LAS VEGAS (TheStreet) — Nearly everywhere else on the planet, you buy the phone you like and pick your carrier.
For the most part, all phones and carriers adhere to the International GSM phone standard. That's why there's a bigger selection of smartphones to choose from in other countries, most of which never make it here because our four major carriers can only peddle so many phones at one time.
The world's biggest phone makers will unveil new models at the International CTIA Wireless trade show, which opens in Las Vegas next week. While Apple won't be there, consumers can expect to see upgraded phones and features from Research In Motion, Google and AT&T.
Here's a look at six cool smartphones you won't find here, and the odds of them coming to stores near you.
6. ACER LIQUID
Acer, known for its computers, also makes cell phones such as the Liquid device. It's only for sale in Europe and Asia. The Liquid relies on the Android operating system and sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. The phone features the Google Picasa photo organizer, social networking tools, Spinlets music/video streaming and something called "Fooz Creator," which lets you create a "virtual look-a-like" avatar and share it on Facebook, MySpace and other social networks.
Probability of it hitting U.S. stores: 50%. If the handset gets good press overseas, expect Acer to make a push for a carrier here before Christmas.
5. DELL MINI 3
Computer company Dell (Stock Quote: DELL) has been selling this Android smartphone in China and Brazil for months, and there are rumors that it will be available in the U.S., via AT&T, by June. The handset is said to be Dell's idea of an entry-level smartphone device. There's also word that a matching small tablet computer, called the Mini 5, might be coming.
Probability of it hitting U.S. stores: 75% We may not get the Mini 3 but we could see bigger/better Android smartphones from Dell in their home market later this year. They can't be left out of the future.