Mickey Mouse and pals stepped aside this week in sunny Orlando, Florida to make way for the latest and greatest gear wireless companies had to offer. After a killer Consumer Electronics Show in January and an action-packed Mobile World Congress in February, we wondered if our favorite brands had enough juice left in the tank for CTIA Wireless 2011 this week. While there weren’t quite as many announcements as in other shows this year, we definitely saw some exciting new devices showcased by companies like Sprint, HTC, Samsung and more. Hit the break for a rundown of all the biggest announcements from this year’s show.
We kicked the show off this year with the Nokia Astound, a sleek Symbian smartphone set to launch on T-Mobile early next month. We didn’t see much more from Nokia at the show this year, but the Finnish giant will likely be relatively quite for most of 2011 as it transitions to Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform. In fact, the Astound could very well be one of the last Symbian smartphones pushed out by a U.S. carrier. We’ll pour some out.
Another company that didn’t make much of a showing at CTIA Wireless this year was Sony Ericsson. The Swedish joint venture did have some representation at the show, however. Sony Ericsson’s beast of a gaming phone — the Xperia PLAY — was found lurking at the show dressed in Verizon Wireless branding, and we spent s few minutes putting it through the paces. This gaming Goliath definitely packs a punch, and we can’t wait to get our hands on a review unit. Bonus: if you missed them earlier, you need to watch these Xperia PLAY promo videos recently released by Sony Ericsson.
T-Mobile didn’t stop at the Astound, of course, as the soon to be acquired carrier announced several new devices at the show. The dual-core processor packing T-Mobile G2x by LG was definitely one of the stars of the show for us, and we can’t wait for it to launch. T-Mobile also had its upcoming Sidekick 4G and LG G-Slate on hand at the show, and we enjoyed taking both devices for test spins. Don’t forget to check out our video hands-on with the Sidekick 4G, the T-Mobile G2x and the LG G-Slate.
Samsung came to CTIA Wireless packing two new tablets this year — the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and a redesigned Galaxy Tab 10.1. These puppies are thin and sleek, and they definitely represent a nice step up from the original 7-inch Galaxy Tab. We also spent some time looking at Samsung’s TouchWiz UX, which will be the first custom UI layer for Google’s Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) platform when Samsung begins pushing it out later this year.
Next up was Sprint’s event, and it was easily one of the biggest shindigs at the show this year. Sprint unveiled two terrific new devices by HTC — the HTC EVO 3D and the HTC EVO View 4G tablet — which were among our favorite new gadgets shown off at CTIA. The EVO 3D will be the the first device to launch in the U.S. with a glasses-free 3D display, and it sports top of the line specs that rival any smartphone on the market. The EVO View 4G will be a WiMAX-equipped rebranded version of HTC’s Flyer tablet, and while there are definitely still a few wrinkles to iron out, this 7-inch slate has a lot to offer. Sprint also showed off a new version of Google’s latest smartphone — the Nexus S 4G — which is just like the original save for the addition of a WiMAX radio. Be sure to check out our hands-on videos of the HTC EVO 3D and HTC EVO View 4G if you haven’t already — and check out our new hands-on with the Kyocera Echo as well.
Not one to be left out of the fun, AT&T brought a few new devices to the show… which were all likely overshadowed by the recent announcement that it plans to acquire T-Mobile USA for $39 billion. The carrier unveiled two new smartphones to the show — the Windows Phone 7-powered HTC HD7S and the LG Thrill Android phone. The HD7S was the only new Windows Phone announced this week, though it will be AT&T’s version of the HTC HD7 currently offered by T-Mobile so it isn’t even really new. The LG Thrill is a rebranded LG Optimus 3D and it features an awesome 3D display along with solid build and high-end specs. Finally, AT&T noted that it will launch the 10-inch Acer Iconia Tab A501 Android tablet this coming summer. We shot some hands-on video of the HTC HD7S and the LG Thrill on Wednesday, so don’t forget to check them out.