Mobile World Congress kicked off in Barcelona last week and even though CES managed to take a huge chunk of the juicy releases, MWC still managed to have some fun and exciting new releases and previews.
Both Ubuntu and Firefox released first previews of their new mobile operating system. While Firefox OS seemed a little underwhelming and obviously tailored more for the emerging markets, Ubuntu attracted a lot of attention for its gesture-based user interface and excellent performance.
LG also took the time to announce that they had acquired webOS, HP’s open source operating system, for use in their Smart TVs. HP will still license the software. Samsung also took the time to set up a stand purely to show they would be hosting another event in Times Square on March 14, for their Galaxy S4 smartphone.
The HTC One was already released at a HTC event a week before Mobile World Congress, but that did not stop it being marked the best smartphone at the mobile conference show. With impressive specs and a top-notch 468ppi display, the HTC One brushes past the competition. It also has some unique features like the Ultrapixel camera, the aluminum backing, BoomSound audio and a host of different UI features. This includes BlinkFeed, a homescreen Flipboard, and Zoey, a Vine like three second video capture.
The ZTE Grand Memo will forever be remembered, if it is remembered, for its colossal display. At 5.7-inches, it is on the edge of phablet/pointless, and we found that some really liked the extra screen real estate.
Nokia’s mid-range Lumia 720 surprised us; it was a very well fitted Windows 8 smartphone, with a great 4.3 screen size and some juicy performance. Putting it up against the HTC One S, the iPhone 4S and the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini, we found it an excellent competitor.
LG also released some new budget to mid range smartphones, although none of these really attracted our eye and we sort of felt LG were waiting on the Optimus G2, which we believe will be released Q3 this year.
Samsung pre-revealed the Galaxy Note 8.0 to a group of journalists before Mobile World Congress, making Samsung the worst possible group to come to a conference. They did not show any new top-tier handsets and when they had a chance to reveal the tablet at the show, they decided a pre-reveal would be more suiting. The Galaxy Note 8.0 did not get the top marks when it came to best tablet at the show, but it did show some real prowess and design values that could be a worthy iPad Mini challenger.
Sony Xperia Tablet Z was named the best tablet of the event by many establishments, with the tablet offering the same unique dustproof and waterproof features, and excellent 1080p display, BRAVIA engine, Sony’s sleek black design and excellent performance. It is an impressive challenger against the iPad and the Nexus 10, and the only major problem is the Android tablet marketplace.
Many have asked the same question: does Mobile World Congress need to happen? Is showing off mid-range goods really worthy of a huge setup and buzz? While CES impressed due to the sheer size of the electronics, MWC failed to give us that huge open space.
The floor space was packed, but the product areas were almost abandoned, with many wondering where the Galaxy S4, the Google booth, Microsoft, and all the exciting companies were.