BARCELONA, Spain --
, not exactly the fist name that comes to mind when you're talking about ground-breaking cell-phone design, is in attendance at the 2009 Mobile World Congress showing off just that -- a ground-breaking new smartphone design.
It's called the TG01 (not to be confused with
If you thought
iPhone had a large screen you ain't seen nothing yet! Toshiba's new phone sports a humongous 4.1-inch (diagonal), 800-by-480-pixel, wide-VGA monster. Yes, a big screen means a physically large handset (5.08 by 2.76 by 0.39 inches weighing in at 4.55 ounces) but it seems slim and svelte enough not to appear oversized or way too large.
That screen makes everything bigger and better. More room to navigate, more Web page on the screen, more room to watch videos, etc. You get the idea, more of everything.
The phone itself in a quad-band, GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA world phone with a microSD memory card slot, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0, GPS and aGPS plus a 3.2-megapixel camera squeezed inside.
The TG01 runs
Flash support. I wouldn't be surprised if it will also be capable of running the just announced Windows Mobile 6.5 revision when the TG01 hits the U.S. market.
The home screen sports what Toshiba calls its "Touch Interface." I haven't had a chance to put it to the test, but from what I saw in my very brief time with a test model, it seems to work very well. Toshiba has chosen a three-color, striped home screen for its phone, which looks a lot better in person than any photos the company has released.
The most incredible part of the phone (yes, even slicker than the big screen) is the processor inside. This is the first implementation of
new, 1GHz Snapdragon chip. That's not a typo -- there's a 1GHz processor inside this cell phone.
Just a short distance away from Toshiba's booth, Qualcomm was proudly showing off exactly what Snapdragon can do -- 3D! There I saw a test device, which looked suspiciously like Toshiba's new handset, and it was running a 3D home screen/touch interface that will knock your socks off. Objects floated in space. A light touch made them fly to other positions, opened programs and just gave the device the most amazing "feel" I've ever encountered in a cell phone. It didn't look like a cheap arcade game either. This is classy stuff and was the first real glimpse at what could be coming in future smartphones.
Toshiba gives full credit to its Regza LCD TV technology, and especially some enhanced image-processing software, which provides the new phone's video coolness factor. I agree. This handset looks like an amazing portable entertainment device and could be a real problem for Apple and many other smartphone manufacturers. Of course, that depends on how the TG01 performs when it is officially released.
Toshiba will only say that the phone will come in both black and white colors and will be available for sale in Europe in the summer of 2009. No word yet on when or if we'll see a North American model.
Gary Krakow is TheStreet.com's senior technology correspondent.