It’s that time of the year again, when we’re both happy and sad, excited and disappointed all at the same time. Last year’s Mobile World Congress was all about three things: Android, 3D and speed offered by emerging dual-core processors. This year’s show was not that much different at all, if you come to think of it.
It’s safe to assume that everyone who was there — or following our MWC coverage — understands that, again, Android was all over the place. With or without Ice Cream Sandwich on smartphones or tablets, the Google platform — and its OEM partners — has flooded the show floors from cheap looking to premium devices, from low-end to flagship gadgets. There was the occasional Windows Phone oasis or color smudge granted by devices from Nokia or ZTE but in the big picture, one could say that the percentage is negligible.
We expected a little bit more from Nokia, given that they want to reconquer the mobile market; being in Europe, their home turf, everyone was expecting a little bit more. Don’t get me wrong, the Lumia 900 is an excellent device but it’s not a new one: we’ve seen it over at AT&T with the occasion of this year’s CES. In the light of the aforementioned, the Lumia 610 just won’t cut it. Add the ZTE Orbit to the Windows Phone arsenal and that’s pretty much it regarding the Microsoft platform. The rest is just old news. No Windows Phones from HTC, none from Samsung and definitely none from LG, despite all the rumors and leaks we’ve been hearing.
Google on the other hand was doing things right; Mountain View came to the show (just like it did last year), alongside its OEMs, with an attitude specific to a company who is catching up: all in. In reality, this is not at all the case; Google has once again proven the reasons why it is the most popular smartphone platform on the planet. It’s hardware partners were all in: from HTC with its One line-up, Sony’s new Xperia family and LG’s numerous devices to powerful but cheaper devices made by Huawei and ZTE; also count Panasonic as the new entry as well as mid-to-low-end devices from the aforementioned and not only.
Nokia tried to steal the show with its PureView 808, an exceptional piece of hardware with an enormous megapixel count: 41! Everything on that device screams quality, perfect build, and performance but sadly it runs Symbian Belle. Of course, the now dethroned king of camera-phones, the N8, was also running Symbian and we can understand the nostalgia as well as the policy here. However, things would have been much different if that phone ran on Microsoft’s platform (and if Microsoft’s platform supported all the hardware Nokia packed in it).
Google also stole the tablet show and Asus was there to help Mountain View get away with it. Probably the most exciting device was the Asus Padfone but the Infinity 700 as well as the Transformer Pad 300 are also great choices. There were also quad-core tablets from Toshiba and even ZTE but we somehow expected a little bit more in this department too. We at least expected to see an HTC tablet and we definitely expected more from Samsung (aside from last year’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 7 refreshes alongside the Galaxy Note 10.1).
Let’s talk about speed! Quad-core processors, while present at the show on both smartphones and tablets were a little bit disappointing. Not necessarily because you might or might not need them for a fluid (or still, not just yet) experience but because the choice OEMs had to make in delivering chips. As long as you go with 3G smartphones or tablets (and WiFi only) you should be good with a Tegra 3 SoC but once you might choose LTE, you’ll have to settle for a dual-core Qualcomm (like in the case of the HTC One X or the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700).
Still, we expected more quad-core devices on the floor but given the current limitations it could be understandable why certain hardware makers were not all in. Asus for instance equipped its entire line-up with Tegra 3 (except for the LTE versions) and it is also understandable for smartphone makers to deliver one flagship quad-core phone and have the rest on lower specs (with costs in mind). It could go both ways, really.
In case you missed out on our MWC 2012 coverage, here are the most exciting gadgets to watch out for in the near future:
Sony Xperia P Hands-On
Sony Xperia S Hands-On
Sony Xperia U Hands-On
HTC One S Hands-On
HTC One X Hands-On
HTC One V Hands-On
LG Optimus 3D Max Hands-On
LG Optimus 4X HD Hands-On
LG Optimus Vu Hands-On
Samsung Galaxy Beam Hands-On
Nokia Lumia 900 Hands-On
Nokia Lumia 610 Hands-On
Nokia PureView 808 Hands-On
ZTE Orbit Hands-On
HTC Sense 4.0 Hands-OnHTC One S Vs. Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S II, iPhone 4S
HTC One X Vs. One S, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S II, iPhone 4S
Nokia Lumia 900 Compared To the HTC Titan
Nokia Lumia 610 Vs. Nokia Lumia 900, HTC Titan
Nokia Drive Preview
Sony Xperia S Vs. Xperia P, Xperia U, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S II, iPhone 4S
We want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have been following our MWC coverage. Please let us know of your thoughts regarding the show as well as things you’ve liked, thing you didn’t and where we need to improve. As we’re looking forward to CTIA Wireless, check out our MWC 2012 thoughts in the video below: