Supertooth's Disco2 was a surprise at the show and with the recent semi-demise of our own Jambox -- after it bzzz, bzzz, bzzzed itself off a counter -- was a great chance to sound test a replacement. The Disco2 impressed in the crazily noisy environment we auditioned it in, and the fact that two can be paired together for even bigger sound for about the same price as the Jambox, definitely impressed. Other notables include 60 days standby -- hint, hint Jawbone -- a plethora of color choices and the Disco2's ability to discern left and right audio channels when two are paired together. Sure, it's not going to replace your home stereo, but for its practicality as a portable sound system for your mobile devices we think it could be a winner.
HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE
CTIA lacked a significant number of handset launches this year; in fact they can easily be counted on the fingers of one hand. Notable amongst them is of course the HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE for Verizon, a fairly slick device despite its unwieldy name. Running Ice Cream Sandwich overlaid with HTC's Sense 4.0, a 4-inch Super LCD qHD display, a 1.2GHz dual-core CPU, and an 8-megapixel camera, it definitely is a worthy successor. If you've had a run in with either of its siblings you'll feel immediately at home as this iteration carries the same design esthetic, the weight, the raised lump on the back side but with a notable speed bump in CPU's number crunching ability.
Huawei MediaPad 10
Huawei's MediaPad 10 came as a surprise to nobody, as the company had previously teased its wares at Mobile World Congress. Nonetheless, our time in New Orleans afforded us an opportunity to get our paws on this elusive creation for the very first time. Most notable about Huawei's new tablet is its 10-inch, 1920 x 1200 IPS display, which is really quite gorgeous when viewed in person. While the screen of the MediaPad 10 can't go toe-to-toe with the latest iPad, it's quite possibly the best that we've seen in the world of Android tablets. The slate also houses a quad-core 1.5GHz K3 Balong CPU, which Huawei developed in-house. Naturally, we had to take this for a spin, but our benchmark results were nothing beyond average. As a saving grace, Huawei is still finalizing the tablet's software, which leaves room for further improvement.
Samsung Focus 2
AT&T welcomed a new addition to its Windows Phone lineup here at CTIA, which is designed to fill a bit of a void between the $100 Lumia 900 and the nearly-free Focus Flash. Known as the Focus 2, it'll retail for just $50 on-contract and offer connectivity to AT&T's LTE network. As a sequel to the original focus, the phone features a 1.4GHz CPU, a 4-inch Super AMOLED display and a 5MP camera that captures 720p video. We were a bit perplexed by the Focus 2's chunky design, as the phone packs only a 1,700mAh battery and yet weighs in at a mere 4.3 ounces. That said, it'll likely serve as a fine choice for AT&T customers who desire LTE connectivity in their Windows Phone handset, yet don't wish to splurge $100 on the Lumia 900.
The iCache Geode is easily our favorite find at the show. The idea behind the device is you can trade in all your credit, debit, and loyalty cards with one by using the Geode's almost magical system. The device is comprised of a housing for the iPhone coupled with an app, an E Ink display on the rear, a fingerprint scanner, a credit card, and a magnetic stripe reader that is capable of quickly reading in your card details and saving them. Swipe your credit card through the device and it is added to the system, using it is then just a matter of clicking a button in the UI and the Geode card is instantly programmed. Take the card out of the back of the handset, tap it on a solid surface and it is activated for your purchase. Using your loyalty cards is as easy; select your card in the app and the barcode is displayed on the Geode's E Ink display for scanning. Of course iCache has considered the security implications and has addressed them a few different ways. The iPhone doesn't store any of your card details as they're kept in the housing itself, on startup the app does a hardware check to be sure nothing's been tampered with, asks for a fingerprint scan, and the card programming only lasts for a user-defined period of time after you've tapped it on the table.
Zachary Lutz contributed to this report.