The annual Mobile World Congress took place in Barcelona last week. Held annually in the city which has been designated the “Mobile World Capital” by the GSMA industry association, the annual trade show saw new product announcements from mobile manufacturers such as Nokia, HTC, Samsung and LG. Highlights include the Nokia 808 Pureview with its 41-megapixel camera, the HTC One X which sports the Android 4.0 operating system and HTC Sense 4 user interface and the Samsung Galaxy Beam, an Android-based smartphone with a built-in projector.
Mobile World Congress took place in Barcelona between 27th February and 1st March.
In part 1 of our Mobile World Congress round-up, we look at some of the major smartphone announcements at Mobile World Congress.
Nokia 808 Pureview: 41 megapixel camera
Nokia marked their return to Mobile World Congress this year with the Nokia 808 Pureview cameraphone and a series of new Nokia Lumia smartphone devices running on the Windows Phone operating system. In previous years, Nokia had opted to stay clear of the Mobile World Congress and instead organised their own separate event. Nokia re-joined the congress this year in style hosting one of the largest and busiest stands. They showed off the Nokia 808 Pureview, two new ‘Lumia’ devices and NFC technology.
The Nokia 808 Pureview is being heralded by Nokia as ‘the next breakthrough in photography’. The Pureview’s camera sensor is capable of capturing images at the whopping resolution of 41 megapixels. This is an order of magnitude higher than most current high-end smartphones which pack either a 5 megapixel sensor or an 8 megapixel sensor. 41 megapixels does seem a little overkill and in reality, Nokia expects that rather than saving images at the full resolution, consumers will choose to save their images with about 5 megapixels worth of detail. However, by capturing the original image at 41 megapixels and only downsizing to 5 megapixels afterwards, the amount of noise in the photograph can be reduced particularly in low light conditions.
In a side-by-side comparison of a photograph taken on the 41-megapixel Nokia 808 Pureview and the 8 megapixel Samsung Galaxy Note, we observed noticeably less blurring and clearer images using the 808 Pureview, particularly at high zoom levels.
One drawback of the Nokia 808 Pureview which may limit its appeal to consumers is that it runs on the Symbian (Nokia Belle) operating system. This is despite the fact that Nokia have announced their smartphones in the future will all run the Windows Phone operating system. According to Nokia, development of the 808 Pureview began long before the company had transitioned to Windows Phone, hence the choice to release this device with Symbian. The technology is likely to appear on Nokia’s Windows Phone devices in the future. Aside from the 41-megapixel camera, the Nokia 808 Pureview also features a 4-inch organic LED display, a 1.3GHz processor and 16GB of internal memory.
Nokia also introduced two new ‘Lumia’ devices running the Windows Phone operating system. These were the low-end Lumia 610 (left) and the high-end Lumia 900 (right).
HTC One X: Android 4.0 & HTC Sense 4.0
HTC introduced the HTC One X at this year’s Mobile World Congress. Intended to be HTC’s flagship device for the year, the HTC One X features a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, a 4.7-inch high definition LCD display, 32GB of internal memory and an 8 megapixel camera with LED flash.
As well as featuring a quad-core processor, the HTC One X notably features the latest version of Android (Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich) and the latest version of the HTC Sense user interface (version 4). Additions in version 4 of HTC Sense include Dropbox integration and 25GB of free online storage, a new camera interface and a slight redesign of the user interface. Many of the user interface enhancements of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich are still there too, including the improved multitasking interface.
Taking a design cue from the Nokia Lumia, the HTC One X also features a polycarbonate shell rather than a metallic one. This reduces the weight of the phone to 130g whilst maintaining much of the premium look and feel associated with a metallic shell.
HTC also announced the mid-range HTC One S (left) and the low-end HTC One V (right).
Samsung Galaxy Beam: Projector Phone
The Samsung Galaxy S III was conspicuously missing from this year’s Mobile World Congress. Before the show Samsung announced that the Galaxy S III would not be making an apperance, hence leaving the Samsung Galaxy Beam as Samsung’s sole new smartphone at Mobile World Congress to draw in the crowds.
The Samsung Galaxy Beam is an Android-based smartphone with a built-in projector. On the face of it, it looks and works much like any other Android-based handset. However, look carefully and there is a 15-lumen digital light projector (DLP) built in to the top of the phone. When the projector is turned on, the image it projects mirrors exactly what is currently visible on the main display. It can produce a projected image up to 50-inches across (roughly comparable in size to a large television) at a resolution of 640x360 (nHD or one-ninth of HD resolution).
According to Samsung, the Galaxy Beam’s built-in projector can be used for business PowerPoint presentations, for watching a movie at home with family and for viewing holiday photos with friends. The 2,000mAh battery is able to support 3 hours of projection on a single charge. When the projector is turned off, it functions as any other smartphone through the LCD touchscreen display.
The Galaxy Beam features a dual-core 1GHz projector, a 4-inch TFT display and 5 megapixel camera with LED flash. One drawback is that it runs Android 2.3, an older version of Android which has now been superseded by Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. An upgrade to Android 4.0 is expected in the future but no firm timeframe has been given. Like Samsung’s other Android-based devices, the Galaxy Beam features the Samsung TouchWiz user interface.
Samsung filled in the hole left by the absence of the Samsung Galaxy S III with the Galaxy Note Studio and the Galaxy Note 10.1.
Other Announcements at MWC
Other highlights from this year’s Mobile World Congress include the launch of the Windows 8 operating system, the first demo of Mozilla’s B2G (Boot to Gecko) operating system and the announcements of new handsets from LG and Sony. We’ll cover these in the next part of our Mobile World Congress round-up.
Have you been following the news from Barcelona? What were the highlights and key trends at Mobile World Congress for you? Are you most excited about Nokia’s 41-megapixel camera technology, HTC’s new Sense user interface, Samsung’s projector phone or something else? We’d love to hear your thoughts: drop us a comment below.
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