Hi folks -- the Mobile World Congress is finally over, and it's time to take stock and have a look at what's been announced. It's been a busy week as always, so let's get right into the biggest headlines from Apple, Android and Windows Phone.
Apple / iPad 3
The big news from Apple this week is that the iPad 3's media event has finally confirmed. Apple chose to send out press invitations during Google CEO Eric Schmidt's MWC keynote, showing off an iPad 3 with visibily higher resolution, a sure sign that we'll be seeing a 2048 x 1536 Retina Display iPad at the event. We're still not sure if we'll see a faster dual core processor (A5X) or quad core (A6), but either way the new iPad should be faster and have better graphical capabilities too. Other points of interest are the possible inclusion of LTE connectivity, the same 8 megapixel camera as in the iPhone 4S and 64 GB of storage.
Apple's media event will be happening on March 7th this week (at 6 PM here in the UK), and there have been some indications that a new Apple TV may be announced as well to make use of the iPad 3's stronger specifications. Current Apple TV models (as well as iPad 2) have been in short supply as of late, which does point to a new model being released. It should be a good show, so don't forget to tune into your favourite publication's live blog (I'll likely be heading to The Verge and Engadget).
Android / Smartphones & Tablets
Of the phones announced this year, HTC's One lineup for Android looks particularly strong. Made up of the HTC One X, One S and One V, these phones do a good job of covering the major bases in a 2012 Android handset, and there aren't too many of
them to remember (I'm looking at you, Samsung). The One X is a heavy hitter at the top of the price bracket, sporting a quad-core Tegra 3, HD non-Pentile display and 8 megapixel f/2.0 backlit camera. The One S is the mid-range fashion model, measuring just 7.9 mm thin but still including a solid Snapdragon S4 dual-core, qHD display and the same camera as the One X. The One V is the baby of the group, coming in at almost half the price of the One X but still including a 3.7" 480 x 800 display, a 1 GHz single core processor and a 5 megapixel camera. All look solidly constructed and should serve HTC well in 2012.
Samsung had a much quieter show, but through the sheer number of 2012 models they still announced a few good ones - most of which, like the Galaxy Beam and Galaxy Tab 2, were announced before the event started properly. The one big announcement made at the show was the Galaxy Note 10.1, a tablet-format version of their popular stylus-equipped smartphone. We heard just recently from ZDNet that the Samsung Galaxy S III, the biggest phone they didn't announce at MWC, will be launched in April with a large tie-in with the United Kingdom and the Olympics.
Asus had a middling performance at MWC, finally launching the Padfone (a smartphone with a tablet dock) and two new models of the Transformer Pad series: The 700 (or Infinity) series, which comes with a 1920 x 1200 display as well as improved optics and connectivity, and the 300 series which has a lower resolution 1280 x 800 display but much of the same internals.
The biggest surprises came from smaller vendors who are just starting to bring their products to the worldwide market. ZTE did well, announcing 8 devices including the Era (a quad-core) and Mimosa X (dual-core Snapdragon S4). Panasonic also impressed with their Eluga and Eluga Power smartphones, which included only mid-range specifications but also included waterproofing and a very elegant design. Huawei also performed excellently at MWC, showing off a number of high range devices including the incredibly thin Ascend P1 S and the high performance Ascend D Quad. These phones really stole the show at MWC, and I'm convinced that 2012 will be the year that these little known manufacturers really begin to challenge the big three (Samsung, HTC & LG).
One of the most recent stories to come from the aftermath of the Mobile World Congress is the naming and version number of the next release of Android. According to Asus corporate vice president Benson Lin speaking to TechRadar, it'll be Android 5.0, codenamed Jelly Bean. This pretty much confirms that it'll be a major version upgrade, and should hit sometime this year. According to Lin, Asus will be working closely with Google to ensure that the update hits their devices first.
Windows Phone / Nokia
Nokia has had a strong showing at the Mobile World Congress, unveiling two important new phones: The Nokia 808 PureView and the Nokia Lumia 610.
The 808 is interesting because it's a cameraphone beyond the likes of anything ever seen before, equipped with a 41 megapixel sensor that uses oversampling to produce 5 and 8 megapixel images of the highest quality. While the phone runs Symbian Belle (and will upgraded to Carla), Nokia has promised we'll see PureView technology in other phones over the coming months and years.
The 610 impresses in a different way: it'll be the cheapest Windows Phone ever produced. The phone will run the upcoming Windows Tango OS, which is an update designed to allow the Windows Phone experience to run well even on low-specification phones. The Nokia Lumia 610 will come with just an 800 MHz processor and 256 MB of RAM, allowing it to be sold for a fraction of the price of existing Windows Phones.
There were few other Windows Phone releases of note, but it is worth mentioning that Asus have stated that they're waiting to enter the Windows Phone market. Given their past success for Android, I'm quite keen to see their efforts, although it may be some time before they come to fruition.
All in all, it was a pretty good MWC for Windows Phone fans. With Windows Phone Apollo on the horizon, the platform is definitely on the up-and-up.
So with that, MWC is officially done. Thanks for reading, folks -- if you found the article helpful, then please hit that Kudos button – it makes me feel good inside. Next week I'll be at CeBIT, so expect a few stories based on my experiences there. If you're going to be there, then feel free to hit me up on Twitter and arrange a meeting!
William Judd is a copywriter and technology blogger based in Bristol. If you'd like to hire me or just say hello, feel free to visit my website at williamjudd.com or chat with me on Twitter.