As the biggest tech show focused on mobile and wireless technology in the U.S., CTIA Wireless 2010 showed that innovation is still very much alive and well. The latest smart phones on display boast faster processors and monster-size screens to deliver the full Web, and there were plenty of apps that are not only fun to use but practical.
We spent three days at events and scouring the show floor in Las Vegas to bring you our favorites in each category. These are the devices and apps to watch, ones we think are guaranteed to shake up the industry and make a big splash.
Best Smart Phone: HTC Evo 4G
If you asked us to build our dream Android phone, it would look a lot like the HTC Evo 4G. Coming this summer from Sprint, this killer device boasts a huge 4.3-inch display, a blazing 1-GHz Snapdragon processor, and an 8-megapixel camera that can record 720p video. But what really makes the Evo 4G stand out is that it’s the first 4G phone in the U.S., offering speeds between 3 and 6 Mbps in an increasing number of cities.
What will you be able to do with those speeds? Try watching high-quality YouTube videos and Sprint TV, streaming your own videos live to the web using the built-in Qik application, and sharing that 4G connection with up to eight devices at once, whether it’s an iPod touch, laptop, or PSP. Add in such cool features as a built-in kickstand and front-facing camera (for upcoming video chat apps) and you have one of the hottest phones of the year.
Best iPhone App: Opera Mini for iPhone
Anyone who uses an iPhone knows that there are times when you can’t get to your favorite websites fast enough. (This week in Las Vegas it took us 51 seconds to load the Google home page at full 3G signal strength.) And that’s why Opera Mini for the iPhone could be the ultimate backup plan—if it’s approved for the App Store.
Because it uses server-side rendering, this streamlined browser downloads pages up to six times faster than Safari. Plus, you get an elegant tab system for switching between open pages, a speed dial view of your bookmarks, and the ability to pick up your browsing session where you left off. Fingers crossed.
Best BlackBerry App: Bccthis
Do you ever wish you could send a little note to the people you’re about to Bcc on an important e-mail—without having to send a separate e-mail? That’s the appeal of Bccthis, a simple but very compelling app that allows you to have side conversations with colleagues, coworkers, or anyone else in your address book.
Like the plug-in that’s available for Outlook, you can easily check off contacts and then compose your message. Bccthis integrates well with the BlackBerry OS, and the recipient doesn’t need to have the app downloaded to read what you want to share. Once you start using this app, you’ll find that it’s indispensable.
Best Tablet: Marvell Moby
The Moby is not just another iPad alternative. This 10-inch Android tablet, a reference design that will likely come to market under a different brand, is expected to cost a mere $99. Targeted at students and other budget-conscious consumers, the Moby is anything but cheap when it comes to features and performance.
It sports a 1-GHz Marvell Armada 600 Series processor, 1080p video playback with HDMI output, and an integrated memory card slot and USB port. Plus, it’s expected to have full Flash support, so you’ll be able to watch your favorite web videos on sites such as Hulu. For now, the user interface is pretty bare-bones (stock Android), and it’s not yet clear what apps it will be able to run, but we expect the Moby to turn a lot of heads when it hits the market later this year.