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CES 2010: New Smartphones Push Boundaries of Wireless Streaming

Although sales of mobile phones have slowed from their peak, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) predicts that in 2010 cell phones will for the first time surpass televisions as the largest single segment of the consumer electronics (CE) industry.

Key to this surge is the rapid digital convergence between the three screens of TVs, computers, and mobile devices and wireless connectivity that Gary Severson, VP and general manager for entertainment at Wal-Mart said would drive significant growth and "radically alter how consumers manage their lives."

In a later keynote Qualcomm CEO Dr. Paul Jacobs predicted "convergence of wireless with consumer electronics would happen in a big, big way "as many CE devices would soon have cell phone capabilities inside them. "

Lenovo, for example, is introducing the Skylight, one of the first smartbooks using the Qualcomm Snapdragon chip. HP has a netbook prototype using the Android operating system and the Snapdragon processor, while D-Link demonstrated a wireless LAN that beamed a variety of HD signals to multiple displays - using Qualcomm technology, of course.

Samsung Telecommunications America said it would bring smartphones to the mass market in 2010, when voice-centric cellphones will account for less than 50% of U.S. cellular units for the first time.

Announcing the firm’s "smartphone for everyone" strategy, chief strategy officer Omar Khan said smartphone capabilities will no longer be limited to phones at the premium end. Smartphones have been defined as high-end devices with an open operating system, but consumers consider a phone smart, said Khan, if it offers full web access, ability to sync personal and corporate email and calendars, and customization via third-party apps and widgets.

Underscoring the market’s shift away from voice-centric phones, Samsung said that more than half of its phones will ship in the U.S. this year with DLNA certification to share content with other devices, including PCs and TVs.

Low-price smartphones and DLNA certification are part of an overall strategy to capture a greater share of U.S. replacement sales, which account for more than 90% of all phones sold, it said.

The theme was taken up by Intel CEO Paul Otellini in his keynote session. "We are on the cusp of a new era—personal computing," he said, describing it as the ability to have computer and high-speed web access everywhere through the use of smartphones, netbooks, and computer slate devices.

Most of Intel’s effort in this area is centered on its Atom processor, which is designed for low-power mobile devices. Otellini previewed a new LG smartphone with a 4.8-inch screen, larger than the Droid and iPhone, which, with the additional processing power supplied by the Intel chip will enable apps like video conferencing on the go.

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