Bonnie Cha and Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Bonnie Cha

Only in Barcelona: Dual Screens and Phones That Translate

There weren’t any big surprises or breakout products at Mobile World Congress this year. It has been a combination of more phablets, devices for emerging markets and some meh tablets.

But one of the best things about this show is that it gives us a chance to check out handsets from around the world. Some are simply variations of existing models available in the U.S., while others will make you green with envy.

Since these devices will probably never make it to the States, we decided to bring them to you. Below, you’ll find just a few that caught our eye this week.

NEC Medias W N-05E

NEC IMG_20130225_125545had an interesting dual-screen device that closed to work like a traditional smartphone and opened into a near-tablet-size device. Apps could flow over both 4.3-inch screens, or users could run two apps or use one screen as a keyboard and the other for running programs.

Though just a prototype, the NEC product was functional, and included customized email and photo gallery apps that really took advantage of the dual screens.

Kyocera Mamorino3

Just P1030887like the senior-dedicated handsets on display, there were plenty of cellphones designed for specifically for kids.

The Kyocera Mamorino3 is one that’s available from Japan. The most interesting feature of this handset is the emergency strap at the end. If a child is in any danger or needs help, he or she can pull the strap to trigger a loud alarm. An email will also be automatically sent to a designated contact person.

More Samsung Galaxy Phones

There IMG_20130225_130255is already a range of Samsung Galaxy devices available in the U.S. — most notably the Galaxy S III — but we stumbled across several we hadn’t seen before.

The phones ranged from the large-screen Galaxy Grand to the very entry-level Galaxy Fame and the ruggedized Galaxy Xcover 2. Also on display was the Galaxy Express, a model that seemed to bear a good deal of resemblance to the soon-to-be-updated Galaxy S III.

NTT DoCoMo Translation Service

NTT P1030863DoCoMo is one of Japan’s largest mobile operators, and its selection of smartphones is just as vast and varied. At past shows it has displayed handsets made out of wood, phones that look like chocolate and one that could be controlled by eyeball movements.

This year, NTT DoCoMo highlighted more of its services rather than phones. One was its recently launched Android translation app, which only works on NTT DoCoMo phones.

The app can translate voice calls from Japanese to English, Korean or Mandarin. A company spokesperson said there’s about a two- to three-second delay for translation.

You can also dictate a sentence into the phone, and the app will provide a text translation that you can show the other person. Text translation supports 10 languages, including French, German, Italian and Spanish.

Huawei Ascend P2

Huawei P1030765announced the Ascend P2 at the show, and quickly claimed it to be the “world’s fastest smartphone.” Such superlatives are meaningless in our book, but the 4G LTE-enabled handset is capable of download speeds of up to 150 megabits per second — to our knowledge, the fastest connection available on a smartphone to date. The Android 4.1 Jelly Bean device is also powered by a quad-core 1.5GHz processor.

Other features of the Ascend P2 include a 4.7-inch, 720p touchscreen and a 13-megapixel rear camera. The phone will be available in Europe starting in the second quarter, but there are no plans to bring it to the U.S. with a carrier.

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