The best of MWC 2010
Mobile World Congress is almost over, but what were the best bits of the show in Barcelona this year? Which phones or apps should you be looking out for, and is there anything that you'll need to start saving for straight away?
The first show after a difficult year thanks to the economic climate and recession; new handsets were thin on the ground as were announcements.
Nokia, who chose a blind institute off-site to make its announcement, could only muster up news about merging its Linux-based phone OS found on the N900 with Intel's Linux mobile OS to create MeeGo, which is due out later in the year. Likewise BlackBerry creator RIM opted to talk about improvements to its browser rather than woo us with new hardware.
LG, Samsung, and Sagem (Puma phone) had a single handset a piece, a stark contrast to previous years, while Palm and Apple stayed away altogether with Palm having had launches at CES, whilst Apple waiting 'till the usual March launch cycle.
Sony Ericsson, who actually launched the most handsets at the show, opted for a confused variation on a theme approach. Re-announcements of old phones, then announcements of mini versions of those phones, and then mini versions of those phones with keyboards making up their press conference.
HTC was next in line with a number of announcements, launching four new handsets: The HTC Legend, the HTC Desire, the HTC HD mini and then confirmation that the HTC Smart, first shown at CES in Las Vegas in January would be coming to O2 in the UK.
Toshiba meanwhile updated its TG01 phone with the aptly named TG02 giving it a capacitive screen, then promptly launched the KV01 with, you guessed it, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Meanwhile Garmin was back with a couple more GPS-focused phones, while Acer teased with updates and the promise of a Ferrari handset later in the year.
If it wasn't handsets, it was operating systems or "platforms" as the industry likes to call them. If you didn't have one you weren't worth the "experience" it seems with Samsung showing off its latest effort Bada, Nokia as we've said announcing MeeGo, HTC improving its Sense UI Android skin, and Microsoft unveiling Windows Phone 7 Series after starting from scratch.
Elsewhere the App Planet, a first for MWC, produced little with the main highlights being the BBC promising a range of apps and Swiftkey and Opera mini for the iPhone; an app that is never likely to see the light of day.
Best in show
Of course we'll be getting all the above in for review to make sure they live up to the claims they are making, but here are the five phones that caught our attention.
Sonim continues to create tough phones and its latest offering is no different; this time introducing something called gorilla glass to help protect the screen. As many journalists proved it's not unbreakable, but your builder friend would love it.
A new OS, a Super AMOLED screen, and a spec sheet that means the Samsung Wave is out to impress means the phone that sports the best screen of the show will be a hit with Samsung phone fans when it lands in shops.
The bigger more powerful Android offering from HTC, it takes over the mantle from the Nexus One (which incidentally Google gave out to over 2000 to developers for free at the show). The HTC Desire doesn't look as pretty as the Legend, but a faster processor and beefier specs proves it's the new top dog at the show.
By far the most "gorgeous" looking handset at the show, the HTC Legend is crafted from a single piece of aluminium. Replacing the popular and award winning HTC Hero it looks to be a lovely piece of kit and certainly a device that is likely to boost the uptake of the Android OS in the coming months.
Windows Phone 7 Series
Having gone back to the drawing board, Microsoft has pulled the rabbit out of the hat with Windows Phone 7 Series, and created a new mobile operating system for mobile phones that will put them back in the game against the likes of Apple and Google. Some neat tricks, a completely new UI, plus confirmation that we'll be getting Zune and Xbox Live on the go means this is one to watch. The catch is that you'll have to wait until Christmas before any handsets are likely to be a reality.
What did you think the best of the show was? What are you looking forward to over the coming months? Do you think Microsoft will be able to take on Apple and Google with its new operating system? Have your say in the comments below.