New handsets: “mini” is fashionable again!
Although there were surprisingly few new handset announced by major handset manufacturers, a good chunk of those that were announced were a “mini” version of an established Smartphone. From our vantage point, we did not see that there was a surging demand for smaller smart phones, but someone must associate “mini” with “cheaper” with “higher volumes” and “mainstream”. Time will tell, but the fact is that a “mini” version with a much smaller screen often makes the experience less compelling. Soon, we will see if this was just a marketing gimmick, or if users are really OK with putting with a lesser experience to save some bucks. That said, if the data plans don’t get cheaper, there’s little point to save $100 on a lesser smart phone only to pay close to $2000 over two years on the plan. See XPERIA X10 mini, HTC HD Mini, LG GD880 Mini…
The Empire Strikes Back
Microsoft comes back and deals a blow to its critics by presenting its Windows Phone 7 Series to the world. A slick and fast interface along with a renewed focus on user experience earn Microsoft our Best of WMC. Read our take on Windows Phone 7.
Handset makers look for Eco-system Holy Grail
With the introduction of Bada (Samsung’s new mobile operating system, or “OS”), Samsung aims to take its destiny into its own hands and create an alternative path for itself away from Windows Mobile and Android. Samsung also wants to create its own eco-system and build something similar to Apple’s iPhone empire. It’s hard and there’s arguably little innovation, but I can’t blame them for trying – they’ve got to give it their best shot. Good luck Samsung. Don’t miss our Samsung Wave hands-on.
Nokia/Intel merge their Linux OSes into Meego
While most people were only very mildly excited by this announcement, a few were pretty upbeat over the fact that Nokia and Intel are merging their Linux OSes for mobile called Moblin (Intel) and Maemo (Nokia) into one Linux OS called Meego. Both companies have been contributing to both projects, and this fusion will help consolidate (considerable) resources into one project. Intel and Nokia will face some challenges to create their vision of a common platform: it’s really hard to create a standard platform, when others (like Samsung, Nokia and Apple) are also pushing their own handset OS. However, this could work better on Tablets and Smartbooks. Today the best demo of Moblin is the LG GW990 (read our GW990 CES hands-on with videos), which is pretty impressive when it comes to multi-tasking and application performance. From a developer’s perspective, “less (O.S) is more”.
Given that smartphone hardware powers most tablets, you can imagine that most semi-conductor companies like Freescale, Broadcom, Marvell, NVIDIA and others were demonstrating tablets. Most of them are simple Android devices that don’t have a clearly defined usage model, so it’s really hard to figure out if they will be successful or not, even if most are interesting (especially if they have an ultra low power Qualcomm Mirasol display) to look at and play with for a few minutes. Broadcom showed us a tablet that is becoming a super-fancy remote control for cable operators in Japan.
In 2010, the MWC audience came home a bit disappointed by the lack of hot announcements as there were relatively few flashy new handsets. We could tell that 2009 was a rough year. That said, we’re looking forward to covering WMC 2011!
PS: we would like to thank Vodafone.de for loaning us a 3.5G SIM Card when all other wireless connections failed!
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