3GSM 2006: BenQ, FS, Motorola & Seagate

With this afternoon's announcements becoming more scattered, Gordon picks out the wheat from the chaff.

Following the stunning range of devices launched by Samsung on day one and the impressive counter thrusts from Sony Ericsson and Nokia this morning the rest of the day has proved a little stop/start. Here is a roundup of the best bits.


Easily the most eye catching new handset from the new BenQ Siemens brand is the EF91: a tasty clamshell featuring a 3.2 megapixel auto focus integrated camera. Due to give the SGH-Z710 a run for its money, the EF91 also manages to pack in a flash 320 x 240 pixel 262K display, microSD expansion slot and media player.

The EF91 is also HSDPA, supports Bluetooth, has virtual surround sound capabilities and will be available in several different colours. BenQ chose not to disclose the size and weight of the EF91 which could yet be its Achilles’ Heel, but with a summer release date we won’t have to wait too long to find out.


Over at Fujitsu Siemens there was also an obvious standout contender: the new Pocket LOOX T Series. Two models will be released in this line: the T810 and T830 and they feature nearly identical specs: Tri-band GSM and UMTS, 802.11b/g wireless with VoIP, Bluetooth 2.0, integrated GPS, thumbboards and SD card slots. The T830 adds a two megapixel camera to the mix along with a VGA one for video calls. The cost could be prohibitive with the range starting from 700 euros, but with July shipping dates, we’ll soon know if they’re worth it.


For a company which featured so prominently at last year’s show and is still darling of the mobile phone industry (though some would say fading), Motorola has been rather quiet. The latest and apparently final variant of its famous RAZR brand, the Z, was announced last week and the ROKR and ROKR E2 were pants. Incidentally, it has said it will drop Apple’s iTunes for Microsoft software next time around, surprise, surprise!

The company has confirmed, however, that its long overdue slim line smartphone, the Q (above), first unveiled way back in July

will finally hit Stateside this week. What of a UK release? Either Q4 or as late at the beginning of 2007, it says. With the even more pocket friendly Samsung SGH-i320 due out way before that I think I can safely say I’m over my Q obsession. Come on guys, pull something interesting out of the bag…


On a slightly different track, storage monster Seagate has delivered a boost to potentially all mobile devices after it unveiled the ST1.3 Series 12GB one inch hard drive. It impressively claims to have a footprint 23 per cent smaller (40 x 30 x 5mm) with 30 per cent less power consumption and with 50 per cent more capacity than the company’s previous flagship 1in model. As you might suspect, given these stunning improvements, this product is Seagate’s first 1in drive to use perpendicular recording. If this is a sign of things to come from this technology, I’m getting mighty excited. You’ll start seeing it in (ultra desirable) devices from Q3.

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