CTIA Spring 2010: Super Smartphones and Mighty Messaging Phones

In the market for a new cell phone this spring? Take a look at some of the hottest phones to debut at CTIA Spring 2010.

HTC EVO 4G (Sprint 4G)

The star of CTIA, the HTC EVO 4G is the first Android smartphone with 4G network support. Coming to Sprint's 4G network, the EVO 4G packs some powerful specs and features a slick, stylish design. And with a 4.3-inch WVGA (800 by 480 pixels) touchscreen with multitouch support, an 8-megapixel camera, and HD video support, the EVO is the ultimate multimedia smartphone.

The EVO 4G also sports a front-facing 1.3-megapixel video camera (video chat, anyone?) and an HDMI port, and comes preloaded with Qik, a video-streaming app (as shown in the photo). Powered by a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, the EVO 4G runs HTC's updated Sense user interface over the Android 2.1 mobile OS.

Samsung Galaxy S

The EVO 4G wasn't the only Android superstar to debut at the show. Also powered by Android 2.1, the Samsung Galaxy S boasts a 4-inch Super AMOLED display, a 1GHz processor, and a 5-megapixel camera with HD video capture; it is also the first phone with the new Smart Life user interface. Super AMOLED technology has touch sensors on the display itself as opposed to creating a separate layer (Samsung's old AMOLED displays had this extra layer), making it the thinnest display technology on the market.

Samsung is teaming up with Skiff to deliver wireless e-reader content from various magazines and news publications. The Galaxy S also supports HD video playback and a variety of video formats. And of course, you'll be able to download lots of games from the Android Market. Pricing and carrier have not been announced.

Kyocera Zio

Kyocera is mostly known for its lower-end messaging and feature phones, so it was a pleasant surprise to see the Zio, the company's first Android phone. The Zio isn't the company's first smartphone, however; six years ago the company introduced the Symbian-based 7135. Though it will be affordable and targeted at first-time smartphone owners, the Zio packs some pretty solid specs. It has a bright 3.5-inch WVGA display, a full HTML browser, Wi-Fi connectivity, a 3.2-megapixel camera, and, of course, all the Google services that come with Android.

While Kyocera didn't officially announce a carrier, we spotted Cricket showing off the phone at the Mobile Focus media event.

Motorola i1 (Sprint Nextel)

Another Android first: Motorola launched the i1, the first push-to-talk Android phone on the market launching this summer on Nextel's iDEN network. iDEN phones are typically targeted at people who work in construction and other outdoor industries--they're built to withstand all environments, and generally, they're not the slickest-looking devices. The i1, however, has the specs and the features of a midrange smartphone. It sports a bright 3.1-inch touchscreen, a 5-megapixel camera, and four touch-sensitive buttons with a 5-way navigation wheel.

While pricing hasn't been announced, Sprint told me that the Motorola i1 will be "competitive" with other Android smartphones.

LG Remarq (Sprint)

LG's first green phone, the Remarq is constructed from 19 percent recycled plastic. It also contains no hazardous materials, and 87 percent of its parts are recyclable. And yes, its packaging is made from recycled paper that can also be recycled after use. Other earth-friendly features include a low-energy charger as well as an eco-calculator to reduce your carbon footprint. The Remarq will be free with a 2-year carrier contract in early May.

Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus (AT&T)

While Palm didn't announce any new handsets at CTIA, the company did announce a new carrier partner. The Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus will arrive on AT&T in coming months for $150 and $50 respectively. Almost identical to the Verizon model, the Pre Plus ships with 16GB of internal memory, a Touchstone-compatible back cover for inductive charging, and a keyboard that's slightly improved from the original Sprint version.

The Pixi Plus is also basically the same as the original, but comes with Wi-Fi connectivity. Under AT&T's unlimited data plan, the devices will have access to the company's Wi-Fi hotspots. In addition, the phones come with some AT&T-only services like AT&T Navigator and AT&T Address Book.

LG Cosmos (Verizon)

If you're looking for an inexpensive messaging phone on Verizon, check out the LG Cosmos. The Cosmos has a roomy slide-out keyboard, Bluetooth, and voice-command capability. The Cosmos also comes with a 1.3-megapixel camera with 2X zoom. For social networking, the Cosmos offers quick access to Twitter, Facebook, and other services.

The LG Cosmos is available this week from Verizon Wireless for $30 after a $50 mail-in rebate and a new two-year contract.

Pantech Link and Pursuit (AT&T)

I sat down with Pantech at the show to see some of the company's new messaging phones for AT&T. The Link (pictured) is incredibly slim, yet feels solid in the hand. The keyboard has domed, large keys made for heavy-duty messaging. The Link also comes with e-mail and IM clients as well as a 1.3-megapixel camera. The user interface is clean, yet simple and nicely showcased by its bright display.

Unfortunately, due to a carrier restriction, I couldn't snap a photo of the Pantech Pursuit. You'll just have to take my word for it that this is a hot little messaging phone. The Pursuit has a 2.8-inch touch display, which seems pretty small compared with phones like the EVO 4G and the Galaxy S. Still, the phone is easy to navigate, thanks to an intuitive widget-based user interface. And of course, it wouldn't be a Pantech phone without a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Pricing has not yet been announced.

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