On the opening day of CTIA 2013, over a thousand exhibitors showed off the latest in mobile gear and gadgets. LAPTOP was on the scene at the Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas to get up close and personal with new technology from the likes of Nvidia and Kyocera, and to check out innovative accessories that promise to make your mobile life easier. Here are the highlights of day one.
Kyocera Hydro Phones in Ice
Kyocera bowed two waterproof phones at CTIA in the Hydro XTRM (heading to U.S. Cellular) and Hydro Edge (coming to both Sprint and Boost Mobile), boasting the ability to survive more than 30 minutes submerged. If that's not impressive enough, Kyocera showed us the two handsets encased in blocks of ice. The XTRM is the higher-end of the two devices, but they should both find a lot of takers among shoppers who don't want to worry about water damage.
Nvidia Shield Hands-on
We last wrapped our mitts around Nvidia's Android-based gaming device in February, but here at CTIA 2013, we tested the Tegra 4-powered handheld by blasting zombies in "Dead Trigger 2" and exploring the followup to "Borderlands". It's too early to pass judgement on this clamshell gadget, but we can say its' 720p display looks excellent, the speakers are thunderous, and the graphics experience is much richer than the PlayStation Vita. But, at $250, Sony's handheld is 100 bucks cheaper. Do the considerable specs inside the Nvidia Shield justify its $350 price tag?
Yota Devices Ruby Hotspot
Yota Devices, the folks behind the dual-screen Yota Phone that won our Best Smartphone of CES 2013 award are at it again. This time, Yota is showing of its new Ruby global Wi-Fi hotspot, and, like the dual-screen phone before it, this device packs some intriguing features. Up front is a single backlit Yota logo that you can customize to change colors depending on your connection. For example, you’ll automatically know when you drop from 4G LTE to 3G. Yota COO Lau Geckler told us that carriers will be able to re-brand the Ruby with their own logos. Along the Ruby’s top edge is a small E-Paper display that provides you with the Ruby’s remaining battery life and connectivity status.
BlackBerry Q10 in White
Verizon will launch a stylish all-white version of the BlackBerry Q10 in June, just in time for summer. The device will pack BlackBerry's updated take on its signature physical keyboard. The hardware is unchanged from the black Q10, including a smallish 3.1-inch display with 720 x 720 resolution and 1.5-GHz dual-core processor and 8-MP camera. However, the white back is both good and bad for the device and its users.
Sprint's Trio of Tri-Mode 4G LTE Devices
Sprint has announced a trio of tri-band 4G LTE devices at CTIA 2013 that will let users enjoy better in-building coverage and better network performance. All three devices will be able to tap into Sprint’s 800 MHz and 1.9 GHz bands, as well as Clearwire’s 2.5 GHz network. The Netgear Zing is the most compelling of the three gadgets, as it’s the first touchscreen hotspot in Sprint’s lineup.
Zagg Keyboards for iPad Mini
Accessories maker Zagg is showing off two new iPad mini keyboards here at CTIA, the ZaggKeys Cover and ZaggKeys Folio. Both devices feature a new hinged style that helps keep your iPad mini in place while still offering viewing angles of up to 135 degrees. The new hinge design is a rather drastic step away from the trench style keyboard cases. Those included a small slot that you would rest your iPad in and kept it at a set viewing angle.
Boost Mobile Wallet
Boost Mobile Wallet isn’t trying to kill debit cards or credit cards like NFC-based solutions. Instead, this service actually comes with its own Visa debit card that taps into your Boost account, which you can add cash to at any time. You’ll be able to top off your account right from your phone, pay your bills, and soon you’ll be able to cash checks wirelessly.
Nvidia Tegra 4i Hits 150 Mbps in Demo, Ready for LTE Advanced
For Nvidia to get back in the smartphone race against Qualcomm, it needs a platform that’s future proof. And that’s exactly what the Tegra 4i promises. Shown here at CTIA 2013 in Las Vegas, the mobile processor with integrated LTE modem offered 150 Mbps data speeds during a demo, thanks to a software upgrade that supports Cat 4 LTE-Advanced technology.
Caterpillar B15 Rugged Smartphone
Caterpillar, the maker of heavy-duty construction equipment, has announced that its second smartphone the Caterpillar B15, is headed to the U.S. market. The handset looks like it would be right at home on any construction site, and with its rugged design, it very well could. Naturally, we had to go hands-on with the B15, to see just how durable it is.