The winter trade shows are over, and now we wait for those hot new handsets to actually make their way t0 stores and ebay auctions so we can put 'em to use. Shopping for a new mobile but willing to hold out a few months longer for the new new thing? Here are five phones to keep an eye out for in the coming months:
1. Helio Ocean - Helio CDMA
Helio's superphone may be manufactured by Pantech, but it was designed from the ground up by the MVNO. Featuring a dual-sliding mechanism with separate dialing and QWERTY keypads, 3G data backed by what may be the best Web browser ever to grace a mobile phone, and a new user interface, the Ocean may live up to all of those "I wish my Sidekick could do this!" dreams that T-Mobile devotees have on a daily bases. Combined with a $65/month "All In" voice and data plan, the Ocean could be the near-future of mobile communications.
2. Apple iPhone - Cingular GSM
Apple recently announced the delay of their new Mac OS X operating system in order to ship iPhone by late June. WIll it be worth it? On the one hand, iPhone will be the widescreen iPod that Apple fans have been longing for for years. On the other hand, unless Apple bumps its specs in the next few months, iPhone will be hampered by EDGE data speeds and an operating system closed to third-party developers. Then again, rumors have surfaced about a possible rebate to help offset that hefty $499/$699 price tag.
3. Sony Ericsson p700i - Unlocked GSM
Last year, a thread in the SE forum website esato.com predicted some 40 new SE handsets for 2007, including more than half a dozen smartphones. That seems to have been stretching it a bit, but buzz is building around a possible near-term unveiling of the p700i. Looking like a next-generation m600i (one of my personal favorite SE handsets), p700i would add two of the most-wanted features its small, elegant predecessor was lacking: WiFi and a 3.2 mp camera. Combine that with the UIQ 3.1 OS, high-res touchscreen, and SE's unique QWERTY layout based on dual-rocker buttons, and the p700i could just be the smartphone Symbian fans have been dreaming of.
4. Samsung Ultra Smart F700 - Unlocked GSM
Samsung had a sample of the F700 at their "Blogger's Breakfast" I attended at CTIA in March, but it turned out to be a non-working dummy phone. Too bad, because what might turn out to be the "best phone in the world" is still shrouded in mystery. We do know the F700 will be a GSM phone compatible with HSDPA at speeds up to 7.2 Mbps. We also know it will pack a touchscreen with VibeTonz tactile feedback, a slide-out QWERTY board, 5MP camera, media player, "drag and drop" Flash UI, and full HTML browsing. I've seen the F700 available for pre-order from a few importers claiming late June availability, but I wouldn't plunk down your credit card just yet if I were you.
5. Nokia N76 - Unlocked GSM
Cingular may or may not ever carry Nokia's Series 60 clamshell, the N75. Odds are they won't instead opt for the N76, but one can still hold out hope. This N-Series multimedia computer combines full smartphone functionality with a dedicated media player, 3.5mm stereo headphone jack, and external music controls. And, get this - it's a Nokia that's actually got some sex appeal.