Where’s wireless technology for devices headed? If this fall’s industry event, CTIA, is any indication, it’s heading in a myriad of different directions. Of course there was news of a Barnes & Noble color Kindle competitor, but there were also several handheld devices on the expo floor highlighting the latest innovations and trends in wireless technology.
Case in point, these three extremely unconventional gadgets. They include a watch that doubles as a smartphone, a mini television for consuming high-quality, live entertainment, and a tiny computing device that’s much smaller than a netbook but connects to the web over a 4G network.
The jury’s still out on whether or not any of these products will influence market trends, but they definitely have us wondering, what will they come up with next?.
1. K&S W Phonewatch
Want a watch that doubles as a touchscreen smartphone, MP3 player, camera, and video camcorder? It sounds like something straight out The Jetsons, but Kempler & Strauss debuted a product that does just that at CTIA.
Dubbed the W Phonwatch, the watch does tell time, but it also doubles as a touchscreen smartphone. It comes equipped with a micro SD slot, stereo MP3 player, camera, video recorder/player, and games. It’s also Bluetooth (Bluetooth)-enabled and works with a funky K & S Communicator. Of course why use the Communicator when you can just talk straight into the watch? Watch our video interview for a full demonstration of the watch/phone in action.
Price point: $199
Service plan: Carrier dependent
Fun fact: It’s not exactly waterproof, but it’s sweat-proof so you can take it to the gym. Just don’t try to take stealth video in the gym locker room.
2. FLO TV Personal Television
Single purpose devices like the Kindle or Barnes & Noble’s soon-to-be-released eBook reader are the antithesis to all-in-one devices like smartphones and tablets. They’re not exactly mainstream, but they do appeal to niche audiences that want a device that does one thing extremely well.
In the case of the aforementioned examples, that one thing is reading electronic books. But Qualcomm, which just announced their personal handheld television, FLO TV, has applied that same logic to watching high-quality live and time-shifted television.
Just slightly bigger than an iPhone, the device comfortably rests in your hands or stands up on its own via the built-in stand, has a 3.5 inch touchscreen, supports up to 5 hours of TV watching on a full charge, and uses the FLO TV dedicated multicast network to provide a buffer and download-free experience.
It’s too early to tell if this is a hit or miss, but the product delivers on it’s single mission — a great TV watching experience. The television content is currently limited, but does include Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, NBC, CBS, FOX, and ESPN.
Price point: $249.99
Service plan: $8.99 p/mo
Fun fact: You can channel surf with your fingers.
3. Samsung Mondi
This device is a bit of a head-scratcher. Launched a few months ago, the Samsung Mondi is not a phone or a netbook, but it runs on Windows Mobile, acts like a full-fledged computer with Microsoft Office Mobile, comes complete with a webcam for video chat, applications, a 4.3″ LCD touchscreen, 4GB of internal memory, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and is only slightly bigger than a typical smart phone.
On the one hand it’s a mobile internet device for more sophisticated computing and internet access over a 4G network (WiMAX) or local Wi-Fi, on the other hand it fits in your pocket.
It’s by no means the perfect device, after all women with fingernails may have trouble using the keyboard, and the touch sensitivity could be much improved, but it’s a very business appropriate device for productivity on the run. Is it the next great gadget? You tell us.
Price point: $499.99 (Best Buy)
Service plan: Carrier dependent
Fun fact: You can use it as a phone, with VoIP applications like Skype (Skype).