World's Smallest? Chobi Mini Digital Camera
There's small, and then there's really small. The Chobi camera, which measures a mere 1.7 by 1.1 by 0.47 inches, has no problem fitting in the smallest of pockets. (It may get lost in there, though.)
This ultrasmall shooter captures still photos at 2048 by 1536 resolution, and records video at 30 frames per second and a resolution of 1280 by 960. It doubles as a voice recorder, as well, and has a MicroSD/MicroSDHC memory card slot.
Perhaps best suited for international spies (with really petite hands), Chobi seems an oddity in an era of ubiquitous cell phone cameras. Then again, this micro-cam is an instant conversation starter.
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Sporty Handset: Sagem's Puma Phone for Athletes
The average smartphone isn't designed with exercise in mind, unless you consider tapping or swiping your finger to be a major calorie-burner. The new Puma Phone is a notable exception. This sports-friendly handset is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts who would rather cycle than text.
Runners and hikers can monitor the number of steps they've taken, and how many calories they've burned; cyclists can track distance, pace, and speed. The Puma packs a 2.8-inch touchscreen, a 3.2-megapixel camera, GPS, and even a solar panel on the back for untethered charging.
Sagem Wireless will launch the handset in Europe, and the price is expected to be around $500. No immediate plans for a U.S. rollout have been announced, however.
iPad Alternative? Eken-M0001 Android Tablet PC
This slate device is so affordable--a mere $140--that it seems too good to be true. The specs look pretty good: a 7-inch touchscreen display with 800 by 480 resolution, Android 1.6, a 600MHz WonderMedia ARM processor, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, and 2GB of storage. You can buy it only in Asia right now.
Unlike the hermetically sealed iPad, the Eken M001 has a plethora of ports, including an SD memory card slot that holds up to 32GB. Naturally, an accelerometer lets you flip between portrait and landscape views. A featherweight at 0.77 pound, the M001 is easy to carry.
The big mystery is the battery life. We're betting that this bargain tablet won't rival the iPad's 10-hour life span.
Cool Drink: Acer Liquid E Smartphone
Though Acer is best known in the United States for its laptops and netbooks, it now makes smartphones too. The Android-based Liquid E is Acer's first handset; the company plans to launch a few more this year.
The Liquid E's 3.5-inch, capacitive touchscreen display has an impressive 800-by-400-pixel resolution, and the phone's peppy Qualcomm Snapdragon processor provides enough power for demanding apps such as gaming and streaming video.
The Liquid E, priced at about $400, debuted in February and runs Android 2.1, but it's unclear when or if U.S. wireless carriers will offer it. While the device's design and features seem good, the Liquid E may lack the wow factor necessary to grab headlines. Would a built-in massager help?
Brainteaser: Seahope Ants Watch
If a conventional analog or digital watch is too boring for you, this quirky timepiece may be your thing.
The Ants watch features an LED display swarming with multicolored crawlers that display the current time as some sort of entomological puzzle. Your goal is to decipher the cryptic presentation--think insect hieroglyphics--to tell the time. Pricing starts at about $120.
Easy? Not exactly, but you can consult this detailed explanation; chances are, you'll need to crack open the manual to get started. If the thought of illuminated ants makes your skin crawl, watchmaker Seahope sells a series of bizarro watches that are just as challenging.
OMG, OLED! Samsung Wave S8500 Smartphone
The Samsung Wave's Super-AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) display may not be the biggest smartphone screen around, but it's arguably one of the best.
Featuring a 3.3-inch, capacitive touchscreen with 800 by 480 resolution, the Wave--currently on preorder in Europe for about $500--offers wider viewing angles and better outdoor readability than many of its competitors do.
Sheathed in a sleek aluminum shell, the phone runs on Samsung's own 1GHz processor. It records video at 720p, and has a 5-megapixel camera with an LED flash. The Wave is the first handset to use Samsung's Bada OS; whether developers will write apps for the fledging platform remains to be seen.
Mighty Mite: HTC HD Mini Smartphone
But I'll do so anyway. The HTC HD Mini is a Windows Mobile 6.5 device--a rarity in the vendor's increasingly Android-based lineup--that packs a lot of functionality into a small package. It's now on sale in the UK for about $495.
Sporting a bright, 3.2-inch, 320-by-480-pixel capacitive touchscreen, as well as a 5-megapixel camera and HTC's easy-to-navigate Sense interface, the HD Mini has a lot to offer. However, with the imminent arrival of Windows Phone 7 devices, the HD Mini may be behind the times.
iPad Imitator: Moonse E-7001 Android Tablet
At first glance, this 7-inch Android slate resembles a giant iPod Touch--perhaps more so than the Apple iPad itself does.
The Moonse E-7001, available for $220 at Chinese online retailer Shenit.com, runs Android 1.5 and has an 800-by-480-pixel touchscreen, a 600MHz ARM-based processor, Wi-Fi, and 2GB of on-board flash.
Like the iPad, the E-7001 has an accelerometer for setting portrait or landscape orientation. Unlike the iPad, it offers an SDHC card slot for extra storage but provides no 3G broadband option.
One thing is for certain: Moonse has done a fine job of mimicking the iPod/iPhone look. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Apple must be blushing--or perhaps pondering litigation.
Starter Smartphone: LG Optimus
LG's new Android handset is tailored for first-time smartphone users who may be intimidated by the seeming complexity of pricier devices.
Its social skills are its strong suit. On the home screen, the LG Optimus Social Networking System (SNS) widgets display real-time status updates from popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Bebo. The highly customizable Optimus can display three to seven home screens, each with your choice of apps.
The 3-megapixel camera, relatively low-res by today's smartphone standards, knows some cool tricks such as geotagging and face-tagging. The LG Optimus arrives in Europe in May, but it won't be coming to this side of the pond. Pricing is not yet announced.
Beautiful Stranger: Sony Xperia X10 Smartphone
Though Sony's sleek and slim Android handset isn't available yet in the United States, that's bound to change soon.
The Xperia X10's 4-inch display is dazzling, but there's much more to this phone than just a pretty face. The 8-megapixel camera snaps great photos, and the 1GHz processor packs plenty of punch for demanding smartphone apps.
Sony's UX interface has some nifty features, including a great media player that recommends music. PCWorld phone guru Ginny Mies found an early release of the software to be a tad buggy and slow, however. Availability and pricing have not been announced.
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