CES Devices: Lenovo LePhone

Noah Kravitz
 from Oakland, CA
Published: January 12, 2010

CES 2010 Wrap-Up: Noah's Top 5 Mobile Devices

Three years ago I went to CES in Las Vegas and had to search high and low for a compelling mobile tech story to cover. Sure, there were phones and all sorts of portable computers, but "mobile" - as in the wireless telcom industry - wasn't really a focal point of the show. Mobile waited past January back then to unleash news at MWC in February and CTIA Spring in April. Not so anymore.

Palm broke the mold, to some extent, by unveiling WebOS and the Pre at last year's CES. This year? Everyone and their uncle made mobile a part of their CES presence, it seemed. While we may not have seen a ton of US phone launches, there were a handful of 'em - and another pretty newsworthy one from Google the day before I headed out to Vegas. But more importantly, we saw launches and previews of many devices incorporating cellular connectivity into all sorts of form factors and headed to both the US and global markets.

So what caught my eye? Besides 3D TV, that is (I'm not sure if it's "good" or not, but I couldn't stop watching 3D polar bears swim through the water at Sony's booth).

Here are my Top 5 mobile devices from CES 2010:

1. Lenovo LePhone

Lenovo's LePhone was the most compelling new mobile phone shown at CES, even if it's not destined for a North American release at this point, and probably wasn't the "best" phone at the show. Why? First off, Lenovo entering the smartphone game with an Android device for the Chinese market speaks volumes to what's happening to the mobile industry:

  • Internet consumption is going from portable (laptops and netbooks) to pocketable (smartphones) and PC makers want in on the action. 
  • Android's cheap, customizable OS-as-business model is starting to make real inroads. Look for this trend to explode in 2010.
  • China. Is. Huge. If Chinese consumers are ready for smartphones, you betcha the world's consumer electronics makers are ready for the Chinese market.
Also, during Lenovo's press conference I honestly couldn't figure out if LePhone was running Android or some proprietary OS made to look like a mash up of Android and iPhone OS. Turns out it's Android, though the designers of the hardware, software, and press conference slides weren't bashful about nicking tasty bits from Apple and Google alike. No matter - the phone had a really nice look and feel to it, and what I got to demo of the OS zipped along fairly nicely thanks to that Snapdragon lurking beneath its surface.
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