You can't touch these...
While in Barcelona, we got a chance to see almost every great device the show had to offer. But we found out that many we liked were never going to come to the United States.
Here's a round-up of those non-arrivals for your viewing pleasure. Let's start with a cool connected car.
Volvo V60 diesel hybrid
Volvo showed off its svelte V60 diesel plug-in hybrid in the Mobile World Congress Connected City, complete with the new Sensus Connected Touch infotainment system.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing the V60 in the U.S. anytime soon—and when/if we eventually do, it may have a different body.
Good news, though: the Sensus Connected Touch system with its snappy, responsive touchscreen will come to our shores.
Asus PadFone Infinity
It’s a tablet! It’s a phone! And it’s one of the coolest pieces of merged technology we saw on the show floor!
The Asus PadFone Infinity is a smartphone that becomes a tablet when you slide the one into the included 10.1-inch docking display. When the phone is docked, you’ll be able to access tablet-specific apps and take advantage of the added screen real estate while charging the phone unit simultaneously.
As fun as the PadFone is, Asus currently has no intention of bringing it to the U.S. market. Bummer.
NEC Medias W
Another international smartphone we really like is the NEC Medias W, which gives you two displays for the price of one.
The two screens lay back-to-back, connected by a hinge, so when you need more screen real estate, just fold it out. What really gives this phone the wow-factor is that it can simultaneously run two apps side-by-side—one on each screen.
NEC plans to release the handset in Japan in April, but is unsure of a global release plan. Guess we’re taking a field trip to Japan.
While in Japan picking up a double-screened smartphone, we’ll also grab a Delicious Charge iPhone 5 charger from accessory maker Elecom Japan Design.
This U.S.B to Lightning charger comes in three food-based shapes, and an app-powered animated character pops up on your iPhone’s screen and ‘eats’ the base while it’s charging.
All of the charging docks I’ve seen in the U.S. focus only on the battery. This one keeps me entertained. I like being entertained.
DivX Plus set-top box
As someone who doesn’t have a cable subscription, I’m always looking for new TV solutions.
Digital entertainment company Rovi announced that its DivX Plus set-top streaming box is now compatible with the latest online video compression standard.
The new technology, called H.265 HEVC (high efficiency video encoding) is a successor to the H.264 AVC system that is today widely used for online video. For consumers, this means faster video streaming with a better quality.
Like a Roku or an Apple TV device, users stream movies and TV shows through the box and to their TV sets, Rovi has partnered with many European distributors, but none in the United States, unfortunately.
The launch of Mozilla’s Firefox OS for mobile devices was met with a wave of excitement from loyal users of the Firefox web browser. Demos given were on a budget smartphone model, so the price point might not be outrageous.
We’re not exactly sure what devices will support Firefox OS, as partners and availability are still unknown at this point. We’ll take unknown to mean a skeptical maybe, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed.
There’s something really intriguing about a smartphone with an e-ink display, like the just announced YotaPhone, by Yota.
This phone has two displays, an LCD touchscreen on one side and an e-ink screen on the other. You can integrate your Twitter feed, Facebook wall, or RSS account into the e-ink screen, which will display at all time through the phone’s stock quote feature.
The main reason for making a dual display with e-ink is to preserve battery life, but it’s also visually appealing. Sadly, we’ll have to admire it from afar, as it’s only available in Russia.
Etisalat’s Shopping Poster
Etisilat is showing off a nifty NFC-enabled shopping poster for Flous, its mobile payments platform.
Posters like this one will show up in train stations, airports, and other public places, and people can purchase groceries or other goods using their NFC-enabled smartphones. Just tap your phone on the item or package you want to purchase, and you can have it sent to your home or held at the store for pickup.
Unfortunately, Etisilat is a telco in the United Arab Emirates, which means you won’t see these posters in the U.S. unless an American company decides to copy them.
Morpho Smart Camera
Morpho has developed an image stabilization system for high-definition video and a background defocus feature for smartphone cameras, which makes then more feature-packed than before. It works with video features, too.
Japan’s Morpho also has developed a smartphone application that lets cameras shoot images with a defocused background, typically a feature reserved for high-end cameras.
The features should be shipping on smartphones early next year, but probably not here.
The Vuzix M100 touts itself as being a smaller, cheaper version of Google Glass, and we believe them.
This wearable screen slips behind your ear and in front of your eye like a pair of gasses and presents stuff to you through augmented reality. It’s equipped with an integrated head tracker, GPS, and a camera, so it works with basic augmented-reality applications.
It also shows you incoming texts, maps, emails, and more. The company says it will be available this summer for around $500, but we’re not exactly sure when—or where—it will be available.
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