What are this year’s hottest and most cutting-edge new electronic items and tech toys? FOX Business Network’s Shibani Joshi will be spotlighting them for you all week long in a special series called “2010 Holiday Gadget Guide.”While there are thousands of gadgets on the market, we are going to give you a first-hand look at some of the year’s best products made by the industry heavyweights.
(Check out FOXBusiness.com's full holiday-shopping guide coverage.)
2010 Holiday Gadget Guide: Tuesday’s Featured Tech - Seeking out Smartphones
No. 1. Windows-Phone-7 Operating System -- $110-$199
In a nutshell: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) launched its Windows-Phone-7 OS as a game changer, but with mixed results as it pushes to compete against Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android. But for Windows devotees this friendly, affordable and Windows-centric smartphone technology could be a good option.
Big selling points:• Friendly, easy-to-use interface• Apps are “live” – so you see real-time action coming from social media contacts on Facebook, etc.• Includes apps for Microsoft programs such as Excel, Office and more• Device requirements ensure great camera and video quality; 5MP camera/720p HD videoWhat’s missing:• Device security could be an issue, according to product reviewers• Office apps and basic features can be difficult to access• Fewer apps available versus the iPhone and Android-based phones• The Windows Phone 7 OS has received harsh criticism against Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android
No. 2. Google Nexus S -- $199.99 with T-Mobile contract/$529 without
Available at http://www.google.com/nexus/#
In a nutshell: Google’s latest Nexus S device is a kicked-up version of its original Nexus One phone and resembles Samsung’s Galaxy S. This device is geared towards “early adopters” who want to be the first to try out the newest Google creation including its Gingerbread Android OS – which is not available anywhere else (yet). The device hits the markets on December 16, 2010.
Big selling points:• 1 GHz Hummingbird process and 16GB of internal memory• Rear and front -facing camera, can take HD video• Features “Gingerbread,” the fastest version of Android OS available• A robust app store with 100k+ apps available• Talk time up to 7 hours• You can “test drive”- try before you buy the Nexus S in a local Best Buy store• It can be transformed into a portable wireless hotspot. Reviewers envision that its NFC chip may allow it to be used as a credit card in the future and video chat isn’t too far off
What’s Missing:• Pricey price tag - $529 with no plan/carrier• No 4G or 3G+, can only use 2G or 3G version
No. 3. AT&T iPhone 4 -- $199.99-$299.99
Available at http://www.apple.com/iphone/
In a nutshell: This is the gold standard in smartphones, and the fastest selling one on the market. While the features continually are updated -- like with Facetime -- the app store continues to be a big driver. If you are a Verizon customer, you may want to hold out as there are more rumors of a launch on the network in early 2011.
Big selling points:• 5-megapixel still camera• High-resolution touch screen• Most popular app store in existence• Easy to sync with other apple products/programs
What’s Missing:• 3.5” screen is smaller than other smartphones• Questions about quality of phone service through partnership with AT&T• Consumers are still waiting for the White iPhone 4 and a launch on Verizon
No. 4. Sprint RIMM Style –$99.99 after rebate with Sprint - requires a new line or must be eligible for upgrade. Also available at Amazon.com for $19.99 with new 2-year Sprint contract
Available at http://us.blackberry.com/
In a nutshell: Welcome to the new era of Blackberry. The Style is RIMM’s first flip phone, with a full keyboard that has a balanced mix of business and personal functions. Not only is it affordable, but it is geared to consumers who want some of the features of a Blackberry in a modern phone, but don’t call it a smartphone.
Big selling points:• Compact, slim size can fit into tight pair of jeans and opens into a full sized smartphone• Excellent keyboard and high-resolution screen• 5 megapixel camera• Runs on Blackberry new OS 6• Good durability with features that would make Blackberry loyalists happy
What’s missing:• Short battery life of only 4.5 hours• Limited 3G access• Low internal memory, 512MB without memory card• No front facing camera for video chatting• No touch screen – so definitely not a game playing device• 2.7-inch display can be small for some
No. 5. T-MOBILE HD7 -- $99.99-$199.99
Available at http://www.htc.com/www/product/hd7/overview.html
In a nutshell: Considered the flagship Windows-Phone-7 model with a large screen for viewing, a full keyboard and easy access to entertainment content complete with a kickstand to prop up the device so you can sit back and relax. Even with its top performance, the device is being called bulky; and with all that content that is so easy to consume, a better battery life would have been a nice complement to the product.
Big selling points:• Features a kick stand to prop up the device and watch content• 1GHz snapdragon processor• 4.3 inch display• 16GB of storage• Windows phone 7 OS with features like “Live Tiles”• Features a full keyboard• Strong speakerphone quality• GPS and entertainment apps including Netflix and Zune
What’s missing:• Rumors of iPhone 4- like antenna issues• Phone size called bulky and heavy at 5.7oz• Fewer apps than on competitor phones
No. 6. Nokia N-8 Touchscreen -- $529 unlocked
Available at http://www.nokiausa.com/find-products/nokian8
In a nutshell: If you’re looking for a smartphone that packs big features in a small package and are willing to pay a large price for it, this may be the one for you. From the world’s largest cell phone maker, The N8 boasts a 12 megapixel camera, webTV, FM radio, 12 hours of talk time and more. But of course, everything comes with a price. In this case, a price of $529 or more.
Big selling points:• 16GB memory• Includes FM radio/MP3 player• 12 megapixel camera, 720p HD video• Cool aluminum shell• Features webTV and an HDMI connection to link to your TV/projector• Free voice-guided navigation• 12 hours of talktime
What’s missing:• 3.5 inch screen smaller than other Smartphones• The phones price tag in the $500+-range is a major drawback• Jury is still out on viability of its Symbian ^3 OS• Nokia acknowledged a limited number of phones experiencing problems retaining power
No. 7. DROID INCREDIBLE -- FREE with new Verizon account/ $149.99
In a nutshell: One of Verizon’s top selling phones and one of its smartphone answers to the iPhone (until it makes it way to the Verizon network). The Droid’s Android OS makes it appealing in spite of the short battery life and lack of front-facing camera. It is an affordable touch-screen phone with a good mix of features.
Big selling points:• 8 megapixel camera• Access to Android app store with over 100k apps• HD screen• 1 Ghz Snapdragon processor• Runs Android 2.2 OS
What’s missing:• Small 3.7” screen, but device is thicker than the Nexus and iPhone• 8GB internal flash memory• Most heard complaint: Battery life of 5.2 hours of usage time is paltry versus others• No front camera
No. 8. AT&T Motorola Flipout -- $49.99-$79.99
In a nutshell: AT&T and Motorola offer up an affordable Android phone ideal for kids and teens - that is still cool enough to be owned by the young and hip. The Flipout is a compact smartphone with a rotating touchscreen, boasting a wide array of bells and whistles like an Android OS and MOTOBLUR software to connect with friends.
Big selling points:• Full keyboard• Runs on Android 2.1 operating system• Rotating touchscreen• Plays MP3’s, has WiFi and GPS receiver• Affordable for parents• Comes in a variety of colors
What’s missing:• Small 2.8” display with poor resolution is biggest criticism• 4.6 hour battery talk time is low for smartphones• 3 megapixel camera• Some reviews question 3G connection reliability