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MWC 2010 overview: what happened and what should have happened

This year’s Mobile World Congress was a let down for me both as a journalist and as a user. We saw only a handful of newsworthy handsets and almost none of those was a trend-setter. If that’s all planned for the first half of 2010, well then, I would be more than sad for the direction this all is going. Sorry, guys, but someone has to say it. This MWC sucked!


For some reason most of the companies decided to rely on their proven game and showed us nothing but more of the same.

Nokia, the world’s leading mobile manufacturer, did not present any handsets. They made a software announcement that could only tickle the hearts of developers.

But really, not even a single phone? Come on, is that all we can expect from Nokia in the first half of 2010? Or they’re just playing hard to get for the 200+ online and paper publications that have sent their reporters to the MWC 2010. I somehow expected more…

Samsung decided to concentrate on the Bada OS and their first Bada smartphone – the Wave. It’s a great phone, but in order to keep the spotlight in its direction, Samsung presented only budget models to go with it. What happened to the 12 megapixel M8920 cameraphone that we’ve been waiting for since last summer? Not a word on that.

The Samsung I8520 Beam is nice blend of an Android smartphone and a pocketable projector, but Samsung had a similar device last year. And Android or not, I think projector phones are doomed to stay a marginal market segment.

LG were playing Nokia’s game. They announced all their new phones before the MWC and offered only an hour and a half of display time to the interested members of the press. That’s an hour and half of the whole four days.

Similar to Samsung, LG showed no evolution in the camera department, despite their long rumored 12MP phone. The Intel Moorestown powered GW990 MID is definitely an eye-catcher, but it’s a device too big to fit in a pocket and too small to tackle ALL tasks a netbook can. Still the Nokia-Intel MeeGo software platform might show a nice potential if developers turn to it.

Sony Ericsson announced the two new XPERIA X10 minis and the Vivaz Pro. Surely the trio along with the Aspen is one powerful bunch and hadn’t the original Vivaz announcement been a whole month earlier, this could have been the Sony Ericsson MWC. As things stand now, they just did good.

HTC did good as well with the HTC Desire. It continues the company spirit and will be their new top Android dog. Both the Desire and the HTC Legend sport new AMOLED screens, which means better battery life and screen quality. I think that the HD Mini was a bit unnecessary, but it will surely find its own fans. Overall, HTC did not present something revolutionary, but they surely provided nice upgrades to their existing portfolio.

Microsoft caused the big buzz this year with their announcement of the new mobile Windows version – Windows Phone 7. Their new OS looks really pretty and simple, and for the first time I may be considering getting a Windows-powered phone.

Surely, the Windows Phone 7 caused as much praises as criticism. But Microsoft finally decided to break with their past and I really support that. As rumors have it, Microsoft will perhaps even follow Google’s example of making their own phone (manufactured by Asus) though a colleague of mine overheard a Microsoft spokesperson denying that.

The rest of the manufacturers including Acer, Alcatel, Motorola, Toshiba, Puma-Sagem, Garmin Asus and Huawei unveiled just more of the same and somehow failed to impress me.

Perhaps the First Else and Synaptics Fuse were the only truly innovative devices, but they have been announced earlier, so technically they are not MWC stuff.

So what happened to this MWC? I saw operating systems, some corporate and software news and a handful of run-of-the-mill handsets. What I really wanted to see was both software and hardware evolution. Let’s hope that despite the poor show, manufacturers will do better than what they showed here.

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