumably just spell out home. It really workedsort ofin the demo. The phone recognized numbers as written, at least some of the time. You talk on the phone by holding it to your head vertically, but itll also include Bluetooth, so you can use a separate headset. Definitely cool. But way out there.