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Mobile World Congress 2012: Round-up of New Smartphones

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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.

 

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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 808 PureView.jpgNokia 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.

 

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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).

 

  • Nokia introduced two new Nokia Lumia devices at Mobile World Congress, both running the Windows Phone operating system. The Nokia Lumia 900 is a high-end device featuring a 1.4 GHz processor, a 4.3-inch organic LED display, an 8 megapixel camera and dual-carrier HSPA+ connectivity (download speeds up to 42Mbit/s). In contrast, the Nokia Lumia 610 is designed to be more of a low-end smartphone. It features an 800MHz processor, a 3.7-inch LCD display, a 5 megapixel camera and standard 3G connectivity (HSDPA download speeds up to 7.2Mbit/s).
  • Nokia made strong use of NFC technology at their Mobile World Congress booth. Attendees were encouraged to tap their NFC-enabled show badges onto an NFC-enabled Nokia smartphone. The data stored on the badges was then used for competitions and follow-up contact. Attendees with an NFC-enabled smartphone could also obtain free popcorn by tapping their NFC phone onto a reader. Whilst there was no mobile commerce occurring, the demonstrations highlighted some of the other possible uses of NFC technology.

HTC One X: Android 4.0 & HTC Sense 4.0

 

HTC One X.jpgHTC 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.

 

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HTC also announced the mid-range HTC One S (left) and the low-end HTC One V (right).

 

  • HTC also announced the HTC One S (a mid-range device) and the HTC One V (a low-end device). All 3 devices in the “HTC One” family of smartphones feature the new Android 4.0 and the HTC Sense 4 user interface.
  • The HTC One S features a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, a 4.3-inch organic LED display, 16GB of internal memory and an 8 megapixel camera with LED flash.
  • Meanwhile, the HTC One V features a 1GHz single core processor, a 3.7-inch LCD display, 4GB of internal memory and a LED flash.

Samsung Galaxy Beam: Projector Phone

 

Samsung Galaxy Beam.jpgThe 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.

 

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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.

 

  • Samsung did not launch the Galaxy S III at Mobile World Congress: instead it chose to promote the Galaxy Note smartphone at the show and across the city. A temporary “Galaxy Note Studio” installation appeared in Plaça de Catalunya and on-site at the MWC. Street artists used the Galaxy Note to produce caricature drawings of visitors which were then immediately printed onto t-shirts. Samsung also introduced the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet at Mobile World Congress, which we’ll discuss in part 2 of our MWC review.

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.

 

Your thoughts…

 

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.

 

Ken Lo writes about mobile technology and the mobile industry at Ken's Tech Tips.

9 Comments
aik
graduate

some nice phones there. Smiley Happy

Thanks for the great blog Smiley Wink

Samsung galaxy beam sounds interesting,thanks!
aspirant

41 MP wow..Symbian ended my excitement.

Nice blog.

newcomer

samsung galaxy beam

novice

samsung galaxy beam

 

tutor

the galaxy beam looks the most interesting to me, if they develop the technology so that the projected image is nice and crisp then it is going to make browsing the net awesome on a phone. with the added bonus of keeping the screen size down on the phone so it fits nicer in the pocket

newcomer

no galaxy 3..

seer

A good read.  Thanks.

phenomenon

Ken Lo wrote:

 

The Nokia Lumia 900 is a high-end device featuring a 1.4 GHz processor, a 4.3-inch organic LED display, an 8 megapixelcamera and dual-carrier HSPA+ connectivity (download speeds up to 42Mbit/s).



Mobile phone connection speeds obviously depend on the carrier network having the infrastructure to use the required protocols and with the inevitable and insatiable appetite for more and more, (not just from users but also from Internet developers), it will be fascinating to see how the giffgaff business model evolves to manage this expected explosion of data traffic.