HANNOVER, Germany--While most of a reporter's time at a major trade show such as CeBIT is taken up with press conferences, meetings and time in the press center writing stories, we do sometimes get time off. On Tuesday, which was the opening day of CeBIT, I actually managed to carve out a couple of hours in the afternoon to go looking for cool products.
The search started in the part of CeBIT's Infrastructure Hall that's dedicated to mobile and wireless products, and it was there where I first saw the vast mobs of German enthusiasts for the Apple iPhone. The difference is, in Germany the iPhone is a T-Mobile device. And yes, T-Mobile users, you can use this iPhone in the U.S. But there are a few things you should know.
The iPhone requires a two-year contract with T-Mobile in Germany, you'll have a German phone number, and you won't be able to get it unlocked until the contract is satisfied. However, unlike many other carriers, T-Mobile willingly unlocks its devices at that point, and it does it for free. And then your U.S. T-Mobile SIM card should work just fine.
You can see the new T-Mobile iPhone as part of the cool CeBIT products slide show I put together in the eWEEK Mobile and Wireless section.
Of course, that wasn't the only cool item on display. High-definition television is finally appearing in Europe, and some of the hi-def displays were very good indeed. A stop at the Samsung booth took me to the biggest LCD display in the world, an 82-inch Ultra HDTV that looks kind of like you moved a Jumbotron into your living room.
But more remarkable was the OLED HDTV. This device uses LED technology to produce what may be the best large-screen high definition I've ever seen. While it was smaller than the big LCD and plasma units vendors were showing, it was more than astonishing--breathtaking, in fact (for a photo of it, check out the the above slide show). It was so much better than the LCD HD set I have at home that I immediately developed Screen Lust in a big way. Good thing this isn't on sale yet.
Ericsson is also getting into the act with a portable HDTV receiver that currently works with European standards. A company rep said that the only change needed to make it work in the U.S. is a change to the software codecs. You can attach it to an HD monitor to get an impressive full-size image if you want one, or you can use the built-in display. The device receives signals over T-Mobile Germany's prototype 4G wireless network.
While I was visiting Samsung, the company's PR people showed me that the new cool shade in printers is black. This means that the printer case is a glossy black and is intended for home office and small-office use.
There are, of course, thousands of products I'll never see, but I'll have a few more after some time wandering on Wednesday.
-- Wayne Rash