CTIA Wireless 2011 will be remembered as the show where AT&T announced its acquisition of T-Mobile to become the nation’s largest carrier. However, devices and apps also took center stage at this year’s event, especially Android tablets and phones that can display 3D content--without glasses. After seeing dozens of new products in multiple categories, these are the mobile devices, apps, and technologies that rose to the top.
Best Smart Phone / Best in Show: HTC EVO 3D
One of the best smart phones ever just got better in practically every way. Like its name implies, the Android-powered EVO 3D displays all sorts of 3D content on its glasses-free qHD screen. Everything from movies and YouTube videos to the pictures and video you capture with the handset’s dual 5-MP cameras really pops. Powered by enhanced HTC Sense software, this super sequel also sports a brawny dual-core Snapdragon processor and a beefier 1730 mAh battery, all wrapped up in a more compact and elegant design. Look for the EVO 3D this summer.
Best Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Apple upped the ante with the iPad 2, and Samsung has come back swinging with the Galaxy Tab 10.1. When it launches June 8th, this dual-core tablet will be both thinner (.33 vs. .34 inches) and lighter (1.31 vs. 1.34 pounds) than its chief rival. The Tab 10.1 also features Samsung’s TouchWiz interface, which lets you populate this Android 3.0 slate’s home screens with resizable widgets and access the most frequently used apps just by swiping up. Perhaps the best part about the Tab 10.1 is its affordable starting price: $499 for 16GB.
Best Entertainment App: Gogobeans
Move over, Bump. Gogobeans is an app that lets smart phone owners transfer pictures, music, web pages, and any other mobile content to fellow users. When in the sharing mood, Gogobean-equipped iPhone and Android users can just give their handsets a shake. That action triggers the service to share selected information by depositing the desired content in the other person’s digital locker, called a bounce. You don’t even have to be in the same room to bounce info, which is very handy indeed.
Best Business App: ContentProtect Mobile for Business
These days, businesses worry about the time employees waste viewing inappropriate content on the go but also the security risk it might pose for their companies. ContentWatch, the folks behind the Net Nanny family of web filtering desktop software, has brought its expertise to mobile devices. The company’s solution is designed to plug potential liability vulnerabilities from inappropriate browser and Internet content on both Android and iOS by providing content filtering, a virtual firewall, and app management.
Best Accessory: Jabra Freeway
The most advanced wireless speaker phone for automobiles yet, the Freeway from Jabra is not only loud, its three speakers also produce a virtual surround sound effect within your car. This slim accessory is also intelligent enough to announce the names of incoming callers, and to turn on and off as you enter or exit the vehicle. Able to last 14 hours between recharges, the Freeway sports dual mics to block ambient noise, features a built-in FM transmitter, and even allows drivers to post updates to Facebook and Twitter via voice.
Best Enabling Technology: Wysips
While others are tackling wireless charging with inductive pads in combination with a special (read: bulky) battery cover or sleeve, Wysips has a brighter idea for wireless power. This company’s photovoltaic film for displays will allow handsets and other devices to charge using the sun’s rays or indoor lighting. Wysips is working with display film and LCD makers, phone manufacturers, and carriers to integrate this exciting technology within the next 12 months or so. If Wysips succeeds, you may never need to use a physical charger again.