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Smartphones Hit The Runway At CTIA

Major news coming out of the first day of the big CTIA Wireless 2007 was sparse, but it wouldn't be CTIA without an array of new mobile device announcements. The handsets that have debuted so far have continued the trend that first saw light in May 2006 with the release of the Motorola Q: Smartphone makers, who have traditionally targeted enterprise users, are increasingly moving into the consumer market with lower priced and more stylish devices.

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Sprint Shows Off The Samsung UpStage Mobile Music Phone

Sprint Shows Off The Samsung UpStage Mobile Music Phone

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"Beginning with the Q, we've seen a real spike in interest among 'prosumers' and mainstream consumers in smartphones," said Miro Kazakoff, a senior associate for wireless devices with Compete, a market research firm that specializes in online shopping behavior.

What that means for vendors is devices that are at once flashier than your basic black BlackBerry, and lower priced. Here's a roundup of the device announcements of the last 24 hours:

Taiwan-based High Tech Computer, which has in the last two years moved beyond being a pure manufacturer of equipment for other companies to releasing devices under its own brand, debuted two interesting new devices: the Advantage and the Shift. The Shift isn't really a smartphone per se, but what's called an "ultra-mobile PC" (UMPC). About the size of a pair of CD jewel cases, the Shift has a tilt-up screen and a full laptop-style keyboard, plus multiple connectivity options, including GSM, Edge, UMTS, HSDPA, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi.

Rather than a conventional mobile operating system such as Windows Mobile or Symbian, the Shift runs the full Windows Vista Business. Whether professionals want to carry what's essentially a miniaturized laptop rather than a smartphone remains to be seen -- and High Tech Computer isn't saying what the price will be, though it will likely be close to $2,000.

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