Okay, to be fair I wasn't in Barcelona at 3GSM and therefore haven't tried any of these phones in person. Then again, neither have most of the people who were at the show. Most of the phones on this list were displayed by company reps or under closed glass, and weren't available for hands-on time. Even based solely on photos and specs, some very interesting new GSM handsets are most certainly coming to the global market (if not necessarily to US shores) this year:
1. Samsung Ultra Smart 520
Samsung dropped a pair of Ultra Smart QWERTY-packing smartphones this week. The F700 is a spec sheet's dream what with its 5MP camera and fastest-yet HSDPA data speeds, but the F520 takes the cake for oohs and ahhs with its unique dual slider format. Smaller than the F700, the 520 still manages to pack a full QWERTY board, 3MP camera, 3-inch touchscreen, and "regular speed" HSDPA into its 17mm thick body. It's flash UI looks pretty slick, too. Too bad it won't arrive until September, and isn't US spec at this point.
2. Neonode N2
Don't call it an iPhone clone. Neonode introduced a touch screen phone way back in 2002, and now the Swedish company is at it again with its very snazzy looking - and open source minded - N2. This small touchscreen phone recognizes gestures, runs on an open platform OS, and features a 2MP camera, Quad-Band radio, and a diminutive form factor that weighs but 70 grams. This one's probably destined for cult hacker status and not pick-up by a major US carrier, but I'm going to do what I can to get one anyway. A truly open source phone has a lot of potential what with all those programmer types hanging out on that "Internet" thingy.
3. Tie: RIM Blackberry 8800 and Motorola Q9
Maybe not so exciting to peep, but certain to gain a big share of the pragmatic vote, the Blackberry 8800 brings the Pearl's trackball and styling cues to a full QWERTY device, while Moto's Q9 brings a slimmed down body to the global market. I'm working on a review of the Q for Sprint right now and for as much as I prefer Symbian to Windows Mobile, Motorola did right by the industrial design on this one. Expect legions of T-Mobile and Cingular customers to clamor for their carriers to pick up the Q9.
4. LG Prada
Enough with the "Prada Ripped Off iPhone" nonsense. Products are developed simultaneously sometimes, you know. While a cell phone named after a fancy clothing designer seems rather silly, it also makes a lot of sense. Prada the phone is sleek and chic just like Prada the clothing, and it runs a new OS and UI purportedly co-developed by folks at both LG and Prada (and not Windows Mobile 6, as rumored). Personally, I'm more itchy to get a hold of a Shine than a Prada, but either way LG is keeping up their fine tradition of immaculately designed handsets.
5. Tie: Nokia E90 and Toshiba G900
Here are your "Kitchen Sink" entries in the top 5 list. The E90 runs Nokia's Series 60 Symbian-based platform on a 240x320 display. And that's just on the outside! This "clamshell candybar" communicator phone features a 800x352 internal display capable of display the full width of standard webpages. It also packs a 3.2mp camera, WiFi, HDSPA and EDGE, GPS, an FM Radio, and (of course) a full QWERTY keypad. When it launches later this year it will cost ... a lot of money ... probably around $1,000 worth of it.
The G900, on the other hand, only has one display. Don't worry, though, it's an 800x480 WVGA touchscreen. The G900 also runs Windows Mobile 6, packs tri-band HSDPA, WiFi, and GPS, and features a biometric fingerprint scanner alongside its 2MP (rear) and VGA (front) cameras.
Honorable Mentions: Samsung Ultra Smart F700 (Touchscreen smartphone with slide-out QWERTY board and 5MP camera); Samsung Ultra II Line featuring U100 (5.9mm thin candybar with 3MP camera); Nokla 6110 (HSDPA phone with GPS); Motorola Z8 (Symbian OS phone with "ergonomic" curved slider); Possio GRETA (Combination Cellphone, Printer, Scanner, and GSM Fax machine).