Notes from the DigitalLife Conference

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The DigitalLife conference is going on now at the Javits Center in New York. I was there a couple days ago, along with several other member of the TechnologyGuide team.

Quite a few mobile products were on display, and I want to share some pictures and images from this show.

Palm, Sprint, and the Centro

Bowman and Coligan with Centros
Bowman and Coligan
with Centros

(view large image)

The most significant news to come out of this show is Palm’s and Sprint’s announcement of the Centro. I’ve already extensively covered this upcoming smartphone, including a first thoughts preview, but I thought you might be interested in seeing a little bit of what Sprint and Palm did during the unveiling.

Palm has a area devoted to demonstrating this device. This is called the "Centro Lounge". But, if like me you were there before the official unveiling of this smartphone, it was just called the "        Lounge", as you can see in this picture.

The official announcement was handled by Ed Coligan, CEO of Palm, and Danny Bowman, VP of customer equipment for Sprint. Both men emphasized the consumer-oriented features of this model, and Coligan said he expects it to appeal to the large group of people who own feature phones but are ready to move up to something more functional.

Zipit Wireless Messenger 2

Zipit Z2
Zipit Z2
(view large image)

The Zipit Z2 is a small device that focuses on one feature: Instant Messaging. It was designed to allow teenagers to send all the IMs they want without tying up the family computer. It lets users exchange messages with their friends with AOL/AIM, Yahoo, and MSN accounts over a Wi-Fi connection.

It does a little bit more than just IM. It plays MP3s stored on a miniSD card or streamed from Internet radio station. You can also view photos and slideshows, but that’s about it. There’s no way to exchange emails with it, or access the Web.

In my brief testing, this gizmo does what it does pretty well. My favorite feature is that it lumps all your friends’ accounts in together and lets you chat with them simultaneously, no matter which service they are using. You don’t, for example, have to switch clients to chat with someone on AIM and Yahoo at the same time.

Single-purpose devices are always controversial, but this gadget’s developer has done of good job of keeping the price down: $150.

The Zipit Wireless Messenger 2 will be available to the public on October 1. You can learn more at zipitwireless.com.

Nokia’s N Series

SlingPlayer Mobile for Symbian
SlingPlayer Mobile
on a Nokia N95

(view large image)

DigitalLife is a show mostly devoted to consumer technology, and so Nokia’s booth is dedicated to its N Series smartphones.

This company introduced a version of the N95 with support for the 3G frequencies used in N. America at this conference, and this device was, of course, on display and on sale. (Read more in this article.)

I also saw a demonstration of the new version of SlingPlayer Mobile for Symbian/S60 that had just been launched that day. This application gives Slingbox owners the ability to watch and control their home TV from their smartphone.

Nokia N76
Nokia N76
(view large image)

This was my first opportunity to see the Nokia N76, and I was impressed by its design. I really like clamshells, and I like them even more when they are as thin and sleek as this one.

HP

HP has a large presence at DigitalLife, and its last generation of iPAQs were on display. Unfortunately, the company isn’t showing off the upcoming models. Admittedly, many of these are targeted at enterprise users, but this would have been a good opportunity to show off the iPAQ 110, a handheld that I predict will do well with consumers.

Windows Mobile

Microsoft also has a large booth, and has a number of Windows Mobile devices on display, many of which were created by HTC, including the Touch.

The one that most caught my eye is the HTC Vox though, and I spent quite a bit of time with this smartphone. I expect to put my first thoughts of this device together into an article in the very near future.

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