Why Some of 2014’s Most Intriguing Gadgets Will Never Reach American Stores
“Despite the fact that some gadgets are made by U.S. organizations, or have costs recorded in U.S. dollars on public statements, they’re not coming to U.S. stores soon. But it also complicates life for vendors that aren’t already on the shopping lists of U.S. The ones that are the most attractive have exceedingly stringent prerequisites.”
BARCELONA — Among the hardware on display at the Mobile World Congress show here, I’ve seen the following intriguing items:
• Hewlett-Packard’s giant-screen Slate6 and Slate7 VoiceTab tablets, which come with a generous 250 MB of data a month, for 24 months.
• Lenovo’s S860, an Android phone that can recharge another phonethrough its own USB port.
• A prototype smartphone running Firefox OS that can be sold for $25.
• The ZTE Projector Hotspot, a WiFi router that can share its LTE connection with nearby phones while also recharging them — and project video up to 10 feet away.
• Acer’s Liquid E3, which features a special button on the back to ease taking selfies;
• Blackphone, a privacy-first, Android-based smartphone that comes preset to make your communications anonymous and encrypted.
These diverse devices share one thing in common: Even though some are made by U.S. companies, or have prices listed in U.S. dollars on press releases, they’re not coming to U.S. stores soon. Some, in fact, may never reach the States in quantity unless MWC attendees smuggle them home in their luggage.
This global gathering — last year’s drew more than 72,000 attendees — provides an excellent opportunity to see what’s new in the smartphone world, or at least that portion of it outside of Apple’s orbit. (That company skips events it doesn’t run itself.) But MWC also can’t help but spotlight how different the U.S. market can be from the rest of the world.