Happy New Year, and welcome to our first mobile market wrap-up for 2010! It’s been one busy week in the world of mobile with Google’s Nexus One launch and a whole host of news coming out of CES. I’ll try to keep things brief, but there is so much going on, it’s going to be tough.

Let’s start with the Nexus One. There was a ton of hype and lots of good rumors leading up to the January 5th annoucement. The event was a bit anti-climatic, as most of the details had already leaked. The phone looks awesome, and it has a very iPhone-like look to it. More important than the phone itself is the sales model that Google is proposing. Instead of buying the phone on contract, you buy the phone unlocked from Google and then add the carrier service of your choice (it’s not quite THAT simple, but Google ultimiately wants it to get there). Here are a number of links that you can follow to learn more about the phone. Personally, I can’t wait to get my hands on one!

 For the rest of the week, the Consumer Electronis Show has dominated the news – along with my Google Reader!!!! CES is a gadget lover’s dream. It’s been a few years since I’ve went, and if you’ve never gone, you need to. It’s quite the experience. The last time I went in 2006, I don’t think I ever saw, or ever will see, so many televisions in one place. In addition to televisions, which are all the rage again with 3-D, there were plenty of mobile announcements. Here is a list of some of the more interesting announcements. I’m sure I’ll miss a few, so if anyone has any to add, please chime in with a comment.

  • AT&T made plenty of interesting announcements. First off, it announced five Android devices coming to its network, the release of webOS devices by mid-2010, and a whole new app store that caters to phones of all types. Engadget provided a detailed review of the session, with photos. (AT&T should have just spent one hour detailing how it is going to improve its network to support iPhone traffic – that’s what most customers are worried about these days)
  • Palm’s big announcement was bringing the Pre and Pixi to Verizon. Of course, they’ve made some design changes and added the Plus moniker to the name of each, but in the end, they look the same as their original cousins available exlusively on Sprint. (The Pre’s availability on Verizon is long overdue and may be too late to save them from oblivion)
  • Dell formally jumped into the market with the Mini3i. It’s already available in Brazil and China but is now officially coming to the US. For some reason, they’ve decided to offer it exclusively to AT&T. (I am baffled at how phone manufacturers never learn – exclusivity for a new phone is never a good thing. If Dell wants to be a player, they need to give everyone access to the device, not just those on one carrier)
  • Intel announced their entry into the smartphone market with a processor for smartphones, an operating system for smartphones, and, you guessed it, an app store. (Hey that’s just what the market needs, yet ANOTHER app store! I don’t know if I am excited or perplexed by Intel’s intentions at this point)
  • Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications behometh, is looking for an entry point into the US for its mobile phone product line. Most people have not heard of Huawei, but they are quickly becoming one of the largest telecommunication equipment providers in the world, rivaling Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent and Fujitsu. (If there was one company I’d be worried about in the mobile phone market, it’s Huawei. I’ve seen them in other markets, and they have a “take no prisoners” attitude toward winning)
  • LG announced the GW990 handset. It’s a 4.8″ monster and the first handset to use the Intel processor. It’s looks amazing in terms of processing power, and the video capability is impressive. (I spent years waiting for cellphones to get small enough to fit into my pocket so I could carry them around easily – why does the market now seem fixated on going the other direction. Has someone implemented a tax on convenience and portability that I’m not privy to?)

Finally, CES is always good for gadgets out of the mainstream and years ahead of themselves. Here’s is just a sample of some of the more interesting announcements:

  • My favorite is a string-based phone charger. That’s right, you pull the string, many, many times, to charge your phone. (Why do “pull my finger” jokes come to mind when I see this product)
  • My second favorite is MagicJack, a femtocell that improves the wireless coverage in your house independent of carrier (I guess if the carriers refuse to bring femtocells to market, someone else will)
  • Samsung announced a projector phone. Yes that’s right, a projector built into a phone that it claims can display images as big as 60 inches. (This isn’t ready for prime-time yet, but once perfected could eliminate the need to lug a laptop around on business travel)
  • Every year at CES there is one area that is completely overhyped and overcrowded with products from every possible manufaturer. This year’s award goes to tablets and e-readers. I don’t know how the market can support the number of announcements I’ve seen in the last two days. Oh, that’s right, I almost forgot, the market can’t support that number of companies/products. Expect a lot of carnage in the tablet market in the next 12-18 months.

If you’re still looking for more information on CES, Head over to Gizmodo and Engadget. They are producing a lot of stories from the show. (If you’re into some off-beat funny stories, Gizmodo is probably your best bet – I found this post very entertaining)

That’s all for now. I’m going to skip the list ‘o links that Devesh usually does for this week – I’ve provided plenty to chew on. In the meantime, I’ve had fun filling in for Devesh while he’s been traveling. He should be back next week, so long as I don’t jump in to “steal” one more update!