BARCELONA, Spain--One of the best things (and sometimes the most torturing) about Mobile World Congress is checking out handsets from around the world. I think it's fair to say that the U.S. is a bit behind the times when it comes to the mobile space, so it's always great to have an opportunity to see what other kinds of technology are out there.
Over the past couple of years, NTT DoCoMo, one of Japan's largest mobile operators, has provided some unique and most entertaining phones, and it didn't disappoint this year. DoCoMo outdid itself this time by demonstrating a headset that lets you control your phone or MP3 player with eyeball movements. We watched as some poor man stood there continuously moving his eyes up, down, left and right to show how he could advance a track or pause music with the headset.
DoCoMo also displayed phones made out of wood, handsets that split into two, and devices intended to be carried as fashion accessories. On a somewhat related note, it's intriguing to see how some cultures, like the Japanese, see phones as more than just a communication device. For many people, they're an extension of their personality and lifestyle.
The topic came up when I talked to HTC and asked about the possibility of the HTC Legend making its way to a U.S. carrier. The Taiwanese manufacturer, who makes some of the most popular smartphones on the market today, including the HTC Hero and Nexus One, said there were currently no plans to bring the Legend stateside; however, it hopes that a carrier in the States will see how cool the device is and offer it to its customers.
Eric Lin, Global Online PR and Online Community Manager for HTC, said part of the problem is that Americans don't really view their phones as accessories, thus U.S. carriers are afraid to take a risk on any handset that has a bit of a different look or anything that can be polarizing. Therefore, the carriers tend to play it safe when it comes to its phone selection. It's really too bad because there's some really interesting stuff out there. A glimpse of NTT DoCoMo's booth is proof of that.