MWC- The age of the smartphoneBy Hanleigh Daniels 7 March 2011 | Categories: feature articles
Last month Barcelona, Spain, once again played host to the largest annual gathering in the mobile industry the Mobile World Congress (MWC). If you needed any more confirmation that smartphones are ruling the roost, MWC provided it in bucket-loads.
1. Samsung's Galaxy SII not so far, far away
Korean tech giant, Samsung, kicked things off with the announcement of the Galaxy S II (pictured), follow-up to the wildly popular Galaxy S. At a mere 8.9 mm thick, it's billed as the world's thinnest smartphone. Powered by a 1 GHz dual-core processor, it sports a huge 4.27" Super AMOLED Plus display with a resolution of 480 x 800.
It's also heavy on the features, with full HD 1080p video recording, Wi-Fi Direct and optional Near Field Communication (NFC). Samsung's Galaxy range is now also targeted at the mid-range, with four models - the Ace, Fit, Gio and mini, bringing Android goodness at a more affordable price.
We really liked last year's Wave, Samsung's smartphone running on their own bada operating system. Bada is now back in the form of the Wave 578, a mid-level offering sporting a 3.2" capacitive touch-screen, Bluetooth 3.0 and more impressively, NFC connectivity.
2. Sony Ericsson pro and neo comes out to Play
It wasn't only Samsung that showed off its beautiful new Android-powered smartphone, as SE also unveiled two Android 2.3-running members of its Xperia family. The Xperia neo sports a 3.7" capacitive Reality display with a slightly higher (480 x 854 pixels) resolution than the much bigger screen of the Galaxy S II. The pocket-friendly (116 x 57 x 13 mm) neo also packs a 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 CPU and built-in HDMI, enabling users to showcase their high-definition still images and HD videos on their HDTV. SE's other device, the Xperia pro features the same specs as the neo, but also packs in a slide-out QWERTY keyboard.
SE also showcased the mythical PlayStation phone, now dubbed the Xperia Play (pictured). Featuring slide-out PlayStation controls and shoulder buttons, SE claims the phone is capable of silky smooth 60 fps 3D gaming. This in no small way is thanks to a 1 Ghz Scorpio CPU and embedded Adreno GPU. Games should also look stunning on the 4" screen with its 480 x 854 resolution.
3. S makes HTC even smarter
Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC re-worked some of its most popular devices, designating them with what can only be a Superman-inspired S. The first of the company's new Android trinity is the Desire S, boasting a new aluminium design, 1 GHz Snapdragon processor and a 3.7" WVGA touch-enabled display. The 4" HTC Incredible S can record HD video and you can share multimedia content from the handset direct to a TV using DLNA technology. Users will be able to view videos in HD on this smartphone's 4" WVGA Super LCD display. Completing the trinity is the more affordable and compact (measures 10.13 cm long and 5.94 cm wide) HTC Wildfire S.
HTC also unveiled two Facebook branded socially inclined devices - ChaCha and Salsa (pictured). Both on Android Gingerbread and integrates Facebook functionality via the HTC Sense user interface. This enables some exciting new social functionality such as, upon making/receiving a call to/from a Facebook friend, the dialler screen displays that friend's latest status and photos and even reminds you if their birthday is around the corner.
4. LG goes 3D
Not content with 3D only on its TVs, LG introduced the Optimus 3D (pictured), an Android running smartphone with a 3D enabled screen (4.3"; 480 x 800 pixels) that does not need stereoscopic glasses to display properly. Powered by a dual-core OMAP4 chipset it also has the ability to take 3D movies courtesy of a dual five megapixel camera on the back. And what to do with your 3D movies? Upload them to the specially created YouTube 3D channel of course. Of all the phones featured here, the Optimus 3D is the only one we have an official SA release date for June 2011.
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